Friday, 8 September 2017

118 : A Crisp And The Co-op

Brighouse Industrial Society was the name given to the local co-operative society which was founded in the 1850s. By the end of the century there were branches throughout the district and it was one of the most important retail enterprises in the area selling everything from clothing to coffins, groceries to galoshes. I am not sure how I acquired the membership card of Mrs Crisp, but it is a fine piece of historical ephemera - a little work of art in its own right. 

Monday, 4 September 2017

117 : United In Thought

There is something rather thoughtful about this man who sat in front of the studio camera at A & G Taylor's studio in Newcastle one hundred and thirty some years ago. If I screw my eyes up, I can see him today - sat on the train, thinking about Brexit, or how he will pay his Council Tax, or the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Men divided by more than a century but united in thought.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

116 : Photoshopping The Genetic Code

The Crooked Man
There is something wrong with the stance of this subject of a studio portrait from either the late Victorian or the Edwardian period. His head is off-centre and one shoulder does not match the other. It is almost as though someone had photoshopped the genetic code and not done a very good job of it.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

115 : A Woman Of Substance

A Dickensian Woman Of Substance
There is something oddly Dickensian about this unknown woman who appears in a studio print from the early part of the twentieth century. I suppose when she was younger she might have had a walk-on part in one of the latter works by Dickens, but that is merely my imagination running away with itself like one of those new-fangled automobiles. She has the look of a "woman of substance"; a woman who could stop an automobile in its tracks.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

114 : More For Less In Carnarvon

The Castle And Square, Carnarvon
Vintage postcards from the first decade of the twentieth century always seem to accentuate the shape of the built environment. It has a lot to do with the absence of bright metallic motor cars and the comparative modesty of shop awnings and street furniture. I was in this square a couple of years ago, and there were far too many things to see - which meant you saw much less.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

113 : Expressionism

Mother And Six : Print Of Unknown Family
I have no idea who this mother and six children are, but they have brought along to the studio session such an assortment of expressions, it is a joy to behold. There is serious, suspicious, friendly, cheeky and unapologetically happy. Mother seems proud - and so she should be.

Friday, 18 August 2017

112 : Don't Feed The Band


I have no idea who these two are, but that doesn't matter. It is a captured moment so real, so vibrant, that you can almost imagine that you were there, that you know these two musicians well, that the echo of their song still rings in your ears. I'd certainly "feed 'em".

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

111 : Half Plate Family

This is a scan of a half-plate negative - but I suspect it was a picture of an even older print. The negative was quite something, however: the size of a slice of bread and on plastic as thick as a pair of safety glasses.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

110 : If Only The Grain Didn't Get In The Way

A street scene with a tempting bus that will show the location - if only it could be enlarged enough, if only the grain didn't get in the way.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

109 : A Difficult Art To Master

This photograph of a young man comes from the Dutch Studio, Filiaal, of Kalverstraat 124, Amsterdam. More directly, it came from a lot of Victorian photographs bought on eBay. It is a fine example of experiments in hand-colouring photographs. It must have been an early experiment - the colours are a little too vivid and the brushwork is a little too crude. Having conducted similar experiments over a century later - using Photoshop rather than paint brushes - I have ever sympathy with the experimenter : it is a difficult art to master.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

108 : Impressionism

Images within images are always fascinating. By the time this image of just one of the children featured in this Victorian photograph from my collection is enlarged, little detail remains. It stops being a photograph and starts a new life as an impression - still full of meaning, still full of history.

119 : Three Soldiers

Three Soldiers : Unknown Subjects (c.1940)