Friday, June 29, 2012

Stills from the Nursery

Little Jack Horner

A slightly bizarre book, circa 1970, features photographed tableaux of nursery rhymes. Though there really is nothing particularly “wrong” or twisted about these, they confirm the fact that dolls plus camera, equals creepiness.

Hickory, Dickory Dock and Jack be Nimble

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zanzibar Swingers

I’d say that Wimbledon is as good an excuse as any to post the above photo of three young Swahili women with tennis racquets. I came across it while researching a post about Kanga, the cloths many African women wear that are printed with sayings.

Now I guess this might be called a match made on Google, because by some weird coincidence, shortly after finding the Zanzibar maidens, I came across their unlikely partners (across time and space) for “mixed-triples” in the photo below. It was taken in 1943 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where these young men were secretly processing the uranium-235 used the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 

But back to Tanzania, here are a few photos from the Zanzibar National Archive

A Makunduchi girl with coir ready to be spun into rope.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cherry Time

Cherries, 1879
Jules-Émile Saintin

Cherry-themed window (2) at Lisa Perry on Madison Ave. features the Jeff Koons collection.

This chart and explanation about cherry sizing appears on the site of Stemilt Growers .
Row is the industry measurement used when sizing cherries. This term dates back to when cherry shippers packed the top layer of a box of cherries in neat rows. The number of cherries that fit in each row determined the size the cherries. For instance, if 10 cherries fit in a row, those cherries would be called 10 row.
Cherries continue to be classified in row sizes today. However, they are no longer placed in rows, but rather automatically sized during packing.As a guide, the smaller the row number, the larger the cherry will be. 

Well, if you absolutely must have your cherries in rows (and we know who you are), you can visit C.J. Olson Cherries.

Cherry-crate label 

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Firecracker Boards

I was going to save this for July 4th, but I just couldn't wait. Later this week, Morphy Auctions of Pennsylvania will be offering over 1,300 lots of pyrotechniana from the collection of George Moyer. You may have read about his five decades of collecting all things firecracker-related in the New York Times, a couple of weeks ago. The labels, of course, are endlessly fascinating for their iconography and design, but for me the gems are the salesman's sample boards. The careful arrays of sparklers, roman candles, rockets, pinwheels, cones, etc., all seem to hint at the spectacular displays awaiting the user.

You can see all 19 of them, and slightly larger images of the ones I’ve posted, here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Jorma Puranen: Seeing the Light

Don’t you just hate it when you walk up to, say, a dark Rembrandt painting and instead of seeing, a work by the old master, you see a reflection of your old self?

Finnish photographer Jorma Puranen, not only doesn't mind reflection off a painted surface, he embraces it. Earlier this year at the Armory Show, I encountered his photographs of glare-frosted paintings, part of a series called "Shadows, Reflections, and All That Sort of Thing."  

Puranen photographs historic portraits as objects, emphasizing the reflective surfaces and aged paint. By obscuring the image, Puranen reveals a whole lot about how we see.

While looking at these ghostly apparitions it became clear how committed we are to our suspension of disbelief, when viewing traditional portraiture. Maintaining the illusion is so essential, that our brains automatically edit out any environmental factor that may interfere with our peering into the soul of the sitter. That is, the illusion of a sitter whose image our brain has allowed itself to be deceived into seeing.

All but the last two images here are from the website of the Helsinki School. The last two, are my photos of the pictures, from the Armory Show, where you'll see I had no choice but to embrace the glass.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Books on Fire: Fahrenheit 451

This repost is in memory of Ray Bradbury, who died this week at age 91.

Over 125 books appear or are mentioned in Truffaut’s 1966 film adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 451. Here are a handful in flames. Go here for a complete list.

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