Monday, February 28, 2011

Perfect day for a swim.

We've been having absurdly punitive weather lately - lots of snow followed by blistering cold. So today I'm hitting the pool.
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Battersea in transition.

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This is a very specific time for Battersea Power Station, taken on Kodachrome (developed by a third party - and you can see that nobody does it like Kodak because the film is degrading quite badly) some time between 1953 and 1955 during the construction of the B station. This image is rare because it shows Battersea with only three smoke stacks! Here's how Station B looked once completed:
Courtesy of Wikipedia
I haven't searched too extensively, but I can't find any photos of Battersea within the construction period on Station B and I've only managed to find a small few images of Battersea prior to Station B construction:
Courtesy of Another Nickel in the Machine
Station A must have been a damn nice place to work: it was chocked full of lovely Art Deco fittings, including Italian marble floors in the turbine hall, wrought-iron staircases and high polished parquet floors. Station B didn't get the high-class treatment like the first born - Station B came just post WW2, and plain steel replaced anything of beauty.

Also courtesy of Another Nickel in the Machine
Battersea stopped functioning as a power station in 1983 and famously fell into disrepair. Recently it has received final approval for property developers to move ahead with a colossally ambitious project to revitalise the whole area into a fully contained community. Masterplanned by Rafael Viñoly and being executed by Real Estate Oportunities, the project website can be found here: Battersea of the future.

But before we start taking out the trash, let's take a look at what's still there, these fairly recent photos by the BBC (who foresee the new complex opening in 2009 - I think that's been pushed back to around 2026!) :
The BBC slide show

Oh and something about Pink Floyd - whatever.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Name this place!

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I'm sad to report we struck out trying to scan some of my autochromes, we'll try again later, but we did get a chance to do nicer scans of some slides - name this place correctly and I'll send you a slide from the archive!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shakeface, autochrome style.

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When I saw this autochrome come up for sale, I instantly knew I must have it! Unfortunately you're not seeing the whole image, this photo is in glorious stereo, and shows beyond the top of the house (that street light might be an honest to goodness gas lamp - there's no bulb of any kind - just a pipe that blows fire), you can see our lady in full, and her very modern looking outfit, and the street. It's simply lovely. Lovely. But the best part of this one is what you can see - what's happened to her face. It takes about twenty seconds to expose and autochrome depending on the light, here you can plainly see she turned to look at something and looked back with a smile at our photographer. Totally charming. Totally unusual.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Mak'sogun" means "fat ass" in Cree.

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Both of my maternal grandparents can speak Cree, the native people of the plains of North America. It's funny to hear them speak it, partly because neither have any distinctly aboriginal physical traits (they both have almost completely European blood - it's long story), but mostly because the Cree my Grandmother speaks is quite nice sounding, and lyrical - and the Cree my Grandfather speaks is harsh and rough sounding. Grandma always scoffs at his trucker accent and then tells me how to say the word 'nice'. Like "Mak'sogun" - which means "fat ass" and when I refused to eat more because I was trying to slim down, she gave me that word. Good one!

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I've lost a lot of what they taught us of aboriginals in school, in Canada it's a fairly significant part of the regular curriculum (I'm sure some would disagree, and I'm sure there could be improvements, but I remember learning - and being interested with - quite a lot of material). I would guess these are Algonquins, based on that they were included in a lot taken in Ontario and Quebec, but they could be Cree too - those Crees got everywhere!

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I really need to pay attention and go to a pow wow. It's a cultural event! I love those! And there are some spectacular gatherings in Alberta, right on my doorstep. These are all Kodachromes from 1952-1955. Need some cleaning, probably could do a better job on the scan and sharpen up them up a bit - but then I'd have to get off my Mak'sogun!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rue Sous-Le-Cap, Quebec City, Quebec.

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Sorry I've been away for a couple of days. I've got some great snaps on the horizon, got a few deliveries this week that are Fa.Bu.Lous.
Anyhoo - although this Kodachrome dating between 1955 and 1958 is not photographically anything to write home about, the subject is interesting. In fact, normally I wouldn't be caught dead admiring a snap of some scruffy little brat. Listen to this CBC broadcast from this very spot February, 1940. I'm looking forward to finding this place when we visit Quebec this September. Going to track down some of my ancestors... find my roots.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bathers beware!

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Got some fresh meat today but alas am still too under the weather to scan them in and share. Soon though, soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not in the archive, but a most pretty thing.

Here's another kodachrome of Piccadilly Circus, this photo was taken in 1949 by Chalmers Butterfield. It's attached to the wikipedia article about Kodachrome. I think it's magic - but not magic enough to make your humble curator feel better from this broken foot and an onsetting cold. Bath time, bed time.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kay's Bingo.

Another delicious view from sunny Cleethorpes, Doris has a satisfying post-bingo smoke after enduring the orgasmic highs and lows of "the beautiful game". What happens next Doris?
She went on to conquer the world.

Here's the story about Kay and her empire, who was married to a former trawler skipper and nightclub boss named Bunny. Really! She died at 83 on November 25, 2009. So remember, remember Kay's Bingo in November.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A nice day out.

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Please pardon the washed-outness. Do people get out like this any more? When's the last time you piled into the car for a drive to the country and a nice little picnic. How nice.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why do I have such trouble spelling Piccadilly?

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Your faithful servant has injured herself, so I'm keeping it short and sweet. Look how gorgeous Piccadilly Circus looked! No marking on the slide to identify when this was taken but Thunderball came out 1965 so that much we know, nothing to identify the type of film either - totally generic slide frame. Well it sure looked good - no doubt about it. 1:39.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New fodder!

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Got some sweet new slides and autochromes this week, take a look at the fantastic composition on this one! I'm starting to realise the shortcomings of this little slide scanner, it's missing the sharpness of the original. [I've re-scanned this since posting this item, and I have replaced the links, the current image is better] What on earth are these ladies doing? The slide is labeled 'Ashness Bridge' but who would go and just "hang out" at a bridge like this? Particularly this group?

"Oh Betty? What say we meet down at the bridge, I'll bring my knitting and you can get pissed and pass out. Sound like fun? I'll call the girls and we'll see you there."

Totally love this. Love this.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freeman St, Grimsby.

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I seriously love tracking down what these locations look like today, I suppose one of the attractions of Britain for me is the slow passage of time. In my part of the world, whole cities are barely 100 years old, and very few buildings have survived even a few passing decades. But see how little Freeman St. in Grimsby has changed since June 1974: Street View without Doris and Mavis. Whatever made the old girls take this photo? World of Pine didn't even exist back then! Grimsby - what a name. Who'd ever call a town Grimsby?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who and where is Christopher Hayward?

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Ektachrome taken Aug 1973. No clue on where it was taken, other than a lot of the slides in the same lot are up around Cleethorpes, same lot as yesterday. Sweet woody Morris, Chris.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gotta be Cleethorpes.

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You may recognise this lovely number from the wallpaper here at Ferrous Archives HQ. It's a gorgeous little image of October 1964 in Kodachrome. Cleethorpes comes up many times in the Ferrous Archive, it obviously was a place our unknown traveler had a real soft spot for (we call her Doris). Take a google walk down the Central Promenade as it is today, it's hardly changed! But oh those cars, and the amusements were new then, and folks dressed a little snappier. That was the life.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Attempted surgery.

This lovely autochrome arrived at my door very badly and mysteriously damaged. I can't blame the packaging, there were other autochromes in the parcel and they survived the trip. It was a real shame because it was a very nice one, very vibrant and a good size. Sunday, I attempted to operate on old Rosie, to at least see what the inside looks like, poke around, and see if I can't glue is back together a little.

Did get it open with fairly little damage, scuffed up the tape in some places that I didn't need to.
Working with old emulsion is like working with gold leaf - very very fragile. It was very brittle too. I did manage to do a nice job on one of the cracks, but the other, the main one, couldn't be helped, and I've made a few marks on it now, so I stopped there before I made it even worse.

You can see here the crack on the left glued together nicely, but the main one wouldn't budge, and I chipped it in some critical places. The cracks on the top left became more visible too, once they moved around a little. The marks at the top are just where I have to re-tape the glass together - I need to get some black florist tape to clean that up. So what did we learn on Sunday? Don't fiddle unless you're sure you can fix!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tired - so tired.

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Hello again, beautiful.
I'm pooped today, I've been hitting the pool a lot lately, trying firm up and distract myself from my surprisingly unsatisfying life. I've been spending time with old men in hot steamy environments. Today, it was just me, just gramps, me up on the second level tiled bench, he facing into the corner the whole time... you know, the usual. "Red border" Kodachrome, May 1952 - August 1955.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My retirement home.

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This badly faded slide is a very good example of why Kodachrome and Ektachrome are so remarkable - because this is neither and you plainly see how it has aged ungracefully. Unlike the subject of the slide, the irresistible Royal Pavilion in Brighton is lovingly preserved and quite a magical place. Today I had my regular therapeutic phone-date with my English friend George, and this place came up as where I hope to be during the last few years of my life while I can still make a contribution to the world around me. That would be a satisfying end, I think.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

HMS Benbow.

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HMS Benbow. Lovely little slide. Your distinguished host has a supper guest tonight and Pompy (Portsmouth) has been a central topic of conversation. I'm too tipsy to bother typing any more - consider sailors.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Autochrome: It's potato starch.

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I want you to know I've made a promise to myself that I would post at least twenty consecutive posts of good quality material daily, and have committed to a post daily for ever, but weekends are especially busy for me, dear reader, so we're going to keep the content on this one to a minimum since I have to hit the sack. This is an autochrome, it was the first popular use of colour in photography, existed only between 1907 and 1939, and was incredibly finicky and difficult to do. This autochrome does not belong to the Archive, it sped through it last September, but is the only one I have that has been scanned properly (I hope to change that soon). I think they are the gems of photography. They're lovely to handle, hold up to the sun and illuminate, and examine magnified.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back to Beautiful and Bleak (Blighty).

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Back to England! I think this is a delightful representation of the other side of the British Seaside, believe it or not, this is a Kodachrome shot, and it was taken August 1964! Not at all the colourful romp of Blackpool or Weston-super-Mare, it's the sobering and brisk gloom that is ever-present, timeless, and strictly characteristic of Britishness. At it's worst, it represents the oppressive everyday life of the average person who is always reminded of how much more the haves have; at it's best it's the "Carry On," the "Stiff Upper Lip," the glass-half-full pearly positivity that people who join together to make the best of bad times often have.

Tony Ray Jones, Ramsgate, from BBC's Genius of Photography page

I think the person who first captured this distinction of the British Seaside was Tony Ray Jones, who died too young in 1972 of Leukemia. As far as I know, he shot almost completely in black and white, which keeps him from scoring a perfect 100  - but certainly one of the best. However, I don't think anyone has yet to top Martin Parr for nailing both sides of the seaside story. He consistently comes out numero uno on my list of favourite photographers, and is an alchemist when it comes to using colour in photography. See his specatular portfolio at Magnum Photos - and particularly the image from that link. My most treasured item in the Archive is his 7 Colonial Still Lifes published by Nazraeli Press - it comes with a signed print of a bowl of oatmeal. Hilarious and colourful, bland and picturesque: that pretty well sums up what I love about Parr's work and the British Seaside.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicagoland's Premier Lighting & Electrical Supply Stores Since 1953

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This is an Ektachrome slide of Active Electrical Supply Co, taken January 1967. I love Ektachrome for its tempered moodiness - it doesn't have the snapping popping colour of Kodachrome, so it's perfect for scenes of muted tones and darkness. I'll be the first to admit this scan needs work, the slide is stunning under the loupe, crisp and focused, with all the right hues. Delicious! But this will give you an idea. OR! You can go visit their showroom today in the same location at 4240 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago. You can plainly see the window treatment is the same, maybe a little faded. I think it's a bit of a pity they have that awning over the door, I prefer the old look. Do they still leave all the lights on at night? This company was founded by Anton Fox in 1953 and is still run by the Fox family today. Seems like nice people. Why don't you go down there and buy a nice lamp? Active Electrical Supply & Fox Lighting Galleries.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

So - they're throwing a chair party, eh?

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Ansco color again, and quite faded but not nearly as bad as some of the other Ansco color slides in the archive. This one is dated September 15th, 1946 and it also says "Choller, Stillwater NY". I think it's a fabulous representation of post-war colonial america. Look how the flowers on the table have retained the last bits of real colour on the slide! I think these folks lived pretty comfortably, but maybe this represents middle-america of the time and area. But then, who knows - I haven't looked too far into the demographics of this small New York town in 1946. I did, however, peruse the wikipedia article and took a little google-street-stroll down main street and I'm pretty sure not too many Stillwater homes have interiors like this today (per capita income of roughly $20k). 'Can't figure out what "Choller" means. Maybe it's hoarding your best chairs in your front room?