An Invitation to Walk and Dance

Nightjar was recently responsible for taking the photographs of a play put on by a local theatre group. The pictures are a departure from Nightjar’s usual style of photography and I think they’re fabulous. They’re storytelling photos that give a real sense of the mood and setting for the play. We’ll be sharing them over the next 3 days and I know you’ll enjoy them, too. I’ll let Nightjar take it from here:

As you may know I was recently responsible for the photography of a theatre play created by the local amateur theatre group. I will not be sharing photos of the actors, but I’ve selected 12 other photos to give you all a taste of what it was like! I divided them in three parts and added some context. I hope you enjoy!


Part 1 – An Invite to Walk and to Dance

The play starts in the village’s fountain with a short scene where the public is invited to walk along streets they walk along everyday. The actress is barefoot through most of the scene and walks the shoes you see here with her hands. She introduces five guides and tells the audience which one to follow. Each group will walk down a different path, but they will all see the same scenes (just in a different order). Before leaving the public is left with a question… can this familiar place still surprise or move us?

(photo 1)  ©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Sure, Macramé Your Hair, Why Not?

I got distracted. Again. Seems my brain has been having a bit of a vacation too, I’ve been quite the space case lately. Anyroad, came upon these um, attachments? Extensions? Falls? (Does anyone else remember falls?) I’d love to have some of these done with my hair, if it ever achieves thickness again. These are from 1840. Click for full size!

The Philosophy of Beards.

Thomas Gowing felt the mighty yet fragile English Beard to be threatened with extinction by an invasive foreign species, the Razor. So he set out to defend the furry face mammal in every conceivable way. The resulting lecture was received so enthusiastically by a bushy-faced audience in Ipswich that it was soon turned into The Philosophy of Beards (1854) — the first book entirely devoted to this subject.

It is Gowing’s ardent belief that the bearded are better looking, better morally and better historically than the shaven.


In the last section, Gowing gambols through the ancient and modern past, attaching a beard or lack thereof to thousands of years of heroism and cowardice, honour and deceit. Viewing history through the prism of the beard makes things nice and simple: “The bold Barons outbearded King John, and Magna Charta was the result,” … “Henry the 7th shaved himself and fleeced his people”. Napoleon I only allowed men in his empire to have an “imperial”, an upturned triangle of a beard, as a way of letting them know “that they were to have the smallest possible share in the empire”.


Finally, he dismisses as “a foul libel” the idea that ladies don’t fancy a beard. He declares, presumably without much survey data to hand, that “Ladies, by their very nature, like everything manly,” and cannot fail to be charmed by a fine flow of curling comeliness.”

You can read much more at The Public Domain Review, including the book itself. The book has also been recently republished by the British Library, for the first time since 1854. You’ll find a link at The Public Domain. I’d think the book would be a fine gift for anyone’s bearded friends and loved ones.

You might also be interested in Beards of Time:

Two photographs of the same unknown man, each taken at a different studio in Texas – Source: left and right.

Two photographs of the same unknown man, each taken at a different studio in Texas – Source: left and right.

Celebrating Natural Hair.

It’s truly rotten that so many places are determined to restrict and hate on a person’s natural hair, and to especially make girls feel ugly. This is not a matter of conformity as a social good, this is just plain old hateful bigotry, and it stinks, as bigotry always does. Enter CreativeSoul Photo:

Atlanta-based CreativeSoul Photo brought an inspiring artistic vision to life that highlights the beauty of black girls and their natural hair. Regis and Kahran are the husband and wife duo behind the photography studio, and their series Afro Art represents their expertise in capturing portraits as well as visual storytelling. The striking images feature young girls in elaborate costuming and hairstyles, from a Baroque-era aesthetic to steampunk clothing to fierce high-fashion ensembles.

The portraits of girls featured in Afro Art are stylish and carry themselves with confidence and grace. The feelings evoked from the series speak to the larger idea surrounding it. “We feel that it is so important for kids of color to be able to see positive images that look like them in the media,” Kahran told My Modern Met in an email. “Unfortunately the lack of diversity often plays into the stereotypes that they are not ‘good enough’ and often forces kids to have low self-esteem.”

To help combat these negative feelings, the couple showcases kids who love how they look. “We hope that viewers will see the beauty and versatility of afro hair,” Kahran explains, “and we hope that girls around the world will be inspired to love their unique differences and beauty within.”

The portraits and subjects are stunningly beautiful all. You can see some of them here.

Renaissance Superheroes.

These amazing photos rocked my world, and there are so many of them! These are not paintings, they are photographs. From Vintage News:

The project named  Super Flemish by Goldberger has created a series of photographs that portray ultimate pop culture characters of the caliber of Spiderman, Yoda or even villains such as Darth Vader, in a Flemish treatment. The photos largely resemble 16-th century paintings, and it has taken Sacha two years to complete the ambitious project. A team of twelve people has put efforts in making the flawless makeup, hair and special effects that can be noticed on the photographs.

“A lot of the job was done before and during the shoot. Pierrick and Sebastian, my digital retouchers, helped me to get the precision and the perfection I was looking for in this series,” says Sacha. “All of it was incredible; it was like a dream come true.”

“When you see the Hulk in front of you and you, ask him to look romantic, it’s crazy. The Joker was also very impressive. He endured three hours of make-up and started to act like Heath Ledger in the movie, The Dark Knight,”  adds the French photographer.

And from Sacha Goldberger’s site:

What if Superman was born in the sixteenth century?
And what if the Hulk was a Duke?
How might Van Eyck have portrayed Snow White?

Sacha’s discovery of these characters, which goes back to childhood, gave birth to a desire
to re-appropriate them, to take them back to a time forming the cornerstone of modern western art. Sacha wants to confront these icons of American culture with contemporary painters of the Flemish school. The collection demonstrates the use of 17 century techniques counterpointing light and shadow to illustrate nobility and fragility of the super powerful of all times. It also invites you to celebrate the heroes of your childhood. These characters have become icons to reveal their humanity: tired of having to save the world without respite, promised to a destiny of endless immortality, forever trapped in their character.
The superheroes often live their lives cloaked in anonymity. These portraits give them a chance to « fix » their narcissism denied. By the temporal disturbance they produce, these images allow us to discover, under the patina of time, an unexpected melancholy of those who are to be invincible.

As science fiction meets history of art, time meets an inexhaustible desire for mythology which is within each of us.

Oh, go have a wander and look at all of them! Super Flemish and Sacha Goldberger’s main page, and Flemish in the Stars (Renaissance Star Wars).  Look at everything! And thanks to PZ for yet another timesink, I really needed another one. (Just a pinch of sarcasm there…)

Schembart Carnival Fashion (1590).

Illustrations from a 16th-century manuscript detailing the phenomenon of Nuremberg’s Schembart Carnival, (literally “bearded-mask” carnival). Beginning in 1449, the event was popular throughout the 15th century but was ended in 1539 due to the complaints of an influential preacher named Osiander who objected to his effigy being paraded on a float, depicting him playing backgammon surrounded by fools and devils. According to legend, the carnival had its roots in a dance (a “Zämertanz”) which the butchers of Nuremberg were given permission to hold by the Emperor as a reward for their loyalty amid a trade guild rebellion. Over the years the event took on a more subversive tone, evolving to let others take part with elaborate costumes displayed and large ships on runners, known as “Hells”, which were paraded through the streets. After its end, many richly illustrated manuscripts (known as “Schembartbücher”) were made detailing the carnival’s 90-year existence.

We are unsure what the flaming “artichokes” are all about, if any one has a clue do let us know in the comments!
*UPDATE* solved – according to Christies: “They brandished lances and bunches of leaves – known as Lebensrute — that concealed fireworks.”

Christians, they just have to ruin everything. Oh, the costumes are utterly fabulous, and there are many more to see here, and the full manuscript can be seen here. There are certainly many fine costume ideas to be had, they are all grand.

Fancy Dresses Described;

The Hornet.

Fancy Dresses Described; or What to Wear at Fancy Balls is an 1887 costume guide, and it is amazing and wonderful. Some of the ideas would be best avoided in this century, but the costumes run the gamut from Five O’Clock Tea to Gold Mines to Backgammon to whole countries, and everything in between. Fascinating. The lists of illustrated costumes does not even come close to all the costume guides:

A sample of one page of descriptions:

The costumes are amazing and beautiful:


Oh, the Magpie! Who needs an excuse to wear that?

I haven’t even come close to perusing the whole book, but this caught my eye, and now I want this outfit:

Masherette. Black satin tail coat and skirt, with white waistcoat; black embroidered stockings; crimson silk handkerchief; opera hat and crutch stick; high Wellington boots; shirt front, high collar; eyeglass in eye; buttonhole.

Monte Carlo.

The book is a tremendous amount of fun, just on reading alone, and it’s a great resource and imagination spark for all the costume makers and wearers out there. Fuck, I really wish I could sew.  It’s as well to remember that this book did cater to the rich, just look at the entry for Night. Diamonds scattered in the hair, and much more. Of course, there’s no need for them to be real.

“Chemical Sexual Assault: The science supports us in it.”

Mariano Di Vaio, So…men can’t be sexy in work clothes? Really?

Carl Gallups, christian pastor and Trumphole had a little chat session with Mike Shoesmith, who wrote a blog post about the sexual assault cases coming to light in Hollywood recently. It seems Mr. Shoesmith is yet another christian mouthpiece. There’s no end of them. Well, this might take a while, so let’s get started:

If a woman wears sexually suggestive clothing around a man is that not also sexual assault? Men are visually stimulated and unwanted stimulation should meet the basic definition of assault. I am not condoning bad behavior by men but women need to understand that by walking around in their little sister’s skirt they are guilty of indecent visual assault on a man’s imagination which does cause mental anguish and torment especially on men who really are trying to live in harmony and respect toward women; something made more difficult when every ripple and curve are exposed to the men around you. Something to think about.

I have some very bad news for you, Mr. Shoesmith – women are also visually stimulated. Most people are, you know. How women dress varies greatly, from one individual to the next, and of course, the context matters. If you suffer terribly from being overstimulated, then pursuing a job as a Hollywood event planner or photographer might not be the job for you. For the most part, people tend to dress appropriately for their particular job. As for women simply going about their business, perhaps you should nudge your tongue back in your mouth, and point your eyeballs somewhere else. Look at the men for a change. Look at cars in the street. Look in storefront windows. Lots of options. Become a major shoe fan, and look at everyone’s feet. This idea that men simply have little to no control is an incredibly toxic lie, which causes a great deal of damage. It should not be enabled in any way. You’re the type of person who would condemn the wearing of burkas, but the way you want women to dress isn’t all that far off. Personally, I think men’s suits are a fantastic look on women, so let’s have a look at women being completely non-sexy, given that they are completely covered up:

Ms. Marlene Dietrich. Looks right sexy to me! Verrrry sexy.

Ralph Lauren. Oooh, hot! I want all three. Quick, someone throw a mass amount of money at me!

The point being, Mr. Shoesmith, it doesn’t fucking matter what women wear, men will find a way to get all unglued about it. What you really want is for women to be dressed as baggy, ugly, and frumpy as possible; just short of the full burka. As for mental torment and anguish, you should have learned a very long time ago that your boner, or lack of one, is your problem alone. You sound like an adolescent trying to convince someone blue balls is real thing, and they’ll just drop off if you don’t let them…

If all women wore suits like the above, you’d complain about all the time you spent being chemically assaulted and mentally stripping them of those clothes.

“When a man sees a naked or partially dressed woman, a chemical reaction happens in his brain,” he continued. “Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are released, giving him an involuntary surge of pleasure. Notice the word ‘involuntary’ … Men are in a state of constant sexual assault by women who either don’t understand the severity of what they are doing, because it’s cute and they like the attention, or worse, they do know the feelings it stirs and like the control they have over men.”

So, this involuntary surge of pleasure, it doesn’t happen to people of other genders? Just you manly men. Right. Amazingly enough, millions of people manage to control themselves every single day, regardless of all the lovely surges of pleasure walking around. Most people just enjoy the surge of pleasure and get on with their day. Now, I have more bad news – most people dress to please themselves. It’s a little much to demand that everyone think about your tender sensitivities, especially when most people don’t have the slightest idea of who you are, or where you are located in the world. It’s a big place, so deal with it.

Gallups agreed, saying that if a man were to parade around the workplace “in a very sexually suggestive outfit,” women would immediately file sexual harassment claims. He demanded to know, therefore, “why wouldn’t it be sexual assault” when a woman does it.

Let’s define very sexually suggestive outfit first. When it comes to women, a short skirt qualifies as very sexually suggestive. Any hint of breasts, very sexually suggestive. Now, if a man shows up at the office in g-string, yeah, that’s not appropriate. However…

if I worked in an office, and a colleague dressed like that ^ I would get a serious surge of pleasure. And be impressed. There isn’t anything remotely inappropriate about that outfit, but it’s damn sexy. I would love to see men in kilts all over the place. See, that’s the thing – sexy isn’t defined solely by clothing. There are many factors, and even more factors when it comes to attractiveness. You’re acting as though eye candy is the worst thing ever in the world. It isn’t, and most of us grown ups are adult enough to easily cope with it.

“We are just discussing what should be obvious,” Gallups insisted. “The science supports us in it.”

No, the “science” does not fucking support you! Not in any way. You’re both fucking idiots who don’t have the slightest idea of what you’re attempting to talk about.

“Men are responsible for fighting off this chemical sexual assault in their brains,” Shoesmith agreed. “Men are responsible for fighting that off every day.”

Oooh, chemical assault! I have more news for you – we all share the same damn chemicals, gender doesn’t have anything to do with it. We all have to deal with visual and olfactory stimulation every day. This would be in the water is wet category.

“Yes they are, absolutely,” Gallups responded. “And women need to help the men.”

No, we do not need to help you. Not in any fashion. You need to help yourselves. This is yet more moronic moaning brought to you by christian idiocy. Everyone needs to be so terribly helpless, especially men, even though you’re styled as the leaders and all, because you just can’t manage to think straight if you realize that women have actual bodies. Fuck that noise. With bells on.

Via RWW and PNN.

Dear Fashion Magazine Editors…

I guess Melania is used to wearing heels around a disaster area.

Like everyone else the other day, I rolled my eyes over Ms. Trump heading into Texas on 4 inch spikes. The sheer inappropriateness of these vulgarians is always and never surprising. What would be truly fabulous, though, is if one (or all ) the powerhouse fashion mags published serious articles on how to be stylish and practical when touring disaster areas – avoid those embarrassing fashion faux pas with our guide! If only the editors had the spine to do so, that would be one happy and grand statement.


Eye Candy Doesn’t Quite Cover It.

Headed by fashion director Maida Ghide, The Halo Cult is Paris-based media and design team whose latest editorial, titled “Coup D’Etat”, gives a new spin on Black elegance to “capture the essence of true royalty.” Shot by photographer Ishmil Waterman “Coup D’Etat” features the collections of Theodora Bak and Angostura adorned by two emerging creatives who rock the flowy black looks in front of the Chateau du Versailles.

“In a time where inequality is prevalent in all aspects of society, (we are) speaking out for black art, design and literature,” explains Ghide. “Despite millennia of development and influence, African achievement has been widely understated in a world that wishes to abuse and undermine the marginalized voice . (we aim) to bring power to that voice in a creative overthrow of a supremacist establishment.”

rq emailed me about this, and this was my reply:

I. Want. It. All.

See, now if men went walkin’ around looking like that, they’d understand how women feel a whole lot better. I’d be whistling.

Click on over to see all the magnificence.

Fashions of the Future!

Illustrations from a delightful piece called the “Future Dictates of Fashion” by W. Cade Gall and published in the January 1893 issue of The Strand magazine. On the premise that a book from a hundred years in the future (published in 1993) called The Past Dictates of Fashion has been inexplicably found in a library, the article proceeds to divulge this book’s contents – namely, a look back at the last century of fashion, which, of course, for the reader in 1893, would be looking forward across the next hundred years into the future. In this imagined future, fashion has become a much respected science (studied in University from the 1950s onwards) and is seen to be “governed by immutable laws”.

The fashions run from 1900 to 1993. You can see all of them here, and read the full original piece from The Strand here. The 1950s tickle me the most, it has to be those rather fab pirate/cavalier boots. And I’m a sucker for capes and cloaks. The 1970s were never that fabulous. :D