Monday, June 01, 2015

Alan Burnett's Blog of the Day

Alan Burnett is the founder of Sepia Saturday which I attempt to contribute to weekly. He maintains a couple of blogs which are delightful. Here's his post from today which has me laughing out loud, not a bad way to start the week. You can read more of his witty and information-packed  blog, "News from Nowhere" here: 

Hidden From Vulgar Gaze In My Winceyette Pyjamas

There is an advert for a web hosting service doing the rounds which offers a comprehensive service for those wishing to create "a website, a personal brand, an on-line portfolio .... or just a blog" which seems to capture a little of what has happened to blogs over recent years. They have become unfashionable - the winceyette pyjamas of the digital world - overtaken and overshadowed by status updates and tweets. There are many reasons for this : blogs tend to require more investment than short sharp messages - investment by the reader just as much as investment by the writer. I could probably go on at length about the reason for the decline in blogging - but I suspect that would be merely a demonstration of the reasons rather than an explanation of them.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a box of twelve exposed glass plate negatives on eBay. I had no idea of either the date or the subject of the twelve negatives and I have been having a fascinating time scanning each one and trying to find clues to both these questions. I enjoy scanning so much, I recently started another blog called The Daily Scan(yes, I bought another pair of winceyette pyjamas) and I have been featuring a number of the glass plate scans on there. I suspect that the photographs were taken about 100 years ago and they have a distinctly "local" feel about them so I suspect they were taken mostly in Yorkshire. 

The one scene I can definitely identify is the penultimate one which is a photograph of the memorial fountain built to commemorate the life of Lord Frederick Charles Cavendish, the younger son of the Duke of Devonshire and the MP for the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was the Chief Secretary for Ireland and murdered on his arrival in Dublin in 1882. The fountain was officially opened in 1886.

Photography is now such an integral part of life - and, for me, an integral part of blogging - that we tend to take it for granted. High definition photographs can be captured by the merest nod in the direction of our smartphones and body-worn micro video cameras can capture every moment of our waking day with boring monotony on a microchip the size of a gnats' testicle. Those old glass plate negatives I have been scanning have reminded me of a different age, when photography was something special and magical. Reading through my local paper (The Halifax Courier of the 2 June 1855 - I am a little behind with my reading) I came across the following advert for the Halifax Photographic Portrait Gallery. Mr Campbell seems so proud that he can provide a sitting room so that people can view his photographs without being exposed to the vulgar gaze. How delighted he would be to discover that we can now view such photographs in the comfort of our own sitting rooms, whilst reading a blog post and, of course, wearing our winceyette pyjamas.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this; it started my day with a smile. Blogging while wearing winceyette pyjamas with a cup of tea to hand is one of my favourite occupations. In fact, I’m doing it right now!
    Thanks for visiting me at my flitneyfamily.blogspot. I hope you were wearing your pj's.