I’ve been spending the last few days browsing photographs by Max Dupain and Olive Cotton from the Library of New South Wales (via flickr Commons photostream). My favorite set comes from an album documenting summer outings to Culberra beach, Australia, during the summer of 1937. One could not art direct a better vision of camping w/ stylish ladies and gents milling about a beachside campsite worthy of a RRL ad campaign. Take a look…
Thanks to the Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections for these historic photographs of Marine Corps basketball teams. While I know very little about the game of basketball I do admire the wool pullovers, wide legged sweats, canvas sneakers and tailored shorts sported by the men’s and women’s teams. Bonus points the gents who completed their outfit with shawl collar cardigans or heavy wool overcoats (future trend alert: greatcoats over shorts). Like the best athletic garb from the past, the uniforms worn by the Marine Corps teams (sans logos) could stand in as everyday clothing rather than sports specific gear. If you are looking to equip your own team, see my 2011 post on vintage basketball equipment and gym equipment.
Little is known about the Costică Acsinte archives. According to archives metadata, Costică Acsinte was born in Romania and worked as a photographer during WWI. After the war, he opened a commercial studio, “Foto Splendid C. Acsinte.” Ascinte was a prolific photographer; the Ascinte archives contains over 5,000 glass plate negatives, most taken between 1934-1945. What’s remarkable about the Acsinte photos is the interplay between photographic subject and surface image decay. Most of the scanned glass negatives exhibit some level of image degradation. Browsing the collection, I’m drawn to the ones which feature subject obscuring cracks and flaked emulsions or where surface noise has obscured the subject altogether. In the best examples, the imperfections creep into the story world and take up the work of jackets, clothing and hair. Cracks become patterns in fabric, black gaps in the negative substitute for facial deformities. In other examples, the decasia brings an atmospheric charm to the photos – adding life to othewise dull provincial images. Here are a few of my favorites:
Despite criticism of flickr’s semi recent redesign, I remain loyal to this content management system for the access it provides to historic image archives. Flickr Commons provides one search access to some terrific image collections including the the Library of Congress and the Stockholm Transport Museum. While I prefer to browse the pages of vintage print catalogs, flickr commons is the next best access portal to arresting images from the past. If you are willing to wade through ten thousand anonymous headshots, maritime snaps and random scenic views, you’ll find some great material . One note – since the individual images are rarely tagged or cataloged you must actively browse through each institution’s set to sift out the really good stuff. My focus, of course, is vintage workwear, athletic novelties, expedition garb and examples of women wearing rugged, non feminized outdoor clothing. Here are some favorite photos from the Nova Scotia archives by Arthur Bloomfield Dawson.
Here’s an exemplary snap of summer work togs from the OSU Archives flickr set, Hop On, Brewing and Beer. The caption of the image is Coeds with Hoes. I’m going to shop from this photo for my upcoming trip the UK. Look for me in London wearing slant stripes, head kerchiefs, rolled trousers and hop covered loafers. Unsure whether TSA will permit hoe portage past Eugene security.
The San Diego Air and Space Museum (SDASM) just celebrated their five year participation in Flickr Commons. While I’m partial to the Museum’s archival collection of Zeppelin crashes and Aviation Pioneers, my favorite SDAM set features photographs, illustrations and ephemera from the Space Shuttle program. Out of context, they invoke a version of the Shuttle that is heavy on concept, light on flight. What remains are charming, lo-fi, diy artifacts: button lit simulators, dated office furniture, slide presentations and cryptic medical tests. Study the photographs below and develop your own space program.