fifties

nick dewolf photo archive

i’ve been meaning to tackle this topic for a while, as the nick dewolf photo archive is the largest collection of vintage photos i’ve ever seen (so far closing in on almost 40,000 photos) – so i’m finding it pretty difficult trying to pick my favs to show you! the story behind the archive is presented by steve lundeen, who is nick de wolf’s son-in-law:

as a photographer, nick was ever ready and ever present, leaving behind many thousands of pre-digital images, dating well back into the 1950′s. he carried a camera with him at all times, usually a family of cameras. if you knew nick, you got used to this…eventually, he’d be pointing his camera at you. i am working to post nick’s images in their original sets as they are scanned and processed, somewhere in the order of 20-50 images a day. for those wondering “how much longer can this possibly go on?”, i can only answer, “the mountain is high, the journey is long.”

what an absolutely great story, it makes you realise that you simply have to carry your camera with you all the time – imagine the pictures you’d be able to show your kids one day. also this guy was shooting film, which is a thousand times more admin than our handy digital cameras… here are some of my favourites (i love the hippies)

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playmates

i discovered this tumblr filled with old playboy photos from the 50s & 60s (and some 70s). it’s all very tame, sweet & nice to look at (though many images are not suitable for work – boobs). if playboy was still like this, i would buy it.

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teenage shindig

these photos are from Life magazine’s archives: Teenage Music – The Beachboys, The Righteous Brothers,  ABC’s “Shindig” … i’m assuming it’s one of those american tv specials from the late fifties / early sixties where a bunch of kids would gather in a studio & dance wildly to a hip band (think Grease). oh yes, it looks like a ton of fun.

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snappy dresser

i don’t ever feature contemporary men’s fashion because (a) i have no interest in it and (b) 99% of the time it’s too metro looking for my liking. do people still use that term, metrosexual? well i hope you understand what i mean. it’s more about aesthetics really – i appreciate men who don’t wear their pants down their bums, who steer clear of t-shirts with arbitrary slogans (or anything made by ed hardy), who wear clean shoes, who tuck in their shirts, who don’t undo their buttons all the way down to their chests, who don’t wear jewellery – things that are just supposed to come naturally. other than that i don’t really group men and fashion in the same category.

that doesn’t mean that snappy dressers don’t make my head turn.

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bethany obrecht

bethany obrecht‘s work is so well styled & photographed, for a second i thought they were genuine vintage photos. i think mad men should hire her. you can see the entire series at her flickr.

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hélène guertik

a book of fairy tales from the fifties, beautifully illustrated by russian born artist hélène guertik. from maptitefabrique

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silky soft doo wop wonders

the fleetwoods – come softly to me (1959)

i’m not sure where i heard this song the first time, perhaps in the background of a video on youtube. but i LOVE it. sometimes doo-wop can be slightly annoying, but this is just right – would perfectly accompanying a scene in mad men.

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wines of the cape

i discovered this rad little gem hidden in the depths of a bookcase at my parent’s house (as you do). it was printed in paarl in 1959. the entire thing is illustrated by roman waher, who i unfortunately can’t find any more information on (sometimes the internet doesn’t have all the answers, who knew?). after a bit of digging around all i could i could find out was that he contributed to a number of other africana books.

if you’re a fan of mid century illustration, be sure to check out this flickr group as well as the mid-century modernist.

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