Category Archives: Photography

Vintage 1960s Design Inspiration – from the USA and former USSR

I love this photo from a 1960s Life magazine. The story is about finding a cure for cancer. The way in which this photo is taken makes it look like a painting to me. It reminds me of a certain artist's work...I just can't put my finger on it at the moment.

Last week I took Pascal on his morning walk. As I rounded the corner, I noticed a pile of old magazines just sitting, forlorn, on the sidewalk. Around Park Slope, people often just leave items on the sidewalk for anyone to take. So, I just had to grab them. It was an odd mix of Life magazines and communist themed magazines from the 1960s. Once I got home, I leafed through them and was completely taken by the beautiful photos and the simple and elegant page layouts. So, following are some of my favorites. Part of me wants to tear these magazines up and try my hand at collage making, part of me wants to take the photos out, as is, and frame them, then the other part of me wants to leave these magazines exactly as is. What to do?! Anyway, just thought I would share my find and pass on the inspiration!

– Stephanie,

A photo of Russian farmers. With all the grains making a dot pattern, this one reminds me of some paintings by Seurat.

I love the clean simplicity of this layout form USSR Soviet Life Today, circa 1962.

Beach time, Russian style! I love how the woman in the middle is still, basking in the warmth of the sun, separate from and oblivious to the the crowd.

A super trippy 1960s ad.

The Russian car of the future. I would love to have this, it could totally fit into just about any street parking spot.

I'm sorry, I will NOT be able to attend your dinner party...
One thing that has certainly improved is food staging and food photography. This just looks rough.

A very real fear of the time. It reminds me of all the old signs I see around NYC about buildings that contain fallout shelters.

Another great layout.

A story concerning flooding in Florence, Italy. It was very sad to see all the photos of art that was destroyed.

Another photo from the Life magazine story on finding a cure for cancer.

Jackie and Robert Kennedy from Life magazine.

Vintage ad for fur.


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The US National Archives’ Photostream – Loving all these vintage, 1970s photos

Before rollerblades...

Currently, I am working on my online, graphic design portfolio. So, I was looking for inspiration and came across the US National Archives’ Photostreamon Flickr. I did a search on Central Park, and for some unknown reason, my search led to this amazing trove of vintage, 1970s photos. I honestly can’t tell you how long I just spent going through these photos. There is just something so deep and rich about the colors and lighting from this old film.Of course, I love the convenience of having a digital camera, having the luxury to take as many photos as needed of our letterpress projects and being able to upload them immediately. However, there was something kind of special about taking photos, bringing them to be developed and waiting in anticipation to see how the photos actually turned out.

I also have to say, since everything is digital, our family photo albums have fallen to the wayside. I remember, I used to visit my parents, pull our these huge old photo albums and go through them. Right there, so convenient all bound and at my fingertips. We could see the photos of when we all got the chickenpox, the look of sheer joy on my brother’s face when we got our first Nintendo and how lame I actually kind of looked in my favorite, pink and purple unicorn shirt with matching trousers. Well, those days are gone. If I want to see any photos from the year 2000 on, I have to ask my dad to turn on his computer, sort through the various files and show me. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but it just isn’t the same. My husband and I keep saying that we have to get some photo albums made using Blurb, but that has yet to happen.

Anyway, hope you enjoy these photos, as far as I know they have no copyright restrictions so can be used for most anything. They are enough to make me want to find a working, vintage camera on Ebay!

– Stephanie,

Love the wallpaper. Btw, is he knitting?

Vintage Grand Central Station.

Philly street scene.

Wonder if he is available for parties...

Vintage popcorn stand.

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The Etsy Holiday Gift Challenge – Buying a Gift for My Mother

An old photo of my family. My grandmother with my little mom on the right and my aunt on the left. Strangely enough, 60 years later, my mom still looks exactly like this!

Here we go, another day of the  Etsy Holiday Gift Challenge. This list is for my mother. Just to recap, I plan to purchase all of this year’s presents from Etsy or other small businesses/artists and my budget is $50 per person. I skipped a couple days, but Caroline and I were both so busy gearing up to press our Holiday cards, which we will have up soon. Better a little late than never 🙂

So, my mother is from Germany. That being said, a number of these presents have a German theme to them. She also loves nature: birds, flowers, really anything to do with the outdoors. So, following are a few items I think she would like. All are $50 or under, except for one, but it was just so lovely, I couldn’t resist!

First, we have this amazing antique Deutsch Mark necklace from sweet2bliving.  I think I am going to have to get it, that is if it is not already gone! I’ve never quite seen anything like it before.

Antique Deutsch Mark Necklace from sweet2beliving.

My mom also loves photography. This vintage looking photo of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin taken by RetroLovePhotography, would probably be a big hit with her. I’d even love to have one in my apartment!

Retro-looking photo of Berlin by RetroLovePhotography.

Yum, all my favorite winter ingredients: pumpkin, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Speaking of nutmeg, that reminds me, when I used to live in Saudi Arabia many years ago, nutmeg was illegal – really, you couldn’t find it anywhere. It was considered an aphrodisiac. Omg, I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence about a gift I am thinking about getting my mother…just, wow. ANYWAY, this pumpkin soap by wyldeivy looks like it would make an excellent present.

Pumpkin soap by wyldeivy.

My mother loves bees, I mean really, really loves them. There are bees all over her house: Queen Bee signs, bee art work, bee coasters, bee photos, bees, bees, bees! But these tea cups have the most elegant bees on them that I have ever seen. They come in sets of two and are made of  porcelain AND the are made by fellow New Yorker, Faith Adams. Check out her great Etsy shop for these bee tea cups and all her other beautiful work.

Sweet bee tea cups by FaithAdamsCeramics.

Another German themed gift. I love these Edelweiss hand towels by EmbroideryEverywhere. They are so elegant and they come in many different colors. I happen to like them in the natural color, as shown. This design can even be put on other items such as pillowcases and aprons.

Pretty Edelweiss hand towels by EmbroideryEverywhere.

My mother is a big coffee drinker. Whenever I visit my parents, my mom and I can sit around the table drinking coffee for a very, very long time. This set of 6 Azberg German teacups, from WrappedRoundMyFinger, would be perfect for our coffee marathons. A couple years ago, after a particularly long coffee drinking session, I realized my hands were shaking a little…that’s how much coffee we drink! The more I look at these, the more I like them…I am kind of thinking I might get these for myself now!

German tea cups from WrappedRoundMyFinger.

I love the Scherenschnitte work by ePaperCuts.  Scherenschnitte is an old German art, whereby an image is created by using small scissors to cut out intricate designs. ePaperCuts has tons of great work, but I love this French Bulldog. My mom would love it, too because it would remind her of her little four-legged grandson, Pascal!

Little Pascal Scherenschnitte by ePaperCuts.

As I mentioned, my mother loves nature. I think this butterfly art by  BugUnderGlass is just lovely. The detail, the color, the delicate lines, it is all just so pretty.

Butterfly art by BugUnderGlass.

So, this gift is over my budget a little, but I just had to include it. It is a mid-century serving dish by Ernest Sohn and can be found in the BrakingSandsVintage Etsy shop. I’m going to share this listing with my husband and see if we should just get it for ourselves…sorry mom!!

Beautiful mid-century serving dish from BarkingSandsVintage.

I love any type of salty and sweet combo and these sea salted carmel lollipops by VintageConfections look too good to pass up. I think they would make an excellent stocking stuffer for my mom…and unlike nutmeg, neither caramel or salt are known aphrodisiacs!

Totally tempting, caramel and sea salted lollipops by VintageConfections.

This vintage inspired locket by dreamyvintage is absolutely beautiful. What I think would really make it perfect is a photo of my mom’s grandson, Pascal, on one side and another photo of her other grandson, Gabe, on the other!

Beautiful vintage locket from dreamyvintage.

This set of 4 Spode saucers from sesameandsparrow is lovely. In fact, so lovely I would almost want to hang them in my (I mean, my mom’s!) kitchen as decoration.

Spode saucers from sesameandsparrow.

Like I said, my mom is a big coffee drinker. I think she would love this vintage apothecary shot glass by fifthseason.

Vintage shot glass from fifthseason.

Here we have another German inspired gift. Love this sweet little Fachwerkhaus ornament by ARTISANIEeurope. Actually, I love all of their architectural ornaments!

Sweet German inspired ornament from ARTISANIEeurope.

Sometimes my mom can become a little wound up. Things that set her off: people who cut her off while driving, people who move too slow and people who slurp while eating. On the flip side, certain things make my mom really happy: the bluebirds in the back yard, seeing me (haha) and getting joke emails from her friends. Well now, with this cute Mood Diary from EineDerGuten, she can chronicle the day’s events and write down what mood each one put her in! I have no doubt all entries pertaining to me will have “good” checked off next to them!

Mood Journal from EineDerGuten.

I love these bees wax  candles from underthefigtree, and I bet they smell amazing! What makes them even better is that half of the proceeds for each candle will make sure that a child in need gets a Christmas gift, too!

Bees wax candles by underthefigtree. They come in these great little tea cups that can be reused once the candle is finished.

And finally, Caroline and I are in the process of drawing and printing monogram stationery. My mother’s name starts with a “B” and I think she would love our set of “B” letterpress, monogram cards.

Our hand-drawn, letterpress, monogram notecards from PressedInBrooklyn.

Oops, I almost forgot. I took this photo a couple weeks ago. The full moon was glowingly intense and the way in which it illuminated the clouds and bathed the night sky in an other-worldly light was gorgeous. I just had to take a photo, this is from my living room window in Brooklyn. When my mother saw it, she told me she would love a print of it. I think I will go ahead and do that…now I just need to find a nice frame.

A night in Brooklyn.

So, that wraps it up for my mother’s holiday shopping list. Just have my dad, brother and husband to do…saved the hardest for last!

– Stephanie,


Filed under Antique, Jewelry, Letterpress, Personal Stationery, Photography, Shopping

The stunning photography of Candida Höfer…and an amazing option for those of us who can’t afford it.

A library in Lisbon by Candida Höfer.

Sometime back, my husband introduced me to the photography of Candida Höfer. Her work is absolutely amazing. She focuses on large-format photos of empty interiors and social spaces that capture the “psychology of social architecture.” Her photos are often taken from a front angle or sometimes a diagonal. Often, her empty and actionless rooms are shot from an elevated vantage point near one wall so that the far wall is centered within the image. From her earliest photos, she has focused on depicting public spaces such as museums, palaces, libraries, places of worship and theaters that are lacking any type of human presence.

While I am in love with her photos, I am unfortunately not so in love with the price. Short of winning the lotto, I am not sure how I am going to ever get one of these gems into my apartment. Not to mention, these photos are HUGE….to the point that I don’t even think I have a wall large enough for one. The cost for a 10×20 foot photo of hers can go for between $35,000 and $45,000.

But, don’t despair, I believe I have found a viable and much more affordable alternative, on Etsy, no less.  So below, I have a test. Three of  these images are from Candida Höfer and two are not. Two of the images below are from the Etsy artist, Mable Tan, and are a much more reasonable price of $215 and $90. See if you can guess which photos are which!

Biblioteca dei Girolamini Napoli

Palacio Nacional de Mafra

Trianon Palace, Chateau Versailles, Paris

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, Paris

Palazzo Corsini, Firenze

Ok, so could you guess the three photos by Candida Höfer and which two photos were by fellow Etsy artist, Mable Tan? You couldn’t? Photo 3 (Trianon Palace, Chateau Versailles, Paris) and Photo 4 (Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, Paris) are by Mable Tan. I think both photos are lovely and capture a similar beauty and detail as Hofer’s photos. While Mable Tan’s Photos do not measure 20 feet, they are still a very good size of 16×20 inches for the Hall of Mirrors and 20×32 inches for the Trianon Palace photo.

You can check out Mable Tan’s Etsy shop here for all her amazing photos. If you have $35,000 burning a hole in your pocket…or you just want to see some absolutely stunning photography, you can check out Candida Höfer’s work over on Artnet, which is where all these photos from her can be found.

– Stephanie,

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A little wedding planning advice, and some great vendors in NYC

Sunset over the Hudson

So, here is my advice on planning a wedding. I am certainly no expert, I have only been married once. I’ve been to a ton of weddings, I’ve been around wedding planning couples (both crazy and sane), but these are just my opinions. Read on, or don’t, take it or leave it, but hopefully I can offer a piece of advice that might help you out.

1. Planning a wedding should not be stressful. Paying for it might be, but other than that this is supposed to be FUN. (Okay, seating is stressful. I can’t lie.)

2. You’re a bride, that does not entitle you to be mean, critical or disrespectful of other people’s time, feelings or budget. Shows like Bridezilla’s make me cringe. Are these women for real? and someone choose them? to be with FOREVER?! I hope I was a good bride during my engagement. Be nice. works for life, works for wedding planning.

3. Choose excellent vendors. This is critical in having a smooth event. Take recommendations when you can. Our vendors were amazing and we were very, very lucky. I am listing them here because we loved them. If you live in NY maybe you’d like to consider them.

Venue: The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers.

Photographer: Julia Newman – she’s so cool, so nice, and an extremely talented photographer.

Videographer: Reaching Roots Studio. We didn’t want a video since we’re a little more low-key but decided at the last minute we would want to see all the stuff you miss on the big day. Nate is amazing. Unless you’ve always wanted to be a movie star – we didn’t – it seems intimidating. Nate captures everything without being at all intrusive. We LOVE our wedding video. It is not at all the traditional kind of video and people actually enjoyed watching it. Unless they lied to us. I think they did like it though. It might have been that we have KISS as one of the background songs. Who knows?!

Florist: Botanical Design. Brian is a really good guy that wants you to be happy with your flowers. He is also conscious of your budget and really does his best to come up with exactly what you want, and more!

4. Take a picture with your grandma. If you’re lucky enough to still have her, make sure you get a picture of the two of you together. Its the best thing you can do for her that day, and you’ll treasure the picture forever.

5. Don’t forget to step aside with your new hubby or wife and look around and enjoy a moment together in a super fast, crazy day.

6. Eat. No, really, eat. Its a long day and you’re paying a lot of money for that food.

I’m sure there is more, but who needs more than 6 pieces of advice from a non-expert? So, I’ll wrap this up by sharing the best two pieces of advice I was given during my engagement:

From my sister, “If they want to say hello to you, tell them to meet you on the dance floor!”

And from my mother, “Remember, a wedding is only about a day, a marriage is for a lifetime.”

– Caroline,

The Bride and Groom

The Dress

The Table

The Cake

The Flowers

The Bar

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Pieter Hugo – the Permanent Error photography exhibit at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York

Yakubu Al Hasan from Pieter Hugo's Permanent Error series.

Last night was the opening night for Pieter Hugo’s Permanent Error exhibit at the Yossi Milo Gallery. For years now, I have been following his work, since I first saw the series “The Hyena and Other Men” back in 2005. That series deals with the story of men, who in the company of hyenas, pythons and baboons, earn their living doing street performances for crowds and selling traditional medicine.

The exhibit I saw last night, Permanent Error, focuses on the people and landscape of an expansive dump of obsolete technology in Ghana. The area, on the outskirts of a slum known as Agbogbloshie, is referred to by local inhabitants as Sodom and Gomorrah. When Hugo asked the inhabitants what they called the pit where the burning takes place, they repeatedly responded: ‘For this place, we have no name’.

In the photos you can see the terrible conditions, people burning old computers and other technology in order to obtain the valuable components from within. Seeing these photos, the pollution, the back breaking work, really made me think about the cell phones and old computers I have discarded. Many of them end up in places such as Agbogbloshie.

According to Pieter Hugo’s description of this project on his website, “The UN Environment Program has stated that Western countries produce around 50 million tons of digital waste every year. In Europe, only 25 percent of this type of waste is collected and effectively recycled. Much of the rest is piled in containers and shipped to developing countries, supposedly to reduce the digital divide, to create jobs and help people. In reality, the inhabitants of dumps like Agbogbloshie survive largely by burning the electronic devices to extract copper and other metals out of the plastic used in their manufacture. The electronic waste contaminates rivers and lagoons with consequences that are easily imaginable. In 2008 Green Peace took samples of the burnt soil in Agbogbloshie and found high concentrations of lead, mercury, thallium, hydrogen cyanide and PVC.”

Seeing the Permanent Error photos, one can only wonder how much longer we can continue to treat the world and each other in this way.

– Stephanie

Naasra Yeti, Permanent Error

Abdulau Yahaya, Permanent Error

A photo from Pieter Hugo's series, The Hyena and Other Men.

Also from The Hyena and Other Men.

A photo from the Nollywood series, which focuses on characters from Nigeria's film industry.

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