What am I Looking For?
Out of ideas for a present for a friend, I decided on a print from the National Portrait Gallery.
I could have spent forever trawling the huge collection from the National Portrait Gallery's web site — so many portraits are available for printing using their 'award-wining Portrait Printer system' in which portrait images are printed on demand 'in their original proportions within a white border on a selection of standard paper sizes or canvas.'
But it's the devil of a job locating what you're looking for if you're not sure what you're looking for in the first place.
After considering several by Angus McBean, I went for the photograph you can see above of Evelyn Waugh by (Madame) Yevonde Middleton. My friend is a fan of the City look, though I'm not sure what he thinks about having Evelyn Waugh hanging on his wall. The photo has it all though — pinstripe suit, brolly, bowler hat and cigar.
I was rather taken by a couple more of Madame Levonde's photos — the one below of actress Joan Maude (1932) from Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death in particular. I'm considering them as further gifts.
The photograph of Mrs Edward Meyer as Medusa (below) is quite breathtaking — remember this is 1935.
Mesmerising — I look at it and all the world is a rhyme.
On the subject of the National Portrait Gallery, they've been exhibiting the work of William Eggleston (pictured below in a very nice sweater and jacket combo) since July, and — apologies for not mentioning sooner — it finishes at the end of the week.
Do hurry along if you haven't visited.
Yevonde was a pioneer of colour photography, using an early British process called Vivex, where the image was built up from three exposures in each primary colour. Similarly, William used a special colouring technique called dye-transfer (described in the video below). Both processes, despite the glorious end results, are now sadly defunct.