I’m now officially a student at Leeds College of Art! I hope to share more with you as I progress through the year, but take a peak at what I’ve got up to so far…
This weekend marks 100 years since the woman, the legend, the heroine and the mother of Moomins first graced this Earth. Tove Jansson was born on August 9th in 1914 and lived through wars and hardships like no other; using art and literature as a tool to not only express her feelings but to communicate them, Jansson illustrated and wrote the words and pictures that we cherish today in languages all over the world. She transformed the way in which storytelling is used in that she gave it a purpose greater than entertaining young children or reciting a tale of old. She told of the adventures of fantastical beasts and juxtaposed this whimsical narrative with raw, cautionary tales of suffering, loss, war and pain. Her books were not and are not children’s books, her books are for everyone and are just as relevant in today’s society as they were when she first put pen to paper in her native language of Swedish.
Tove may be renowned for her presence as the Moomin mother, but within her lifetime she achieved so much and longed to be remembered for something other than her little trolls. She wrote. She painted. She loved. She travelled. She was the Sculptor’s daughter, she was Ham’s little girl. She was a caring sister and a pen pall to friends over oceans. She was a pioneer.
I admire and appreciate this woman for her independence, for her way of living, for her creations and for her input to the world. Tove Jansson is an asset to the world in which we live, a historical figure of feminism and art who will never fade.
Tove lived in solidarity on an island of her own just off the gulf of Finland. She built her house herself and reflected her life here in the stories of the Moomins and within her novel ‘The Summer Book’.
Though the Moomins’ stage productions were short-lived and less well-received than the original books, Jansson put her love for these creatures and her dedication to work into the theatrical performance.
In Tove’s letters she often referred to painting as her passion, whilst writing and drawing became ‘work’. She even began to hate the superstar she had created in Moomin for the strain he brought to her own life.
Tove came from a family of creative wonders, here she is seen seated next to her brother Lars who took over Tove’s Moomin work as a comic artist for ‘Garm’.
And Tove loved. She loved men and women and people and monsters and trolls and family and friends and nature. She loved and she was loved in return.
Thank you, Tove Jansson. Thank you for living, for existing and for inspiring.
Be still, my Moomin heart!
Roll up, roll up, all you fellow collectors, vintage chicks and retro swingers. There’s a little somethin’ I’d like to talk to you about. My current obsession (other than the fabulous Morrissey or Jeff Buckley) is classic cameras. Well, it’s not so very current as the piles of metallic bodies have been growing since 2011, but it’s something I’d like to share and let you in on some tips with, what with it being such a trend in the current vintage climate.
(Above – Your’s truly with the current collection, featuring a Polaroid 330)
I bought my first film camera, the Miranda MS-1 Super from a small car boot sale in Berwick – upon – Tweed for around £30. She was beautiful and it was love at first sight. I really didn’t know a lot about photography or cameras at the time (I took photos on a Fujifilm bridge camera with the battery held on with an old hair bobble because the hinge had been melted following a battery explosion), but it seemed like a natural decision. I wanted to know more and I wanted to explore visual discourse from a different direction to just pen and paper. I don’t think she was especially a bargain, but I was lucky that she was in such a good condition as I didn’t have a clue what I was looking at when I bought her! I don’t think you really need to know a lot about cameras to collect them, but if you’re wanting to use them, or in turn to sell them on, then I’d make sure you read up on some basics about the internal workings, rare camera makes and how NOT TO BE RIPPED OFF!
(Above – 1930’s AGFA Bilindar Art Deco Folding Camera)
I’ve got about 90 cameras to date, ranging from 50p Kodak Instamatics from carboot sales around Yorkshire to classic Russian TLR’s donated from friends and family. My favourites include a vest pocket Kodak ball-bearing shutter from 1907 which belonged to my granddad previously; and a Lomo Lubitel 166 bought from Wetherby car boot sale for £12 (A BARGAIN IF I’VE EVER SEEN ONE).
Carboots are definitely the place to be. Charity shops and junk shops are also great hunting ground, but watch out, people are pricing these bad boys up. Ebay is always a super star, but for me, I prefer to actually touch the camera before making a decision rather than be disappointed when it’s not what I thought it would be.
Oh, that’s another thing. LOMOGRAPHY. If you’ve not heard of them before, they’re a company making NEW retro-chic cameras, and boy are they dreamy! They’re a great alternative for those wanting to use film but not a rusty body, or for those just wanting to join the trendilicous hype… Here’s their classic Diana:
There are some super sweet ideas for displaying cameras out there and some really lovely shooters about – check out some of these Pinteresting beauties!
Pretty and interesting little pieces of history.