not to be confused with National Geographic’s own tumblr, Vintage National Geographic instead features scanned in pages from vintage copies of National Geographic going back to the 1800’s. you’ll recognise that familiar halftone printing look that jumps off these old clippings, and it’s almost like you can smell the pile of old magazines that you used to page through at grandma’s house.
i bet the people who took photos decades ago never thought their every day snaps would wind up on some “blog” being pored over by random strangers from the future. i wonder if our own photographs are heading in the same direction? our lives are so well documented now that at least no one will ever wonder who we were. but i do wonder what the stories behind the photographs on Global Pillage are, a blog compiled by Pete Mauney with an impressive collection of imagery by mostly unknown authors.
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.
if you live in London or you’ve visited there any time in the past 4 months you should already have gone to see the Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition that’s currently showing at the Tate. if you haven’t, then i’m reminding you to. why? because i can’t go. do it for me! take a pic and tag me on Instagram! i would LOVE that. it’s only on for another 2 weeks or so, so you’d better go.
today i was preparing to do a follow up to my Bygone Cape Town post from a few years back (be sure to check it out) when i went down a rabbit hole and discovered, to my delight, the archives of Bobby Graham whose father took photos of ordinary people in Cape Town from 1959 to 1963. by the end of it i had the biggest grin on my face, he really had a gift for capturing the natural sense of a person. thanks to his daughter for uploading & sharing.
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!
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.
Nichelle Gainour, a journalist who blogs and writes for various online and offline publications, owns a tumblr called Vintage Black Glamour that has progressed into a book, launching in June. the tumblr is unique in that it’s not just pictures pictures pictures, something i find quite frustrating about themed tumblrs in general. she talks about the subjects in the photographs at length, something that i really appreciate in the land of the never ending out-of-context image (aka the internet).
i love this image of Loïs Mailou Jones, an artist who studied at Harvard and Columbia, pictured in her Parisian studio. there are many more where that came from – i suggest you delve into the archives.
Using rarely accessed photographic archives and private collections, Nichelle has unearthed a revealing treasure trove of memorable and iconic images. The book presents historic photographs of famous actors, dancers, writers and entertainers who worked in the 20th-century entertainment business, but who rarely appeared in the same publications as their white counterparts. With its stunning photographs and insightful biographies, this book is a hugely important addition to Black history archives.
growing up my older brothers had motorbikes, and i thought it was soooooo cool. sometimes they would pick me up from school on one of these tanks and i would feel like like such a bad ass. granted i was not the one steering the motorbike, and i never have had the guts to actually ride one. so whenever i see a woman on a motorbike i think damn, girl. that’s what i thought when i saw these pics of women motorcyclists from 1949, taken by Loomis Dean for Life Magazine. and in an age when it might have been strange to see woman in pants – let alone riding motorbikes – they are pretty bad ass in my book.
you may remember this post that i shared a few years ago showing women artists from the collection of The Smithsonian. i decided to delve into their archives again, and discovered this set of Women in Science that they shared in honour of International Women’s Day.
Since 2009, the Smithsonian Archives has posted groups of photographs showing women scientists and engineers at work; women trained in science and engineering who worked outside the laboratory as librarians, writers, political activists, or in other areas where their work informed or was informed by science; family research collaborators who assisted their scientist husbands and fathers; and several images for which we have little descriptive information to which we invite you to contribute!
Brazilian aviation expert and pilot Anesia Pinheiro Machado (1902-1999) was the first person to obtain a U.S. commercial pilot’s license with additional ratings as instructor and for flying on instruments only. She had made her first solo flight in 1922, at the age of 18 and was the first Brazilian woman to make a cross-country flight.
Emma Reh (1896-1982) a journalist who reported on archaeological excavations in Mexico, as well as the social and political situation in that country. Later she worked at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, writing about food consumption and distribution problems.
Bertha Parker Pallan (1907-1978) is considered one of the first female Native American archaeologists.
William M. Mann was Director of the National Zoological Park. His wife, Lucile Quarry Mann (1897-1986) often accompanied him on collecting trips. A science writer, Lucile Mann would produce the popular accounts of their expeditions. She also became skilled at care of exotic animals, feeding and caring for animals on expeditions and raising several big cat cubs in their home.
Dena Shapiro was a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Chicago. This photo describes her as just having traveled “to Palestine, to see how the new cloth of Zionism is fitting into the old garment of the complex Moslem-Christian-Jewish life there.”
Ethel Grace Stiffler was a botanist who studied at Goucher College (A.B., 1922) and University of Pennsylvania
Anna Chao Pai (b. 1935) was a predoctoral student in the Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, working on developmental genetics and cross-breeding special strains of mice.
South African born writer and broadcaster Winifred May de Kok (1893-1969) had attended medical school in England during the 1920s and was in medical practice until 1953, when she became a television broadcaster, engaging in discussions of family life and health on her BBC program Tell Me, Doctor.
Mary Knight Dunlap (1910-1992) was the founder of the Association for Women Veterinarians.
Ruth Colvin Starrett McGuire (1893-1950) was a plant pathologist known for her work on sugar cane diseases.
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.
Dinanda Nooney was a photographer from Manhattan who documented the lives of families living in Brooklyn from 1978-79. she donated the entire collection to the NYPL Digital Gallery in 1995, and i found myself looking through every single photo with my morning coffee yesterday. it amazes me that so many of these homes could in fact be the interiors of modern day Brooklyn apartments – the furniture, the plants, the bike racks (!), studios of artists & architects and designers…
Nooney initially became interested in the borough in 1976, while working as a volunteer for George McGovern’s presidential campaign. Two years later, she used the connections she had made in order to gain access to rooftops and other vantage points for a survey of the borough. She soon became more interested in the people she met and began photographing families in their homes. Many of these sitters then recommended other potentially willing subjects. The portraits that emerge are striking in their attention to the details of architecture and décor, which reveal just as much about the subjects as how they choose to pose themselves for Nooney’s camera.
Barbara Rothenberg. 135 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights
Jerry & Linda Schick. 188 Washington Ave., Fort Greene
Geoffrey & Tobi Needler. 51 Montgomery Pl., Park Slope
Ernie & Lucy Bitzer. 300 Washington Ave., Clinton Hill
Spencer & Rosalyn Depas. 227 Cumberland St., Fort Greene
Bill & Sasha Saari. 104 Prospect Pl. Park Slope
Nat Lamar. 60 Tompkins Pl., Cobble Hill
Russell McCombs. 315 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights
Suzanne & Mike Zufolo & daughters. 480 13th St., Park Slope
Fran Orans. 4715 Surf Ave., Coney Island
Tim & Carol Sullivan. 284 Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill
Joseph & Mary Merz, architects. Daughter Julie & cat. 48 Willow Place, Boerum Hill
Bill & Lucy Sikes. 231 Washington Ave., Clinton Hill
Allen Wiener & sons. 331 President St., Carroll Gardens
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.
Blackie was the cat of photographer Gjon Mili, who was best known for his work for Life magazine. you can see a beautiful series he did with Picasso that i previously blogged about here. i was digging more into his work when i noticed that Blackie appears in a lot of his shoots – it seems that his feline friend accompanied him to the studio (and really enjoyed it).
all photos by Gjon Mili