vintage 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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New York in the 80s

i still haven’t been to new york. right now it’s a matter of saving saving saving so i can get there one day. every time i’m tempted by a beautiful piece of furniture or a new jacket i think, must save for new york. in the meantime i’m living vicariously through other people’s new york related stories, photos, films… which is why i so enjoyed browsing through New York In the 80s, a collection of photographs by Steven Siegel.

I’ve been photographing the streets and subways of New York for the past 30 years. When young people today look at my shots from the 1980’s, they are aghast. To them, New York of the 1980’s is almost unrecognizable. And they are right.

that’s just an excerpt from Steven’s thoughts about this moment in time that he captured and so generously shared – read the rest here and check out the his other sets for more NY related photography.

“with a flourish the waitress leaves behind rearrange smears”

all photographs by Steven Siegel.

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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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Beautiful Girls in New York

street style circa 1944, photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt for a series called beautiful girls in new york for Life. i really think fourties style has to be one of my favourites, though perhaps women in new york have just always looked amazing.

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Japanese Love Story

as many of you know i love browsing through the life image archives. usually i have no real goal – just sniffing around, digging until i find something great to share with you. since it’s Valentine’s Day i thought this collection of photographs called Japanese Love Story by John Dominis was fitting. i don’t know what the photographs were taken for or if there is an actual love story behind any of them… perhaps just let your imagination fill in the blanks.

I sit at home
In our room
By our bed
Gazing at your pillow.

- Kakinomoto no Hitomaro

all images courtesy of the life image archives

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Picasso

inspired by this post by lauren about francoise gilot i decided to do some vintage picasso hunting – and of course the life archives delivered. picasso lived in the town of vallauris on the french riviera for 7 years where he created ceramics at the madoura workshop (amongst other things of course – the man was nothing if not prolific). francoise is pictured in this series of photographs taken in 1949 by gjon mili, though she eventually left picasso after a myriad of infidelities.

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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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