Thursday, 27 December 2012

Street Photography

Back in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, enterprising photographers shot photographs of passing couples. A few  shillings changed hands and addresses were exchanged. A couple of weeks later, the print(s) arrived through the post. This is my mother and father in London circa 1947. They were probably off to the West End to see a show when they were photographed.

My father's war didn't end until late 1946. He was a recipient of the General Service Medal clasp S E Asia 1945-46. It was awarded to British personnel involved in South-East Asia after the Japanese surrender of 15 August 1945. They were engaged in various activities such as guarding Japanese POWs and maintaining law and order. By November 1946, the troops had handed over their responsibilities to the territories' former colonial powers.

It was not just routine work. British troops fought a major battle as part of the Indonesian National Revolution. At one point, Japanese POWs were given weapons and fought alongside the British. My father was there!

For more on this remarkable battle, click HERE

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Healthy Footware?

I am not entirely convinced that these wooden-soled boots would 'safeguard your health'.  They look painful to wear and I wonder how they would stand up to working on a muddy vegetable patch!

Wikipedia reveals that a sabot is a clog from France that covers the whole foot. From the 16th to 19th centuries, they were associated with the lower classes. During this period of Industrial Revolution, the word sabotage gained currency. Allegedly derived from sabot, sabotage described the actions of disgruntled workers who wilfully damaged machinery by throwing their sabots into the works. But, according to some accounts, sabot-wearing workers were simply considered less productive than others who had switched to leather shoes, roughly equating the term sabotage with inefficiency.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Men with Watering Cans!

What is it about Edwardian  Gardeners and their watering cans? In Country Houses and Municipal Parks across the land, teams of men looked after magnificent gardens. In the large glass houses, plants and fruits were nurtured. The First World War saw many gardeners enlist and many never returned. Some country house gardens became derelict as a result. Perhaps these men went to war, too?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Malnourished Children Work Out!

Bushy Park is one of the larger Royal Parks and lies immediately north of Hampton Court Palace. Between the wars it was home to the King's Canadian School - a camp school for children suffering from anaemia and malnutrition. In the postcard, the children are seen tending the garden.

During the First World War, the Royal Canadian Hospital was based there and in the Second World War, Eisenhower planned the D-Day landings there in the Surpreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. The headquarters of the US Eighth Air Force was also based in Bushy Park.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

George Rodger, War Photographer

These fell out of an envelope this afternoon. At first glance, they seem like family snaps of a young man in uniform and one of him with an elderly couple. The accompanying newspaper cuttings reveal the real story. The man is actually the British war correspondent, George Rodger who stopped off in America on his way back to England for his first furlough in two years. He was staying with his friends, Mr and Mrs Arthur Whitcomb of New London at their summer home beside Lake Sunapee.

George was more than just a war correspondent. He was a LIFE magazine photographer who was the first to photograph the horrors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and a founder member of the Magnum Photo Agency. For more information on his career, click HERE for his Wikipedia entry. Click on the images for a closer look.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Jack Frost Cometh!

I fear Winter is on its way! I sometimes worry about the Vegetables but, more often, about the creatures large and small who live outside. Imagine the cold endured by those sleeping rough - awful. Not the same I know, but I once had to sleep overnight lying on my side on thick ice in very, very sub zero temperatures - not nice!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Stained Glass

Saw this glass window at the top of the stairs in a London hotel I visited this week. Not sure what it represents but I like it!

Friday, 9 November 2012

A View through the Forest

This is just a snapshot of tree bark in Pembrokeshire but, to me, I feel as if I am peering through the trees of a forest in winter. There's a sketch or a charcoal drawing to be made, here, I think.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Pembrokeshire Stone Walls

I used to love walking along the country lanes of Pembrokeshire each spring. I especially liked the patterns of the stone that made up the stone walls. I feel a painting coming on! I also notice the stone of head and truck of a baby element in the last photograph. Can you see it, too?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Forest Floor

I like looking through the trees and keep thinking I should base a painting on these fir trees.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Here, Piggy Piggy!

I rather like this novel sign that I saw at a now defunct Scarecrow Farm. I wonder whether it refers to human or animal 'pigs'?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

School Days!

Ahhh! Don't you just love school days. Hang on a minute. Have most of the children got their hands tied behind their back or is it just a variation of folding their arms?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Two new Friends!

I came across these two creatures at a garden centre on my way home this evening. The artist captured their spirits very well, I thought. Chainsaw art is often pretty good!


Another Flying Bicycle

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Poignant photos taken from dead Japanese Sailor

Following on from my last post about World War Two veteran, Arthur Schutter who served with the US Marine Corps on Guam, here are two photographs he brought back with him. They are likely to have been recovered from a dead Japanese sailor. Aside from a portrait of himself, the unidentified seaman carried a photograph of his children, the older twins dressed in navy costume. There are some words written on the reverse. It would be intriguing to find out what was said. Is there someone out there who could translate their meaning?

Thanks to Nicola Carpenter of the excellent Beneath Thy Feet blog, I now know what was written.

December 1943, first‐born daughter Reiko, second daughter Kazuko, first born son Tsutomu

Thursday, 11 October 2012

For A Swell Marine!

Arthur (Art) J Schutter served with the US Marine Corps. He was a member of VFM (N) 534 - a Marines Night Fighting Squadron that saw action in Guam.  I acquired a collection of his photographs about a year ago. I was particularly taken with the pin-up poses by one woman who may have been his wife or girlfriend. My next post on the subject will feature his service on Guam.

This is Regina. She wrote: Good luck to a Swell Marine. Perhaps she was a celebrity?

The remaining photographs are, I believe, the same young woman. The more formal portrait (below) has the name Lillian Cola (or Cole) pencilled on the back. The photographer was based in Detroit.

Note the black pattern on the nylon. Was this a fashion of the time?

When I first saw this, I thought of Annie Oakley. Perhaps Lillian is in Fancy Dress?
Exposing both knees seems a bit risqué. I wonder what the neighbours thought?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Morning Dew on Spider's Web

I walked to the bird hides on Pinfold Lane this morning just as the fog was clearing. I used my iPhone 4 to capture these shots of morning dew on spider's webs that obscured the view! Isn't nature wonderful?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Mystery Photographs

I wish I knew where this trio of photographs were taken. There are some clues - a very distinctive pier entrance and a tall building and on the coast. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

I think I have just discovered where it is - Southend-on-Sea Pier. I found this wonderful site on Piers (click here) which enabled me to confirm its location. The statue of Queen Victoria faces the pier entrance. That said, the building behind the statue does not appear to exist in contemporary photographs of the location.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Scooter Rally

You know how it is? You are rushing for an appointment and have just two minutes to spare, when you come across something worth photographing. In this case, it was a large scooter rally from Mod enthusiasts from the 1960s. Just time to grab these few shots and reflect upon the fact that the former Mods seemed rather mature . . . Oh, such chrome and lots of close-ups that were not to be!