Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pink Lips, Cravat (Melvyn Douglas)

Glorious technicolor photo of Melvyn Douglas--1930s leading man, notable as Greta Garbo's lover in Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939).   Was, by numerous accounts, an "outstanding anti-Fascist".  More on that later......   Go, Melvyn.

Friday, October 25, 2013


....make the world go round.  What I covet here: haberdashery, haberdashery, haberdashery.  Plus the coats with the thick dark stripes.  Was also thinking today it might be cool to start smoking a pipe. 

In NYC--but alas in a no-pipe-smoking hotel room.  Masses of people everywhere.  Saw a scowling lady on a park bench who might possibly have been Jeanette Winterson. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Two Lisbons my stepfather Turk used to call them.  Actually this is a Dutch postcard--from the 1940s, it looks like.  Very much 'designed' by the photographer, what with all the chiaroscuro etc.  Interesting to wonder, given Dutch provenance, if the darker of the two models is Indonesian,  lending a soupçon of colonialist titillation to the whole giggly/perverse ambiance.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Mysterious Contest

Nice pictorial linen card from Belgium, early 1900s.  A chopping contest of some sort?--logs, I guess--except the 'logs' look more like cylindrical zucchini.  Contestants being hydrated with pink lemonade, proffered by wing-men in plimsolls.  It's all so terribly exciting.  Who will win?  I'm 60 today.

PS 10/20.  From the Who Knew Department:  A kind reader tells me the men here having the wood chopping competition are Basque.  (I can definitely see it in the costumes now it's pointed out.  Something about the red cummerbunds.....)  The artist here, José Arrue (1885-1977), turns out to be a fairly prominent Basque artist, as Wikipedia reveals.   He also seems to have been a competent matador.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We Entered Without Fanfare

Still working on Lolita with the undergraduates.  Yesterday had to explain Nabokov's joke re: the spinster-teachers who live across from Humbert at one point, Miss Lester and Miss Fabian.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Red Dust Dream-Chum

A recent get: the dramatic ovoid clouds framing the boy make a sort of eye-rhyme with the painted cloud backdrop in yesterday's post.   Something else to notice--though it's hard to say if it improves or damages the composition: the way the bottom of the boy's shirt lines up almost perfectly with the horizon line, the place where the dry brush terrain ends in the distance.   Was this alignment planned?  Or was it just an accident that happened to make the photo look planned?   And here's the obvious aesthetic question: however achieved, does the line-up make the photo look too planned?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Contain Multitudes

I confess--had to do quite of bit of dust-and-scratch removal on this tintype.  The subject's coat had been gravely scratched at some point.  Shame because it's a glorious image, one made ever more so by painted 'breaking rollers' in the background, and the curiously sack-like boulders at the gentleman's feet.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lead Balloons & Cigars

As We Age.....the balloon stabilizers become all the more desirable.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Something Rum Here

But I do like the effect of the partial outlining of the figures.....   Breezy.