Wednesday, April 23, 2008


liebemarlene vintage posted some beautiful early-40s snapshots (from the stern, lush Charles Cushman collection) of some seriously alabaster bathing beauties on Lake Michigan.

Here is an excerpt from a excellent essay on Cushman by Indiana University professor Eric Sandweiss. (Please explore the site. The breadth and depth of Cushman's work -- well, read what the professional has to say.)

For thirty years, Charles Cushman documented a dying landscape in living color.

Packing his car with camera, lenses, and film, his tripod, his notebooks and—often as not—his first wife, Jean (who was not, to judge from the expression on her face in Cushman's occasional carside portraits, always a happy traveling companion), this extraordinary amateur photographer pursued a life on the road, and in the streets, of mid-twentieth-century America. Whatever its effect upon his marriage, Cushman's peripatetic compulsion did result in a remarkable gift to future historians, photography lovers, and students of Americana. For here, framed through the lens of his Contax IIA camera, saturated in almost embarrassingly vivid colors, springs to life a world that we had long since resigned ourselves to viewing only in shades of gray. The America that we thought we knew, whether through the self-conscious artistic starkness of the images of Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans or through the polished middle-brow poses of Look and Life, is revealed as being but the shadow of a world no less full and tangible than our own. In Cushman's work the past becomes, for an instant, impossibly present.

My favorite photo:

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