Filed under history of photography

Me in Tin Type

I hate having my photo taken but the chance of being immortalised in a mid 19th century technology was irresistible. Magical watching the image slowly appear, hair first. The photo is by Gareth Jarvis

Bowie’s First Film

Here’s a short film featuring David Bowie,  a genuine oddity, wherein he plays a painting come to life. At times it reminds me of Scarlett Johansen’s film ‘Under the Skin’. Apparently it was banned for excessive violence. How things change.


Pixar Eat Your Heart Out!

Animation has been around as long as cinema, and can be made a lot cheaper as there are no actors to pay or to have hissy fits. Here’s a gem from the silent era – a 1917 stop motion animation with a pair of dolls brought to life by a fairy, a white rabbit that … Continue reading

Silent Partners

This is an exhibition now at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, which is subtitled ‘Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish’. That last seems to be what makes most people go a bit funny about the show, but it is really fascinating. We are used to seeing the human form in various forms of art, but … Continue reading

The Little Fugitive

This film from 1953 has fallen through the cracks of most film histories, but is surfacing after the film on children in film. It is a real gem, beautifully acted by its young star, Richie Andrusco. When their mother goes away, Joey is left in the charge of his older brother whose friends play a … Continue reading

Ruin Lust

This exhibition at the Tate Britain is absolutely brilliant – a mix of art and architecture including some of my favourite artists and some welcome discoveries. Ruins seem odd objects of desire, but they feature prominently in British history, from the 18th century when young men with wealth did the Grand Tour, usually ending among … Continue reading

Deadwood Discussed

I missed Deadwood when it came out, but was utterly blown away by it when I got it out a while back on DVD. Such extraordinary writing, acting, design – the works. I kept thinking of it as Shakespearean, but in this essay it is described as Roman, which nails it also, they were all … Continue reading

The Serenity of the Sage, Innocence of a Child

Bath in the 18th century had a lot of famous visitors, but one of the most important residents was William Herschel, who, with his sister Caroline, made huge contributions to early astronomy. But just as important, though in different ways, was William’s only child, John, described by the famous astronomer Patrick Moore as having made … Continue reading

Hitchcock and the Holocaust

This is from an article in the i newspaper, by Geoffrey Macnab.   Alfred Hitchcock was known as the king of horror films, but when he saw the footage of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, he is said to have stayed away from Pinewood studios for a week. When the British army liberated the … Continue reading