old photos

Exploring Shorpy

i haven’t visited Shorpy in a long time, but since i’ve been enjoying the latest seasons of period dramas like Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire lately i thought it was time for a deep browsing session. it’s remarkable to see how rapidly things changed at the turn of the century (this is all i kept thinking when watching the season finale of Downton Abbey – how weird to see the characters in the context of a roaring twenties dance club). these photos are in chronological order and range from 1900 through to 1977, and though they are by no means comprehensive or representative of all those decades it’s still pretty cool to see how time goes by. it’s also interesting to see how photos changed when cameras became a staple of every home – a lot of vacation pics and posing in front of cars.

all images courtesy of Shorpy.

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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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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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Strand

i don’t know whether to high five or punch nic grobler (of bicycle portraits, who i posted about here) for introducing me to the gahetNA National Archives. high five because it’s AWESOME, of course, or punch because i lost hours of my life browsing its magnificence.

i decided to start off with a simple keyword – strand meaning beach in dutch (having afrikaans on my side helps in this case, but google translate should get you on the right track) in order to get some vintage summer psyching going on.

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The Hustad Residence

The Hustad Residence in Wayzata, Minnesota. Designed by Donald E. Hustad and photographed by Gordon Parks for LIFE magazine in 1958.

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Super Duper Bomba

when i’m feeling low all it takes is a quick browse of superbomba’s legendary collection to perk the spirits.

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Passanti

this is a new set of then & now photos from one of my favourite vintage photo collectors Giuseppe Savini. he says,

This is a series of photos I took in Bologna. I thought it was a good idea … then they told me that similar work had already been done … and then I gave up everything. - translated from Italian

it’s true – i have seen these done before, but not with the focus on the people in the photos. i think it’s far more interesting than just seeing the place itself – especially when you view past people in context with present day people.

let’s not forget all the effort Giuseppe must have gone to to track down these spots. so awesome!

all photographs by Giuseppe Savini

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Bygone Cape Town

i have long been an avid follower of Etienne du Plessis‘ flickr stream, where he shares many vintage photographs including old shots of Cape Town. please click on the images to be taken to the original & for more information.

- Posing at the Sea Point pool, 1960

- Clifton, 1967

- The Little Blue Train, Mouille Point, 1961

- Sea Point ,1963

- The Gardens, 1978

- Wednesday morning on the Parade, 1974

- Pleasure boats, Muizenberg circa 1960

- Muizenberg beach, 1953

- Fish Hoek, 1958

- Ready for the office, circa 1960

- Wedding in District Six, 1960

- Silverstream Buttress, 1975

- District Six, 1960

- Simonstown, 1969

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