Late April newsletter

Dear friends
It’s Spring in the northern hemisphere, and the sky is blue. Perfect for a day at the beach, but no-one’s going anywhere like that for obvious reasons.

Justin Burns has been researching the graphic language of the UK seaside for a PhD, and he’s been kind enough to share his materials and thoughts with us. Over the next month or so we’ll be publishing several blog posts by Justin on different aspects of type, design, advertising and other visual culture associated with seaside resorts.

Read ‘Resorting to type’ on the Eye blog; Justin’s next piece will be about posters.

See also ‘Where do ideas come from?’ on the Eye blog where Andy Martin looks at Claes Oldenburg’s mischievous book Notes in Hand

Wim Wenders, breakfast in a coffee shop, New York, early 1970s.

The new Photo Critique is about the resurrection of a famous photography brand – Polaroid. In ‘Instant object of desire’ Rick Poynor writes, ‘The limited dimensions of a Polaroid are fundamental to its appeal … The smallness acts as a condenser, supercharging the surface area, while the permanent frame intensifies the sense of an exquisite moment caught and held.’

We have published several articles about Polaroids over the years, including Adrian Shaughnessy’s ‘Instant Tarkovsky’ in Eye 60 and Ed Park’s ‘Instant gratification’ in Eye 96.

Identity design for the Mermaid Oyster Bar (2010) and Mermaid Inn (2003). Design: Louise Fili and Chad Roberts. Illustrations: Anthony Russo. When the Oyster Bar sibling opened seven years after the Mermaid Inn, the mermaid image was flipped and a pearl choker added around her neck. See ‘Reputations: Louise Fili’ in Eye 87.

Every day during the lockdown I’ve been selecting an item from the Eye Archive, including pieces such as ‘Reputations: Louise Fili’ in Eye 87, ‘Reputations: Kathy Ryan’ in Eye 73, ‘Big subject, little pictures’ in Eye 44 and ‘I don’t use a Mac but I know a man who can’ in Eye 13. 

I write these words with the springtime sun pouring in through the windows of my south London home and hardly any background noise – no arguments, road traffic noise or regular air traffic we usually hear, just birdsong, muffled chatter and the occasional buzz of a helicopter heading for the hospital. It’s a sobering reminder that some people are very much worse off than we are, and how grateful we all are to anyone who is part of the solution to the current crisis.

Be seeing you

John Walters, editor

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