The Ferrous Archive is a growing collection of vintage or ephemeral photography and photographica, with an enthusiastic emphasis on early colour processes such as autochrome, Kodachrome, and Ektachrome.
This post is for Mark, who requested historical cat content, in keeping with the name of our beloved archive honouring Ferrous, our cat. The phrase "you're the cat's ass" clearly has it's roots in the early 20's when colloqual language included a series of compliments that consistently had the following formula: "You are the <animal>'s <animal's body part>!" However, the "cat's ass" didn't show up until a lot later, since it began as the sole exception to that formula, "the cat's pyjamas". "Cat" was a term often used to describe the flappers of the age and jazz musicians, and "pyjamas" was quite a new concept for the '20s, so anything 'new' and 'good' would qualify. This slide has no information to indicate who this is or where it is, but the slide itself puts the photo between May 1949 - May 1952. What's strange is the intimate nature of this particular view - more than a little revealing? Its dirty little paws. Its little face turned away. In shame? In arousal?
Not so strange, evidently. Apparently I posess two photos of long-dead cat's anuses! This one, at least, is not so anonymous: his names is Leonard Kenneth Robert (Leo). I have it in quite an adorable album of snapshots from a boy from Saskatchewan, who's name is unknown but he likes organs and cats, and the photos are from 1961(ish). You can see more of this album here: Sweet Sixteen. No shame in Leo's face - me-oww.
Very few of my slides have dates, names or addresses. It makes for a little detective work, and that's just more fun for me because I can wear the dearstalker and smoke opium. This one had a little more information, "Bannermans, 8626 Fauntleroy, Seattle" and it's framed with the red border, dark cardboard slide that indicates it belongs between 1939 -1949 (see the excellent Kodachrome slide dating guide just a few doors down Internet Street at Historic Photo Archive). If we check out the Redfin listing we find out some more information like 1931 was when the Bannerman's home was built, and some interesting property value information. Check out 8626 Fauntleroy Way now. You can't see anything! They've let all those tiny bushes grow into giant bushes! You can see it's the right house on this Bing map by rotating to view head on and zoom in. I would have zipped right past it (on my virtual flying scooter - with sidecar) if it weren't for the turreted home next door. A very nice location, are the Bannermans still home? Do they own an axe or chainsaw (not likely)? Well I much prefer it then, pity it was such a gloomy day when Mr. Google drove by. Pity he didn't have an axe or a chainsaw.
You'll see that there's a limited number of subjects that attract me: British scenes, Canadian scenes, things that have to do with living in winter or Northern scenes, city scenes, and then something we'll label "fringe miscellania". Often I'll buy a set of slides because one attracted me, and the joy is then discovering what else is there, here are some of those finds:
There's so much going on in this photo! Let's Werner Herzog this: Who is that man? Why is he dressed as an unconvincing woman? Is he still alive? Where is he now? What is he thinking right now? What was he thinking then? Who are the cigarettes? It that a woman? Is that her abstract version of dressing as a man? Are they a comment on sexuality? Why does he have large, hairy feet? Why does Philip Morris have none? (I could go on for hours...)
From the disturbing to adorable - this photo (not kodachrome, just Kodak) is labeled "Sommervilles." (Incidently, this is also the name of a new wine bar in my neighbourhood, well minus an 'm' but hey - support local.) Seems like a nice bunch of gals, and the girl with the red ribbon's face was so nice they added it twice. I think there's universal appeal for doubly-exposed images - there's something wonderful and magic about accidents.
This slide is "Ansco Color" and as you can see, it's degrading quite badly. But I like the pattern, and the subject matter is so perfect! The antler in the foreground is a familiar comfort when everything else is uninhabited scrub, and I'll take a friendly elk ride any chance I get. That's what's going on here, right?
We'll start with where and when I'd go first if given a time machine: Blackpool - mid-fifties.
Why? There's an element of the British seaside that speaks to my core personality - or, for lack of a better word, my soul. Blackpool at this time is already seeing it's best years in the rear-view mirror, and where smartly dressed (and quite wealthy) folks used to promenade along the coastline, kiosks with bawdy jokes and tacky postcards are starting to appear. Classic "seaside camp" is being born here. Blackpool begins to evolve into a place where inhibitions are left at the rail station, and although you can still have a waltz at the top of Blackpool tower, you can also learn a few new dirty words (and commit a few new unwholesome deeds!) - and that suits me to a tee.
Very attractive and lovely, no doubt about it, but I prefer the following:
So what's the verdict? Do you prefer Blackpool sanitized or the "Scratches of God" version? I'm torn.