Say, ‘Cheese!’, or don’t

This cartoon is all about those Victorian images we see where people are very serious in the photographs. It seems like every single image at that time was a serious thing.

I came across some images online the other day, where people were actually laughing and smiling in the old photos, and this cartoon came to mind – what if they were able to smile and the photographer just told them not to, like in the cartoon here?

Supposedly it took up to 15 minutes at the time for the shutter speed to work correctly and it was easier not to smile. Also, many people had only one, two or three photos taken during their whole lifetime and I guess it was a serious matter.

People also had their photos taken after they were dead – they were propped up with the living and that was a remembrance of a person who may not have had their photos ever taken when they were alive. I’m serious. Look here. It’s called, “Death Photography.”

The cartoon above was done two ways, a part black and white image of the subjects, to mimic the photo being taken and a full color cartoon. If you slide the thingy back and forth you can see what I mean.

Below are a few Victorian photos, some smiling, some not. And I’m wondering the smiling ones look like spur of the moment, and not posed, especially these girls jumping and smiling and laughing in a photo from 1880, so I think that blows the 15 minute time constraint theory. But who knows.

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Wanna feel old?

I went to one of my favorite museums, the Museum of the City of New York. I’m not sure why it’s a favorite, I think it’s the neighborhood I like, Spanish Harlem, as for the museum, it’s the same old exhibits, and once in awhile they change out one room. And their app to buy tickets sucks. Other than that, I did like one exhibit they had today.

But it made me feel ancient. It literally had these things under glass: a dial phone, a pay phone, a newspaper, printed classified ads, film cameras, typewriters, and so much more.

I did enjoy watching a video on the old way newspapers were made and they had a huge old linotype machine and all sorts of old newspaper equipment. That was cool.

But to see these other things behind glass was really freaky.

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Matisse’s – The Red Studio

I checked out the Matisse exhibit at MOMA yesterday.  Henri Matisse’s The Red Studio (1911), depicts the artist’s work space in the Parisian suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Of course I had to add Starry Night here. Since I was at MOMA, I had to visit my favorite painting.

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Bringing Up Father

I’ve been reading a lot of old Bringing Up Father comic strips on Facebook, they pop up daily. If you click on these, they will open larger.

What gets me is the detail. I can’t understand how George McManus, the cartoonist, drew the same characters day after day, multiple times in each strip with such precise detail. His linework is amazing.

Brining Up Father featured Maggie and Jiggs, the two main characters. It ran in newspapers for 87 yeras, from 1913 to 2000.

Jiggs is an immigrant from Ireland who comes to the U.S. and wins $1 million in a sweepstakes. So now he is up in the world but prefers his working class life. His favorite food is Corned Beef and Cabbage, which he gets often at his friend Dinty Moore’s restaurant.

The art has an Art Nouveau/Art Deco design, which makes it stand out. When McManus passed away in 1954, other artists took over the strip until its ending in 2000.

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Vintage history

I came across this picture online. It’s Coney Island, one day in 1906. It’s crazy, seeing all these people crammed in together at the beach, and so many of them in black suits.

My favorite part is these little guys at the left, if you look to the left of the guys walking, there is a smaller guy digging in the sand. He’s very intent on doing what he’s doing. Does he have to go back to a labor shop the next day, was he a newsboy working 6 days a week selling newspapers? Kids didn’t have it easy back then, but these three looked happy on this day.

I wonder what the two kids that are walking are talking about? They seem deep in conversation.

The one guy at the very bottom, where his head is partly cut off looks like a time traveler – but I always see some sort of time traveler in old pictures, that probably aren’t. I guess it’s his haircut that looks very modern.

I colorized this image below. Makes you feel like you’re almost there, doesn’t it? If you click oh the two large images above and below, they will open much larger.

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Trades people mid 1800s

Found these old Daguerreotypes online – mostly from 1850s and 1860s.

Only a nickel, or maybe a penny

I saw this photo online and came up with the cartoon below, which was published Friday. This is an image from the Jersey Shore in 1905. It was entitled, “Ice cream sandwiches at the beach.”

As I looked at the photo, I was thinking, “They probably paid a nickel for the ice cream since back then everything was a nickel.” But then I noticed on the wagon it says the ice cream sandwiches were only 1 cent.

But usually whenever you hear of something from history – not even that far back, like say the 1940s and 1950s – things were a nickel – the price of a movie admission, the price of a sandwich, the price of an ice cream cone and of course the price of a pickle.

I suppose the cartoon could have taken place today, in a dollar store, where everything is a dollar, but I like historical things and drawing historical images.

I know I went overboard with all the items and prices, but I thought it made the image funnier.

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With one foot in the past, just how long will it last?

The last few months I’ve been driving a different direction than usual and I pass a school that I dealt with for many years. I used to print school newspapers (well, I was a print broker, and handled printing the newspapers) and I drive by one of the schools I had as a client for 20 years. They were the longest running school client I had.

Now each day as I drive by, the 1980s and 1990s flood into my mind, mostly the 1980s – and I go back in time. I can picture myself in the office, speaking to the ladies there, picking up the job, delivering the completed newspapers – for 20 years! The ’80s flash by in my mind.

The other morning I saw a report on Tears for Fears, who to me, was the sound of the 1980s. The report was about them getting back together and going on tour this summer with a new album. So of course I dug around for one of my favorite albums, “Songs From the Big Chair,” which I couldn’t find, so I download my favorites from that album.

To me “Shout,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Head Over Heels” scream 1980s – the best decade for music and just about everything!

I’ve been listening to this in my car and yesterday, as I drove by the school with the song on, I went back in time – like a time machine. I was back in time. It was surreal.

There are so many great songs from the 1980s, but for some reason, these three songs from Tears for Fears bring me back to that era and shout, no pun intended, 1980s.

I had it blasting so loud in the car, that I couldn’t hear a truck driver yelling at me and calling me names because I passed him on the road. I was in stuck 1985 anyway, out of his realm.

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Pillaging through the past

My fascination of ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and all sorts of archaeology goes way back. I studied it in college as part of Art History. My textbooks, which I still have, are in my living room and I glance at them every once in awhile. Guided tours of ancient Egyptian sites are part of my bucket list.

I do a lot of cartoons based on ancient times, I enjoy doing those.

And now that I think of it, if asked, what I would do if I wasn’t doing what I do now, I might say, “I’d like to be an archaeologist , digging around in Egyptian deserts. But not now, I think.

A MEME THAT POPPED UP THE OTHER DAY.

I was shocked into reality the other day while watching a tv show on Egyptian and Greece archeology. They were digging up ancient Greek tombs and relating them to Egypt at that time and one of the archeologists said something like, “We’re lucky to find this one in tact. The tomb raiders did not find this tomb, but we did through sonar (or radar, he said something like that.” And I was stunned. Why is a modern archeologist, digging up ancient tombs any better than ancient, or even current tomb raiders.

The main difference is that tomb raiders are taking gold and silver and precious items. Archaeologists are taking bodies; actual bodies. Why is this any better?

One lady archeologist, I can’t remember her name, has a life quest to find Cleopatra’s tomb. And do what with it when she finds it? Display her remains to the world? Another has a quest to find Alexander the Great’s and Cleopatra’s ancient Alexandria under present day Alexandria, I guess that’s ok, as they are looking for cities, not entombed bodies.

I can understand digging up and finding ancient cities, but I’m having second thoughts about digging up entombed, embalmed bodies.

So I have to think on it now. Is desecrating an ancient body permissible in the name of science? Is it ok to dig it up, pillage, analyze it and show it off in museums? I’m wondering. I’m sure I will still do ancient Egypt related cartoons, because in my cartoons the people are alive and in their time in their settings.

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West Side Cowboys

This cowboy is William Connolly on 11th Avenue on December 18, 1932. One of the last West Side Cowboys.

Have you been to The Highline in NYC? I came upon these pictures online, which preceded The Highline and the Elevatated tracks that are The Highline now. But these pictures depict an interesting time in NYC.

The trains used to go right up 11th Avenue, they literally were on tracks, sort of like trolleys. They started in 1846 for industrial reasons – bringing goods and services to that area, which became the Meat Packing District among other things.

So freight trains shared the streets with horses and buggies and eventurally cars and trolleys. But here is the amazing part – people would get hit by the trains at times. I don’t know how you don’t hear a freight train coming down the street, even at slow speeds, but people would acutally get hit.

So the City Council hired men to ride horseback in front of the trains and they would yell out to warm pedstrians. They became known as West Side Cowboys. In the early 1930s the Cowboys days ended because the trains were taken off the streets and became elevated (Els) and eventually went underground as subways.

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