Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Exceptional Post-Mortem Photographs

(Above) A very fine and poignant 1/6th plate ambrotype on amethyst glass shows a dead little girl with ring curls holding a single tinted rose. She is posed against a variety of patterned fabrics and wears a polka dot dress. Housed in a 1/2 leather case.

(Above) A sad 1/6th plate ambrotype on ruby glass shows a dead little girl propped up in a chair. Click image for larger view.

(Above) Startling postmortem of a young woman wearing a white dress in a white satin lined coffin. She has small flowers placed in her hair and each hand. A rosary and bible are placed in her right hand and a wedding band can be seen on her left hand. She is young and possibly a newlywed. Click image for larger view.

(Above) A very nice 1/6th plate postmortem tintype of a man in an early diamond shape coffin. A large black bow-tie is tied around his neck. Click image for larger view.

(Above) An unusual post-mortem photo of a young boy, placed in a sitting position as if asleep. Photograph by G. W. Barnes of Rockford, IL, circa 1890. Click image for larger view.

(Above) Back of cabinet card, highly decorated which was typical of the genre. Click image for larger view.

POST-MORTEM PHOTOGRAPHS were quite common in the 19th century, but the practice is less common today. All of these photos are exceptional examples that have been sold (but some may still be available) from one photo dealer on eBay.

Be sure and click on images for a larger view.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nonsense Charts

Click on image for larger view.

Click on image for larger view.

I SPENT ABOUT 15 YEARS OF MY LIFE AS A DESIGNER, AND FROM TIME TO TIME I GOT TO WORK ON SOME interesting annual reports. Of course, each year, the design of financial charts was a focused part of the endeavor. I watched how charts got quite abstract from time to time, usually cheered by other designers while the elderly shareholders struggled to make sense of the tiny type, and unusual approach to a pie chart, bar chart or line chart or (usually) other.

Discovering these “nonsense charts” on Flickr just made my day. Beautiful in their use of color, transparencies and three-dimensional approach on what looks like old, vintage paper, these charts mean nothing and they mean everything—depending on who is viewing them. Just like the financial section of an annual report, I guess. They would make wonderful large posters.

I would like to be able to thank the maker of these charts by name, but he (she) goes by the moniker of 1chord and a fib. You can other work by this talented person by going here.

All images © 1chord and a fib.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Victorian Shell Frames

Click on image for larger view.

Click on image for larger view.

Click on image for larger view.

AS FAR AS ANTIQUES AND OBJECTS GO, I AM NOT MUCH OF A FAN OF THE VICTORIAN ERA. I am interested in that period from a historical point of view, but let’s face it—the Victorians were fussy and over the top in opulence. Victorian women loved to quilt and sew, and make things for the home. Magazines were plentiful, and craft-like projects were often discussed within the pages. This led to many similar “things” being made in different parts of the country that still show up at antiques stores today.

These Victorian picture frames are a good example of a craft-like project that women did during that period. I have to say, I like them. Maybe because of the many rock and shell-encrusted art environments I have seen over the years, these compulsively made frames seem to fit a place I like.

I found these on 1stdibs.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Poetry in Motion

Flying from Sam Fuller on Vimeo.

FOR YOUR SATURDAY MORNING CARTOON, enjoy this short video by Sam Fuller, a video artist that I happily discovered. Poetry comes in many forms. There are no words, just the beautiful flight of a paper airplane.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jill Burkholder and the Bromoil Print

(Above) “Snowman,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Cathedral Chair,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Stairs,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Rain Girl,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Marching Guards,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Baseballs,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Mirror at Terezin,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Lights at Terezin,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Beds at Terezin,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

(Above) “Barracks,” bromoil print © Jill Skupin Burkholder Click on image for larger view.

I JUST FELL IN LOVE WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES OF JILL SKUPIN BURKHOLDER. It’s not just the old photographic processes she uses— it’s her vision, her photographic eye. These images, which she took in various spots across the world, push ordinary objects into a dreamlike place. Part nightmare, part memory—Burkholder’s images are truly extraordinary.

Burkholder works in the bromoil process, combining a century old technique with new digital approaches. She has taught bromoil’s painterly brush-and-ink techniques in workshops for groups including the Texas Photographic Society, the Academia de Fotografia in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Photographers’ Formulary in Montana.

From Wiki: The Bromoil Process was an early photographic process that was very popular with the Pictorialists during the first half of the twentieth century. The soft, paint-like qualities of the prints are very typical for this genre, and have recently led to some art photographers using the process again.

The bromoil process was based on the oil print, whose origins go back to the mid-nineteenth century. A drawback of oil prints was that the gelatin used was too slow to permit an enlarger to be used, so that negatives had to be the same dimensions as the positives. After G.E.H. Rawlins published a 1904 article on the oil print process, E.J. Wall in 1907 described theoretically how it should be possible to use a smaller negative in an enlarger to produce a silver bromide positive, which should then be bleached and hardened, to be inked afterwards as in the oil process. C. Welborne Piper then executed this theory in practice, and so the bromoil process was born.

Jill began working with photography in 1985 studying both traditional and digital photography and experimenting with various alternative photography techniques. She learned the bromoil process from Gene Laughter, a photographer who researched the technique by studying historical writings and interviewing members of The Bromoil Circle of Great Britain. She is a member of the International Society of Bromoilists, a small group of artists working in this elusive medium.

Her images have been published in recent publications, Black and White Camera Craft by William Cheung and Art Business News, “Reborn Victorians.” Her bromoils have been exhibited throughout the U.S and can be found in private and public collections.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Process of Design

SURFING AROUND THE WORLD, LOOKING FOR THE COOL STUFF (so you don’t have to), I FOUND THE DESIGN WORK OF TAMER KOSELI, who was born in Courtepin, Switzerland in 1985. What I liked here was his display of his entire thought process—something that we might learn from.

Since 1994 Tamer has been living in Turkey. He works as a freelance designer and tries to mix East-West cultures in his works.

Koseli says “Since childhood, I was impressed by the Swiss Legacy, pictograms, posters and especially the font Helvetica.”

HIS PROJECT IS CALLED, WISHES OF 20th CENTURY and following is Tamer’s description (I have corrected some of his use of the English language for better understanding):

“Wishes happen... wishes not happen... Is there any century in human history without wishes? The students who take the occurence of wishes from (the 20th century) to days as a design problem, during the design phase of project they convert the project from surface of cube to 3 dimensional product. For these reason when I began to design the logo, poster, tee and tree I built everything on cubes. In our country people make a wish and attach a fabric on tree. We have a lot of wishes about past centuries but I think we must hope for the future... This tree came out based on idea, the visitors of our stand (Milano - Salone Satellite E37) write their hopes and post it on tree. I like that the tree turns green with hopes.”

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Galvanized Beauty: The KOZO Lamps

(Above: Click this image for a larger view)

THESE LAMPS REMIND ME OF A TINKERER’S INVENTION DONE MAYBE 50 YEARS AGO. CLUNKY AND AWKWARD— these are exactly the qualities that make these pipe lamps so charming. The lamps, which sell for $169-$229, are handmade by Design2009 studio. The KOZO series lighting is made of galvanized iron parts, a “Cool Tap” light switch (developed by Design2009), and can use either a standard light bulb or a halogen light bulb.

From KOZO: “The unique, functional lights are designed for a wide range of indoor home environments. The KOZO parts come from around the world and each bares the trademarks of its origin country. The materials are left raw and alive, with little authentic rust at the joints and the marks from hand tools that were used in the assembly process. KOZO products are handmade and assembled by us at the studio.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fiodar Sumkin: Cyrillique Fantastique

HERE IS THE WORK OF FIODAR SUMKIN. HIS WORK CAUGHT MY EYE, AS I HAVE NOT OFTEN SEEN Cyrillic typography used so freely, and with such funky imagery to boot. Following is Sumkin’s own words:

“It’s been a while since I stopped thinking about preserving my own style or going along the same line in works which I include in my portfolio. It happens on its own.

It is much more important for me today to show my Russian roots through my works. Even if it’s a small illustration for a small magazine or something I do for a world-famous brand, I try to include a Cyrillic writing, or a Russian Lada car, or even a Kamaz truck. It’s like a personal signature thing.

Personally, I am not against digital methods, but I simply don’t use them, just as I don’t use vector graphics. It’s all very personal. Everyone chooses their own way in this. In my case, I always preferred the hand-made method.

I felt a certain magic about typefaces even before I got acquainted with computers. My parents have had loads of coffee-table books with Soviet art of the 1920’s. Back then, avant-garde artists used lots of typefaces in their paintings. Still life paintings in oil on canvas with huge black letters on the background mesmerized me. I thought they were something out of this world.”

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