For a century and a half, The New York Times has been earnestly—and hilariously—defining the evolving language of cities.
We marveled at the way these expressions—the ones we understood, anyway—captured the spirit of the era in which they were defined. It makes sense, for instance, that the Times defined acid ("a slang term for the drug LSD") in 1970, grunt ("a slang word for an infantryman") during the Vietnam War, diss ("a slang term for a perceived act of disrespect") in 1994, and macking ("a slang term for making out") in 1999.[more inside]
Craigslist Mirrors (SLTumblr)
A collection of pictures of mailboxes in the western US - part of the Fife Collection of Western U.S. Vernacular Architecture, which also includes quilts, murals, tree bark graffiti, fences, gravestones, and festivals, and other examples of folklife and material culture visually recorded by folklorists Austin and Alta Fife. [more inside]
Fileteado Porteño: whimsical, colorful, vernacular decorative graphics from Buenos Aires, Argentina. [more inside]
"When I look for images, I look for something that makes you almost uncomfortable in your own skin—something that makes you observe more intently," Foster says. "That's when I know I have something that's more than just a snapshot." John Foster is a graphic design and communications professional by day, and joined by his wife as collectors of "vernacular photographs" by night. Their collected photographs have been featured at art galleries and museums, and John has worked with others to curate outsider art shows. If that wasn't enough, his collections extend beyond found photos, as previsusly featured on the blue (and as inspiration for another post).
The Trouble With The View From Above. James C. Scott at Cato Unbound has an interesting essay on what we gain - and what we lose - when we trade localized, vernacular categories for the uniform, official categories of a state. His ideas are fleshed out more in his book, Seeing Like A State. Economist Donald Boudreax responds. Brad DeLong and Timothy Lee have forthcoming responses.
Not necessarily “naïve”; more like “vernacular.” Jules Vernacular posts dozens of photos of vernacular or unschooled signage on French buildings (in the site’s punning slogan, lettres œuvrières et incongruités typographiques). As ever, it’s amazing that this typography, most of it hand-drawn, hasn’t been wiped out by progress and regularized into Arial (or the Arial of 2010, Papyrus). [more inside]
Stateside, Wild Youth, Motor Life, Roberta's World, Memento, and Sidewalks. Six collections of found vernacular photographs from reservatory.net. More found photos at Phoundfotographs, Accidental Mysteries, and Other People's Pictures. In the same vein as the better known (and previously posted) Shorpy and Square America.
Hiking, biking, boating, fishing, shooting and more: "The Times of Our Lives." Wonderful scans of vintage photos of the 1950's and 1960's (uh, and 80's) from flickr user aroid. [via]
Roadside Architecture. "I have been passionate about commercial architecture and roadside related things all my life. I grew up in California but New York City has been my home since 1980. I started this website in 2000 simply as a way to organize my own photos. Since then, it has become a bit of an obsession and grown to well over 1,000 pages." flickr. blog. [more inside]
Vernacular Web 2: Two years ago I wrote an article titled "A Vernacular Web", in which I tried to collect, classify and describe the most important elements of the early Web – visual as well as acoustic – and the habits of first Web users, their ideas of harmony and order. I’m talking about everything that became a subject of mockery by the end of the last century when professional designers arrived, everything that fell out of use and turns up every now and again as the elements of “retro” look in site design or in the works of artists exploring the theme of “digital folklore”: the “Under Construction” signs, outer space backgrounds, MIDI-files, collections of animated web graphics and so on.
Please throw this away! Vintage photo collector finds cache of 1950s-era spanking fetish photos. Collection included newspaper clippings about spanking and a letter from a very naughty girl. Most of the images are pretty innocent by modern standards, but at the bottom of the last link some are NSFW. Enjoy!