Though actresses have to worry about the incredibly high quality of HD film picking up their every imperfection these days, the ladies of film had an entirely different problem in the 1920s. Because of the price, Orthochromatic film stock was the standard during the birth of film but was rather insensitive to red and yellow light on the spectrum. The processes used to correct this insensitivity to red and yellow in post-production would make it oversensitive to blue and violet. Make-up wise, this means that actors and actresses had to be made up with highly exaggerated and contradictory colors in order to look natural on film. Hence the hooker face.
Then photos like this come along and remind me that the Moulin Rouge has existed long before Ewan McGregor became a penniless sitar player.
Co-founded in 1889 by Charles Zidler and Joseph Oller, these 100-year-old-plus photos depict my favourite part of Moulin Rouge’s legacy: the Garden. Where else in Paris could you get away with fashioning a giant red windmill and gargantuan elephant?
I love the London Underground. Though the insanity of rush hour could rustle anyone’s feathers, the Underground (or ‘Tube’) does a damn good job of keeping us Londoners entertained. Having travelled (sometimes begrudgingly) via the Metropolitan and Central line for the majority of the last 23 years, I have experienced and taken part in dance-offs, the sweet silence of morning commutes, giggled at the all-night train partiers of New Years, received marriage proposals, seen more than my fair share of late-night puking, assisted lost tourists, and relentlessly people-watched my way in and out of Central London.
I have yet to spot a belly dancer in full costume, but this throwback photo from 1968 has definitely put it on the bucket list.
Like a lot of the Great British High Street, HMV are having a few dog days at the moment. While their future may be uncertain, HMV – the Oxford Street branch in particular – will forever have a piece of my heart. When I was younger, I would peruse the sparkly and bustling aisles of CDs after spending Saturdays in theatre school. I would imagine that my face would one day replace the CD covers of Lenny Kravitz, No Doubt, Alison Krauss, and Missy Elliott (all stars that the store introduced me to). While that dream may no longer be a likelihood, these photos of HMV Oxford Street in the 1950s will forever encapsulate that fragment of wonderment and importance for me.