Monday, June 12, 2006

More 'Found' Images

One of the treasures every family has is the stack of old photos in a drawer in the livingroom/bedroom/where ever. Our photo pile is exceptionally large, as my Mom was the only child of her generation from her dad's side of the family. As a result, the typical splitting up of photo albums and framed stuff never happened, and two (maybe three) generations of collected photos went directly to her. Over the last few months, I have been slowly scanning in stacks of this family history, which is the main reason I went to the expense of a new scanner, capable of slides, and a new external 320 gig hard drive. Between family stuff, old book illustrations, my artwork, and family pictures of my wife and kids, there are now 2486 images on my Flickr site. This has barely scratched the surface. (If you are not a member of Flickr, you can find my stuff by searching for "Jerub Baal" from the main page.)

One of the neat little finds was a box of images from the New York World's Fair of 1964. These are official slides that were sold as souvenirs. I am thinking of passing them on to one of those digital research repositories on the web. For now, here are a couple of the most beautiful shots. If anyone is a legitimate historian of New York City, or World's Fairs, or the 1960's culture or the like feel free to contact me for additional information.

Electric Power and Light pavilion

the Fountain of the Planets at dusk

the Unisphere and courts

the Eastman Kodak pavilion by night

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Another Scanning Project

Another vintage photo resource I have recently aquired is a small (4X7 inches) photo-book La Cathedrale de Strasbourg, Editions "Tel". It looks to have been printed somewhere between the 'teens and the 'thirties. The book contains shots of some of the portal figures of prophets and virtues that I have never seen photos of anywhere before.

There are also some excellent shots of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, which I have seen some photos of elsewhere.

One image related to the Virgins which I had never seen (which is odd, considering it's central part in the parable) is the Bridegroom.

And though I had seen shots of these statues,

I don't think I had ever seen the left hand (male) figure described as 'the Tempter.'

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Friday, June 09, 2006

I have been having a lot of fun with Flickr, our new camera (a Kodak EasyShare C533) and my new scanner (an Epson Perfection 4990 Pro).

The latest project has been to photograph and download illustrations from some old books I got my hands on recently.

The following are from "Gems of Art" which apears to be an annual of 'the Magazine of Art.' Judging from the dates of attribute for the engravings, and a bio of a recently deceased (at that time) artist, I would place the date of publication somewhere in mid 1891.

Here are some samples from the over 375 illustrations.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Those who do not learn history are forced to repeat it.

"In these troubled times, when political and economic misunderstandings are erecting barriers between nations, as effectively preventing the interpenetration of ideas as if war had closed the frontiers, it is more than ever important that nations should think of each other in terms of some enduring aspect of the spirit which remains constant and free from the transitory confusion of current problems."

Thus begins the foreword of the exhibit catalog for "German Art From the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century, an Exhibition of Paintings, Water Colors and Drawings Held Under the auspices of the Oberlaender Trust (and) the Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation, 1936-1937." which I recently aquired. Though I haven't found definitive information, I strongly suspect that at least one of the works in that show had been aquired by one of the participating German museums through a forced "Jew auction" (where the Nazis forced Jewish citizens to sell off their art and antiques at bargain prices).

I would love to find out that this exhibit was 'lilly white and pure' but given the history of that time, I have my doubts.

Even with the growing evidence of Nazi excesses, ill treatment of the Jews, agression and violation of treaties, inflammitory rhetoric from Hitler, the exodus of Jewish people and intellectuals, and the Nazi envolvement in '36 and '37 in the Spanish Civil War, there was still a great portion of the West that wanted only to "think of each other in terms of some enduring aspect of the spirit."

The result of that wilful blindness was over fifty million dead across Europe and the Pacific.

Will my grandchildren look back at some of the things written now about the need to 'understand and cross cultural barriers' and wonder how we could ignore the religious facism of Radical Islam?

Yes, Germany in 1936 had a long and glorious art history which had contributed greatly to the culture of the world. That art did not save the millions who died as a result of Hitler's madness.

Yes, Islam and muslims have done many beautiful and meaningful things in the arts, in mathematics, and many other areas. Dwelling on such things will not defend us from a Nuclear Iran or from 'home grown' Wahhabist terrorists.

I hope that there will be grandchildren to look back and wonder at how foolish we were.

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