life magazine archives

Vintage Ballet

i watched the series City Ballet, which was produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, all in one sitting when it was released. it’s really enthralling, and a world that only a few really understand (watching Black Swan does not count). every now and then i’ll dip into an episode while i’m eating lunch at my desk. watch it!

here are some vintage ballerinas from the Life Magazine archives.

Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet
Vintage Ballet

14

Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats

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!

anyway all those memories came streaming back when i saw these pictures taken by Hans Wild for LIFE Magazine at a school for acrobats, Gymnase Saulnier, in Paris, 1947. i haven’t been able to find any more information on it, but i am assuming the instructor is one Monsieur Saulnier. i bet he would have done something about my inflexibility instead of chiding me for it (okay, maybe a little bit of chiding). if anyone can shed any light on these photos, please do!

edit: Thank you to Sophie for finding out more information! she commented,

Le Père Saulnier was called the “girls breaker” because he was really strict with his students. You can see that the front door in the last picture is still in Paris, it’s in the 16 rue Véron. I found this information on this website (in french). They say that the main actress learn gym with him ! (and that this film is terrible, except for the gym part…)

Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats

10

Girl Pilots

here are some bad-ass women to inspire you this Friday, who flew in the face of convention (pardon the pun) and trained as airforce pilots in 1943. despite the magazine describing them thusly, “girls are very serious about their chance to fly for the Army, even when it means giving up nail polish, beauty parlours and dates for a regimented 33 weeks.” can you even. you can read the original article in LIFE magazine here.

photos by Peter Stackpole for Life Magazine in 1943.

Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots Girl Pilots

7

Spring in LA, 1944

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.

Anton and i have been threatening to visit dear friends in LA, so maybe one day i will make my way over there (it’s just SO FAR from here). i don’t know where these specific photos were taken, but they are from LIFE magazine in 1944, by Peter Stackpole. the gals look like they are having a great time, either way. anyone have an idea of the location?

Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944 Spring in LA, 1944

12

Circus Girls

looking through these photos made me realise that you have to be damn tough to be a Circus Girl. these were taken in 1949 by Nina Leen for LIFE.

Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949
Circus Girls, 1949

21

LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs

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.

check out pics of the hotel, including that pool. original LIFE article here.

LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.

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.

LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.

Elisabeth Kellogg displays a terry-cloth bathing suit. Called a “stunner”, it is more practical for sunning than for swimming.

LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.
LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.

The girls boil their eggs in the “world’s hottest spring”.

LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.
LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.
LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.

Frolicking in the salutary waters of hot mineral baths at Arrowhead Hot Springs Hotel.

LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.

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.

LIFE visits Arrowhead Springs, 1948.

A pillow fight breaks out after breakfast, which the models had served in bed.

1

Body Movin’

i don’t know about you guys, but this time of year is kinda awful. not only do we all have to go back to work (sigh) but some of us have probably gained a few kilos over the festive season (i read this post yesterday which made me feel a lot better about that fact) and the media enjoy drumming it into our brains that we must now shed this holiday weight and become our optimal physical selves in 2014. when i think about making new years resolutions to lose weight or get fit my eyeballs roll so hard into the back of my head that i can almost see into the past when i made that resolution exactly a year ago.

as a non-sporty girl, someone who is so hopeless at team sports it’s just laughable, i quickly began to hate physical exercise as soon as i was forced to partake in throwing a ball at school. consequently i never learned to love running around and reaping the benefits thereof. as an adult i realised hey, shit, i actually have to do this otherwise i might die - so i dabbled in the occasional running program and exercise video and pilates class. and i do enjoy it once i get into it, i really do, but it’s the staying in it that’s the hard part for me. forming new, good, habits is not easy when you’re simultaneously attempting to bat away the bad ones (and kind of really actually enjoying the bad ones).

so i’m trying to motivate myself to get into it, and keep at it. part of that is downloading a lot of excellent workout music (more on that later), bookmarking a shit ton of healthy recipes via that healthy recipe treasure trove that is Pinterest and… looking at fitspo tumblr blogs? erm, no. that stuff is so insane. don’t even get me started. rather, i’m going to look to the past for visual exercise inspiration. before we were tainted by pics of thigh gaps and motivational quotes.

pics via this great post on ilPost, and the LIFE photo archives.

Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin' Miss Moss // Body Movin'

 

6

Aspen Girls

poking around the life archives i discovered this marvelous photoset of young women working on ski resorts in Aspen in the 70s, photographed by John Dominis. after some more digging i managed to find the original article in the March 1971 edition of Life, which is called, wait for it, “A Very Nice Kind of Ski Bum“.

Most people’s notion of ski bum is a shiftless young male who spends most of his time searching for good powder, but the ski bums of Aspen, Colo. aren’t like that at all. They are prettier, for one thing, and many of them have lived in the resort town for more than two years. They consider the skier’s life not a parenthetical experience but a real alternative to urban existence, one free from pollution, noise and the frustration of having to choose between marriage a a less than satisfying job. The only problem they have in Aspen is finding a way to survive. With 900 newcomers arriving every year, there is a sharp shortage of both jobs and housing. But the air is fresh and clean and the longer the women stay, the prettier they seem to look.

















9