life magazine archives

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.

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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.

















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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.

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Colby College Mountain Day

one thing i can never resist when i am visiting someone’s home, even if it’s a stranger, is to flip through any photo albums that might be lying around. usually they’re of old photos – because, let’s face it, people don’t really put together physical photo albums anymore. everything is online, on facebook or in your instagram or flickr feed. that’s cool, i’m like that too. but i still revel in looking through photos, which i suppose is why i gravitate towards vintage photography.

this photo story taken by Yale Joel for Life Magazine in 1950 shows the ladies of Colby College on their annual Mountain Day hike – a tradition that started in the 1850s and continues to this day. the college is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire, and the mountain they climb is Mount Kearsarge. the ladies look pretty grand in their 50s denim, flannel shirts and jaunty neck-ties.

edit: Colby College is now called Colby-Sawyer College, the name was changed in 1975. i have, however kept the name of the original Life Magazine article.

















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Take Your Pleasure Seriously

when you look at pictures of Charles and Ray Eames one of the best things about this talented and innovative couple is that they really looked like they always had so much fun together. which is why i wasn’t surprised when i stumbled upon some Life Magazine pics of a range of toys that they designed in the early fifties. the Eames’ didn’t have children of their own (Charles had a daughter with his first wife) but I could imagine that if they ever did they would have created an amazing world for them to play in.

did you know that Ray died ten years to the day after Charles did? Another lovely factoid is that they used to serve bowls of flowers to their dinner guests as a “visual dessert”. If you want to know more about them and their extraordinary body of work you should watch the PBS documentary Eames: the Architect and the Painter.

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Matching Shoes

i suppose i have been kind of shoe obsessed around here lately – and this is of course because i am truly shoe obsessed in real life at the moment. at the moment? all. the.time. it’s quite difficult finding really nice (affordable) shoes in south africa, so that’s why a lot of my internet daydreaming is shoe related.

this editorial was shot by nina leen in 1946 for life magazine. as you can see the theme is matching shoes… and i mean literally matching to your outfit – not just matching your shoes to your handbag (which i find pretty ridiculous and outdated, let them clash i say). it’s a really fun and fashion-forward editorial considering this was the mid-fourties, and i wouldn’t mind snapping up the plaid booties in the second to last image… but i’d keep the hat at home.

all images courtesy of the life image archives.

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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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Bathing caps with faces

why not!

speaking of bathing, it’s pretty scary that summer is around the corner. i have noticed the northern bloggers freaking out over their impending autumn and winter months – i would happily trade places with you! we have hardly had any rain, and it hasn’t been cold enough for my liking. it’s mid august and i am already wearing short sleeves and sandals. sigh.

all images from the life magazine archives photographed by ralph crane

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