Monday, April 26, 2010

Filling Some Digital Envelope On My Hard Drive


When I was a young lad I remember cutting pictures out of magazines. I would acquire old holiday brochures and cut out pictures of exotic locations (in the 1950s exotic locations were places like Cornwall or North Wales). I would beg old copies of my fathers' "Mechanics Illustrated" and cut out pictures of electric powered cars. I would scissor attack my brothers' copies of "The Eagle" and clip out complex cut-away diagrams of the workings of the Queen Mary. I can't remember what I did with all these pictures, knowing me they will have been filed away in an envelope somewhere. It was the image that was the meaningful thing and it was the acquisition that was important process. Having a picture of St Ives was the next best thing to going there, having an explanatory image of a model racing car was the next best thing to owning one.

We never really change do we? I am still in love with images and I still have this need to acquire them. The paper magazines have been replaced by digital content but I still copy and save. I still file image after image away in some digital envelope somewhere on my hard drive. Thus, when I was browsing eBay the other day and I came across someone offering a disk of "14,000 High Quality Vintage Photos" for £4.99p (post free) I couldn't resist temptation. It has now arrived and I can waste endless hours browsing through the collection of old advertising posters, vintage postcards and pictures of faded film stars. It's cheap and harmless fun and it keeps me from brooding on the meaning of life. It does however tempt me to dig out that box of small cigars I have tucked away somewhere. How fascinating that the suggestive power of advertising can work even 100 years after the advert was first published.

13 comments:

  1. I remember those cut-away diagrams in The Eagle. One of them - a steam locomotive - had me going back to it again and again. To see the workings exposed that way, was a revelation.

    Sounds as though you got a bargain disk for £4.99. Happy browsing!

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  2. As a child you were a pioneer, practising the literal version of digital 'Cut & Paste'! I can't think of a better way to spend 4.99. I think the digital cigars might be a lot better for you, though! I wonder how long it will take you to get through all 14,000 images? Delicious ... like always having an unread book awaiting you.

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  3. Okay, I am going to have Gilbert and Sullivan in my head today and it's all your fault.

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  4. Martin H : I remember the steam loco well. It was one of those massive Pacific class things I think.
    Nana Jo : I accept that digital cigars would be a heck of a lot better for me, but somehow not quite as satisfying.
    Willow : A wandering misfit I, a thing of blogs an' dispatches.

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  5. I hear you! Heh, heh! I have a folder on my hard drive called "Graphics" just full of stuff I've found online - cartoons, celebrity portraits (mostly used for my posts on Just A Song and In Memoriam posts), and just generally things that caught my eye. There's a whole sub-folder of copies of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, ditto one of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, both used to create slide shows set to particular pieces of music (the Pre-Raphaelite one was set to Loreena McKennitt's musical setting of Tennyson's "The Lady of Shallot"). And all kinds of art and artistic shots that I use for inspiration. It's a pretty big folder!

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  6. Aloisius: my advice is to print. Digital is OK, but there'se nothing to leave behind once you're gone.

    Rgds/Bruce

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  7. It's nice to know such images havnt gone up in smoke.........

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  8. Roy : I suspect we have similar approaches, similar folders, and probably a good few similar files.
    Vincent : Generally I would agree with you but the one advantage of digital is that you can collect unfettered by the restraints of the capitalist hegemony in that there is no cost involved.
    Tony : Looking at the advert it is a miracle it has survived because it must break at least six basic rules of modern advertising law.

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  9. You know what, Alan? The thing I think I like best about you - other than your kindness and sense of humor - is that you can find pleasure in the simplest things. This speaks volumes about you, as a person. All good. Especially since one of your kindnesses is that you generously share your pleasures with those of us out here whom you have never met.

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  10. what a fascinating image...lol. love to look through random pic and advertisements are just the thing to make you wonder just what were they thinking. smiles.

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  11. Beautiful image it is. I've still some of me auld clippings( more like entire magazines ), of which some go back to the '20's. Eventually I'll get a scanner big enough to handle them.

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  12. Well at least with digital storage,they're neatly saved on your PC instead of getting lost in envelopes. Looking forward to seeing some of them. Haha our annual holiday was always in South Wales!

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  13. I've purchased a few books put out by Dover publications that include dvds of old labels--luggage labels, fruit crate labels & cigar labels (so far!) I love those images. Sounds like you're in for a good time with your new collection.

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