studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer Of ’69

For whatever reason, I just love old objects: books, photographs, toys, clothes and printed ephemera. These objects can help you learn so much about the style and craftsmanship of an era. I wasn’t born until the mid 1970s, so the only way for me to learn about the past, is through the documentation of that time.

As it turns out, I recently came across the super-informative Creative Needlework book, published in 1969. Creative Needlework is more like a historical photo-essay than a book, as it really helped me to better understand the culture and style of the late-sixties. Here’s a sampling of what I learned:

Parents and children liked to dress in the exact same clothes. Apparently, this phenomenon was known as Carbon Copies, as in: The youngster is a carbon copy of his dad. From the photo documentation available, this seems to have gone over much better with girls, as the mom and daughter seem to be enjoying themselves — the guys, not so much. Poor little green vest seems terrified, and little gray vest has lost his inspiration. Oh, I also learned that guys in 1969 wanted to be famous movie directors and enjoyed smoking corncob pipes.

Boys were hot for boys in 1969. I actually feel bad for the women in these photographs, as they are treated like mere window dressing, and couldn’t be the center of attention even if they were oiled-up and dressed in négligées. I learned through these photos that guys enjoy v-neck sweaters, trains and bananas.

In 1969, there was a pandemic of color blindness, as well as hundreds of accidental deaths due to pencil impalement. It wasn’t until 1973, that Richard Nixon enacted the, “Save a life, store your pencils tip-down” campaign. That sure was a smart campaign.

Global warming and variations in temperature peaked in 1969. At one point, conditions became so bad, that the temperature between ground level and five-feet high would produce averages of 80 degrees Fahrenheit; however, the air currents above five-feet dramatically cooled to approximately 36 degrees Fahrenheit. It appears even sculptures were affected by this freak occurrence.

Finally, I was shocked to find that only white children existed in 1969. I felt that this had to be an oversight, but no commercial photography could be located to prove otherwise. Of the white people that did exist, it seems that only parents of shy, uncomfortable and slightly awkward children, allowed their offspring to be filmed by strangers.

Wow, 1969 seemed pretty awful. I’m just glad I was alive for the 80’s — now that I would have hated to miss.

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