Allure was always the one I was fussy about: I didn't want the new (2010), smaller edition - but I didn't want to pay a fortune for a first edition. Finally after years of intermittent searches I found a second edition of the original large cloth bound book in near perfect condition. And it is large - I'm going to have to buy a bigger coffee table to accommodate it.
The book of 165 black and white images selected by D.V. with her commentary recorded by Christopher Hemphill is quite unnerving to flick through, when you're used to seeing thousands of images a day. Here, some look like photocopies, or are reproduced from paparazzi pictures. How long would 165 images take to scroll through on tumblr - 20 seconds?
The arrival of this book coincided with the arrival of what I've felt as a sea change for me, to do with the internet and blogging - and primarily about imagery. I feel and really hope that it's going to end up being a positive change.
I could never get into tumblr. I always want to know WHO took the picture, WHERE or WHO is it, what's the story behind it? Pinterest is sometimes better for this, but often you click back and back to find the source, only for it to lead you to a random uncredited tumblr post. It infuriates me so much! It's not even totally to do with the issue of crediting, just that scrolling through an endless stream of imagery, even beautiful inspiring imagery ceases to be that...inspiring.
Of course if the original of any one of those images were put in an empty room on a white wall, it would still have an impact, but - as I joked to a friend this week: haven't we finished filing all the photos of Jane Birkin by now?
The way I choose to see it that it was necessary for people, once suddenly exposed to this huge trove of incredible iconic images on the internet, to catalogue and sort them - to make sense of them. But now it feels as if they're being sorted and re-sorted almost mindlessly. It's like gorging on photos until you overdose. That's how it feels to me anyway, and that's why you won't have seen many external images here - or many images at all lately. I'm obviously re-cleansing my image chakra - ommm.
Imagine Vreeland having to clip out tiny pictures from newspapers that caught her eye and get them blown up bigger for her inspiration board. And many of those enduring images getting re-blogged a million times are from Vreeland's era, or rather reign, at Harper's Bazaar and Vogue.
(Yep, it was a lot easier for me to pull the below picture from Google Images and at a better resolution than its reproduction in Allure. I still had to look at the book for the credit though, as it was nowhere to be found online.)
|Diana Vreeland at Vogue 1966 ©James Karales/Look|
"...it's the suggestion of something else. Of course, nowadays, nothing suggests anything - except advertising. We've all seen far too many pictures. I think the visual road has become over-travelled and over-crowded." She said this in 1980 - pre-internet!
I feel that it's time for the internet to go in the direction of producing things that are new, of value and of genuine beauty and originality. Not that no one is doing that at all, but the general, mainstream direction of the bloggy/inspiration part of the internet has to go that way. I feel it's going to happen soon.