Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hard Hard Work in Bucharest at the Turn of the C20

Young Street Busker

With the social reform movements in Europe in the C19, photographers felt encouraged to record the plight of working men and women of the time - here in Bucharest round the turn of the twentieth century and up to the 1920s.

Though the names of some of these professions which have pretty mush disappeared may have a strange romantic resonance in popular culture today, everyone knows the reality would have been very different.

The obvious pathos in the image of the street musician encouraged me to place it first.

The second shows women gathering each day at some predetermined spot in the hope of being offered temporary work as maids.

Maids for Rent

Counter to expectation, the Library of Congress informs that chimney sweeping ...

... has been a steady profession right up to today.

A post on working class professions in the street in Romania would hardly be complete without an image of a fortune teller.

Fortune Teller

Physically demanding itinerant jobs included tinkering ...


... wood cutting ...

Wood Cutters

... and iron working ...

Iron Worker

Though life would hardly have been much easier for organ grinders ...

Organ Grinders

An Organ Grinder

To finish, an image ...

... of 'the oldest profession in the world'.

A post dedicated to those who usually slip through the cracks in the system.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Of The Seriously Less Serious Moments of Dance

These days when people speak of the Ballets Russes, it's often in hushed and reverential tones.

So it's great to see film of dancers from this legendary company(ies) away from the hallowed halls of 'The Theatre' (said in the manner of Bette Davis in 'All about Eve', 1950).

Particularly when they were having fun in the surk and the sun, as in this slow motion, silent but colour amateur footage taken during the 1938-9 tour of Australia by the 'Covent Garden Russian Ballet'.

The first film is straight-forward enough - larking round with ballet movements and positions and starring Paul Petroff and, I suspect, Hélène Kirsova ...

But the second film seems to have a much 'darker' tone.

A Lothario (above) and a friend observe a dramatic sea rescue ...

... which dissolves into a 'From Here to Eternity' moment ...

... followed, curiously, by more than a hint of the final act of 'Romeo and Juliet' ...

But then unexpectedly things seem to go wrong ...

... or right?

So what's your story board on this one?
The Joys of Impulse Purchasing

Nagaland Glass Beads mid C20

I suspect the best purchases are often on impulse and so, recently and again, browsing turned to buying ... Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment: Australia, Oceania, Asia, Africa (Adelaide and Melbourne, 2009), a very large format and weighty semi coffee table tome of nearly 400 pages.

Aboriginal Bark Armband Tiwi People C19-20

In an attempt perhaps to lessen my guilt, I'm posting a few of the astounding images I found inside - I'm determined to flip through the book just the once as there are so many arresting things I'll get bogged deep down in choice if I do otherwise.

Bedouin Bridal Veil, Palestine, Gaza, mid C20

Bedouin forehead ornament (kaffa) Saudi Arabia Early C20

Triangular Necklace, Oman, Early C20

Ear Ornament Tamil Nadu, C19-20

Man's Ceremonial Head Dress, Motu people, PNG, C19

Chief Lama's Ceremonial Hat, Ladakh, India Early-mid C20

Buddhist Woman's Ceremonial Crown C18-19

Qing Hairpin, China C20

Embroidered Baby's Bonnet, Yunan, China Early C20

Man's Cuirass to deflect arrows, Indonesia, Papua Province, Early C20

Qing Hairpins, China C19-20

Chief's Dancing Apron c1930, PNG

Bridegroom's Head Decoration, Sumatra, Indonesia, Early C20

Man's Bandolier, of Ant-Eater Claws, Myanmar, Early-mid C20

Necklace of Woven Human Hair and Whale Ivory, Hawaii, mid C19

Man's Head Ornament, Katji people, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory - collected in 1930

A feast for the eyes and the senses, don't you think!
To Nip and Tuck or Not - Voting of a Different Kind

It's Saturday morning and, as you do, I was online browsing 1925 Rolls Royce Phantom 1s for sale.

Usually of course they come like this ...

... and very nice indeed, well, at least for me.

Then to my real surprise I happened across this 1925 Phantom 1 curiosity ...

... which had started life in the above manner, bodied by Hooper.

In the 1930s, it was bought by the Raja of Nanpara and transformed by the Belgian coachbuilder, Jonckheere, into something more befitting the style of that decade, undergoing a number of more minor 'face lifts' over succeeding years ...

... before reaching it's present state of restored glory in 2005 ...

... winning many awards, including its first concourse entry in le Prix de Cannes (whatever that might be).

As I browsed over the site again, the question for me was which did I prefer - the 'before' or the 'after' version.

While it seemed somewhat sacrilegious to tamper with a classic Roller design, I must say the result was something unique and wonderful.

What's your opinion?