life archives

Princess Margaret

poking around the Life archives i came upon these photos of Princess Margaret visiting “British East Africa”, today Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar and Tanzania. i mostly wanted to share these because of that fabulous dress she’s wearing in the first few images. she seemed like a fun royal, someone who was likely to cause a bit of trouble. plus she had cool sunglasses.

margaret01 margaret02 margaret03 margaret04 margaret05 margaret06 margaret07 margaret08

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Miami Beach, 1940

ok first of all, i have to draw your attention to the magnificent platform shoes that these ladies are wearing – in 1940. 1940! i always seem to mistake it for a bit of a fuddy duddy decade (well maybe it was for the majority of the population), but i’m continuously amazed by how fashion-forward some women were, especially when it came to wearing beautiful tailored suits (something that seemed to go out of fashion for most of the 50s and 60s? vintage lovers will have to chime in here, i don’t know much about vintage fashion besides watching a whole lot of Mad Men). you obviously won’t miss their fabulous glasses in this shoot, either. maybe Miami just does something to people.

photos taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in Miami Beach, 1940 for Life Magazine. graphic by me.















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Mark Shaw

you’re probably familiar with the work of fashion & celebrity photographer Mark Shaw, who was especially well known for his collection of photographs of the Kennedys. he shot over 100 stories in his 16 year career with LIFE magazine in the 1950s & 60s, and was one of the first photographers who documented backstage fashion at couture shows like Balmain and Balenciaga. if you’re feeling flush you can buy limited edition original prints of his work from the Andrew Wilder gallery. Here are some of my favourite stories he covered.

Audrey Hepburn

Portraits for LIFE Magazine of Hepburn while filming Sabrina. This entire shoot had lingered forgotten for more than fifty years in a box at the home of Mark’s first wife and were rediscovered in 2008. Initially Audrey Hepburn did all she could to avoid Mark Shaw’s cameras. When she realized they shared intense devotion to their work, she began to treat him like a member of the family.

Jackie Kennedy & family

These images were taken for an assignment from LIFE magazine about Jackie Kennedy which ran in 1959 while JFK was making his White House run. In the late 1950′s and early 1960′s Mark Shaw worked extensively as the “unoffical” family photographer to Jackie and John F. Kennedy.

Coco Chanel

Chanel was quoted at the time as saying that “Shaw had crept as close to her as anyone is likely to get with their LEICA on”. Shaw’s informal, grainy, black and white images of Chanel were captured using an unobtrusive 35 mm camera and film processing methods that enabled him to eliminate all other photographic equipment. The result is a highly personal and intimate look into a day in the life of this iconic woman.

Various artists - PicassoChagall, Fernand Leger & Miro

backstage at Balmain, 1954

various fashion editorials photographed in St. Tropez, Paris, Portofino

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Jackie & JFK

since i seem to be on a wedding trip today, i thought it might be cool to share some pics from the wedding of Jackie & JFK in September 1953, which was taken by Life photographer Lisa Larsen. there were 600 guests, they had 14 ushers and 10 bridesmaids and they ate pineapple salad at their reception.

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Beautiful Girls in New York

street style circa 1944, photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt for a series called beautiful girls in new york for Life. i really think fourties style has to be one of my favourites, though perhaps women in new york have just always looked amazing.

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Southern Weekend

just a group of pals having what looks like a great weekend… photographed by Lisa Larsen in 1951 for Life.

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Japanese Love Story

as many of you know i love browsing through the life image archives. usually i have no real goal – just sniffing around, digging until i find something great to share with you. since it’s Valentine’s Day i thought this collection of photographs called Japanese Love Story by John Dominis was fitting. i don’t know what the photographs were taken for or if there is an actual love story behind any of them… perhaps just let your imagination fill in the blanks.

I sit at home
In our room
By our bed
Gazing at your pillow.

- Kakinomoto no Hitomaro

all images courtesy of the life image archives

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Cowgirls Redux

you may remember this post i did on vintage cowgirls. well, i occasionally delve into the LIFE archives in search of more cowgirl related paraphernalia (if for no other reason than to amuse myself) and i’ve recently found some total gems.

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