52 Authors: Week 17 - Christopher Derrick

A Young Girl in Red, 1913

There are several sets of photos similar to this one that I've seen here and there on the net, color photos taken at a time when color photography was almost unknown. I think they're fascinating, and very valuable, because early photography, in ironic contradiction of what was thought to be its startling realism, has given us a very distorted mental image of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Even now, I suspect too many people think that everything in the 1950s looked like a faded Kodacolor print. At any rate a lot of movie-makers seem to think it's appropriate to use those tones for that period. Anyway: 1913: Christina in Red.


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That's beautiful.


Its almost impossible to imagine that people looked like that in 1913

Thanks to photography.

And there was me thinking people looked like this in 1913.

I frequently look like that, Paul, even over 100 years later--or at least I feel like I look like that.


I thought people in 1913 looked all stiff and formal all the time

Exactly. Moreover, everything including the people was gray or sepia.

Paul's modernist picture is a good representation of my inner life, so perhaps there was something to that stuff after all.

Paul's link: hehehe.

The photo of the young girl in read is so beautiful.

Avant-garde art never much impressed me when I just happened upon it in museums, but having to look at it more closely in order to translate art catalogues has given me some appreciation of it. As long as people don't disdain other approaches for not being Modernist (with that strange absolutising intolerance that self-proclaimed open-mindedness seems to breed) it has a lot to be said for it. The artists were often skilled and sensitive individuals responding to the pressures of modern life and culture with genuine human feeling, although often without the benefit of the antidote to modern poisons that the Church provides.

I love the 'modern art' of 1900-1950 or so.

I don't really have a categorical opinion one way or the other. Some I like, some I don't. I doubt if I'm ever going to be able to say anything more than "mildly interesting" about Jackson Pollock, although I find now that when I see his and similar work it provokes a nostalgic feeling.

I'm reading some essays about Maritain and art. He was pretty sympathetic, as was Raissa, from what I read in her memoirs. I'm pretty moved by things like Picasso's Guernica and Van Gogh' Starry Night and Munch's The Scream.

I've seen some of that in Maritain, too, although I haven't read that much of him.

Van Gogh and Munch aren't the kind of thing Paul was talking about, but a lot of Picasso is. I remember many years ago a friend who had seen Guernica "live" saying that it really was very moving.

Back to the girl in red--my friend Suzanne's small daughter came across a B&W movie one day and asked S. about it. Her mom said, "When I was a little girl, all the shows were in B&W like that. There was no color TV." Several months later, Suzanne was telling Carrie about something that had happened when she was young, and Carrie said, "Was that back when everything was B&W?"

I wonder what it was like the day that everything changed to color. ;-) Can you image just standing there and everything suddenly wakes up--like standing outside in the dawn, I guess.


I remember the first time I ever saw color tv. It was at my uncle's house when I was about 4 years old. It was the 10 o'clock p.m. weather forecast on the local tv station. I was really thrilled. We didn't have color tv for years after that--not until well into the 70s, I think.

That day I was woken by banging I sat drinking tea and first it was dark on the lawn and then it suddenly all became illuminated. What a miracle, the daily eruption of light into darkness!

Which I meantersay I didn't even see the Wizard of Oz change from black and white to color until I was in college.

Grumpy, Were the birds singing. Around here, the birdsong breaks with the dawn, so that just before the twilight, it's completely silent, and the the sound begins to slowly build until it's downright rackety.


For us it is usually the neighbor driving off to work, then the birds, then the light.

I'm the neighbor driving off to work.


I actually have slightly bad associations with dawn, stemming from times in my college/bohemian days when I stayed up all night. When the sun came up I'd be really tired and it seemed depressing. Nowadays if I'm awake when the sun is coming up it's because I have to be somewhere early, and I don't have time to notice it.

So sad.

I avoid the dawn as much as possible.

This up-at-dawn thing reminds me a bit of the romantic outlook on life that was discussed in the L'Engle thread. I don't think farmers, for instance, would mind at all missing out on seeing the dawn every morning. ;-)

It was the way a dark world was suddenly replaced by an illuminated world

The ancients were sufficiently impressed by that to worship the sun and many of them were farmers.

There are birds out there but Im not susceptible to sounds. I notice their return in spring but not the sounds they make

There is a teenager who is moved to the country as part of witness protection and he cant bear all the strange noises and moves back to Baltimore. I can identify with that

He is killed

I forgot to write in The Wire

I recognized that story without you mentioning The Wire. A very sad moment in s series that had many of them.

I guess I was I my teens when I first saw color tv. I remember that it looked pretty crummy. This would have been mid-'60s. I also didn't see the color change in Wizard of Oz till I was grown, and remember thinking that now some of the stuff I'd heard about it made sense.

There's a funny Calvin & Hobbes strip where Calvin's father explains the time the world changed from b&w to color


If you were here and awake in the mornings, you would hear the birds. They are quite loud.

When we lived in Memphis, there was a street that ended across the street from my driveway, so there were frequently people playing REALLY LOUD music sitting in front of the house, waiting to make a turn into the other street. And there was quite a bit of traffic, even though it was a small street, because we lived about 500 yards from the train tracks and there was a tunnel a bit further down the street that people use to avoid the train and they would roar down our street to get to it. And then the train was noisy, too.

My 7 year old granddaughter moved to Mississippi with us and after a couple of months, she went to spend the night with her mother in our old house. "What was it like to sleep in the city again?" "Oh it was great, it was so quiet!"


Here is the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

Now you point iy out to me I can hear the birds

4:27?! My sympathy.

Thanks, Robert. I remembered that the father's explanation was pretty convoluted, but it's even more so. Calvin and Hobbes is the very best comic strip that's ever been.

That is great, Robert.


I think the teaser is the best part of the cartoon. :)

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