this set of photos of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti at their villa in Rome, taken in 1964 by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was one of the first stories i discovered in the Life Magazine archives way back when they first launched their digital collection in 2009. for some reason i never posted about it, and it has been sitting in a weird folder on one of my hard drives until i rediscovered recently.
i found these images while trawling around the LIFE archives, with no explanation as to who took them, when, or where. i’m guessing this was sometime in the twenties or thirties? and it looks like it might have been somewhere in Europe – originally i thought maybe they were Swedes, but that old school Nivea Creme tin made me wonder if they were German. well, looks like they had a pretty good time either way.
i know there are mountains upon mountains of imagery of Jackie Kennedy all over the internet, but i actually hadn’t seen these pics of her visit to India before, so i thought i’d share. she looks happy and colourful, accompanied by her sister Lee Radziwill. there’s even a video about her trip at the JFK Library. photos courtesy of Life.
this series of images that i discovered in the LIFE archives fascinated me because up until that point i had never even thought that such a thing as a “medical art school” would exist. but of course, yes. i’m just grateful that more gory things weren’t documented. if i wanted to see that i would just switch on my TV (Outlander and The Knick, i’m looking at you).
when i was a kid i did ballet (which was short lived) and modern dancing. i was not good at either, but it was one of the few extra-mural exercise focused activities that i didn’t totally hate, and even though i have never been the most athletic person i at least had some rhythm (more so when i have had a few drinks – granted) so i just kept doing it cause it was fun. at some point it became no fun, mostly because the other girls were simply better than me, and my modern dancing teacher remarked that i was “the most inflexible person she’s ever taught”. which, as a kid, STUNG. i can barely touch my knees, let alone my toes, so yeah i am completely fucking inflexible – you don’t need to tell me that, lady!
i have been hearing grumblings around the internet that it’s HOT in LA at the moment. i can’t help but be a little smug, because on this side of the world we are experiencing optimal autumn weather. sunny, but cold, with the occasional rain shower… I LOVE IT. i think that LA is quite similar to Cape Town weather wise, so perhaps we have just directly swapped seasons. well, you guys can enjoy your boiling hot days for the time being.
i haven’t delved into the vast LIFE magazine archives in a while, so it was a pleasure to discover this amusing article showing “six healthy girls” from a Hollywood modeling agency visiting Arrowhead Springs in California in 1948.
Although they are naturally blessed with plenty of sunshine and cheap orange juice, Californians are notorious for their eagerness to find new ways of keeping healthy. Dotting the state are dozens of spas and resorts which advertise salutary baths, colonic treatments and curative waters. One of the flossiest of these is the Arrowhead Hot Springs Hotel, perched in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, 65 miles east of Los Angeles. Recently six healthy girls from the Dorothy Preble model agency in Hollywood visited Arrowhead for a healthy holiday weekend. During their stay they boiled eggs in the hot springs, were daubed with Arrowhead mud, basked in underground steam caves and lolled in warm mineral baths containing traces of rare salts.
Models kid themselves and the stiffly affected postures of their trade beside the scalloped, palm-bordered pool near the hotel. Their boss, Mrs Preble, remains unimpressed.
Elisabeth Kellogg displays a terry-cloth bathing suit. Called a “stunner”, it is more practical for sunning than for swimming.
The girls boil their eggs in the “world’s hottest spring”.
Frolicking in the salutary waters of hot mineral baths at Arrowhead Hot Springs Hotel.
A mock fashion show is put on by Elisabeth Kellogg. Holding a flower for a prop, she parodies one of the stilted stances she is paid to use on work days.
A pillow fight breaks out after breakfast, which the models had served in bed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.