Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I is for Images

Jenny Matlock

I intended to write about children's book illustrators for my Alphabe-Thursday "I" post. But yesterday while exploring a nearby antiquities market, I was inspired by the intriguing images I found there to go in another direction....

As I looked through old art magazines, mostly from the 70's & 80's, I began to wonder what the images we publicly put forward communicate about our country at any given period of time?

These color images came from MeiShu 美术 25 January 1978 issue.
The artists' names are included on the print.

I also found some delightful copies of ink block (or woodblock) prints. Incidentally, this form of art, requiring a block of wood to be chiseled in relief mosaic, originated in China. The images are clean and, in general, joyful. Each carefully crafted with intention. As you examine them, see if you can interpret the impression and information, the print was intended to give.

The above prints came from a lovely soft bound book called HeiBaiMuKeJi 黑白木刻 (1 May, 1975, ShangHai). Again, the artists' names are included on the print.

BanHuaYiShu Vol 12, 1983

Aren't they incredible?! As I was leaving, I inquired off-hand whether the shop owner had any old photos.... He did, and I found some sweet pictures that seemed to date from the 1960's. While flipping through the remains of old photo albums and scanning stacks of miscellaneous images, I felt curious about the lives and personalities of the faces I saw before me. What were their hopes and dreams, their joys and sorrows, how did everything turn out for them? In innocence or infamy? Or events inconceivable to my western culture and thought. The intricacies of each life story being so precious and yet, in this case, hidden to me.

Quite unconsciously, I began to wonder what will happen to the images I am capturing and cherishing today? Will they some day end up in a dusty, old shop full of comic books and other ephemera, with a totally unconnected individual imagining what our lives were like? Or will they find a home in the hearts of future generations that will deem them and our life stories worth treasuring.

Please visit Jenny Matlock at on my tangent... to check out these insightful "I" posts.


  1. Those prints are just gorgeous. I always love reading your posts. I really always learn something new.

  2. Wow, you found a lot of I's. Great post.

  3. Such an interesting post for I. I've always been amazed at wood block prints. The detail in the carving must have taken an incredible amount of time and patience. And I too always wonder about the stories of people in old photos that I find in antique shops. They can be so intriguing. I hope my boxes of photos don't end up in a junk shop some day :) Kathy

  4. Steph - stellar job on "I"! The images were as interesting as they were beautiful, but most of all I liked the thought-provoking question with which you ended the post. I wonder the exact same thing.

  5. Wow..those are beautiful pictures/prints/art pieces. When I look at old pictures, I wonder the same..

    Beautiful sentiment, and wonderful "I" post, Steph!

  6. I wonder the same thing about all the old images that I love. It's so sad to see old images being sold in flea markets and antique stores. I love looking at them and often wonder why no family members wanted them.

  7. VERY sweet family you've got there...xo,

  8. Interesting!~ You are very creative and witty to come up with such heartfelt insight!

  9. This is such an amazing post. Have been some time since I have see those paintings.I do collect some Chinese Brush Paintings too.
    Oh, in case you are wondering, I am Chinese, from Malaysia ,
    and am an American with home in California but currently living in Malaysia and Korea. lol My family and I do get around.

    Happy Thursday!

    Did you know that I am now hosting a new meme? Find out more Blog of the Week Please join us for the WEEKEND FUNNIES. Week #2 is this Friday to Sunday (March 19-21). See you there? hugs shakira Oscar Wilde-The IRISH Gentleman ART OF GENEROSITY


  10. Beautiful prints! And those photos...I, too, always wonder about the people I see in old photos. What became of their lives, what were their dreams, why that picture was being taken at that moment. And I wonder if one day someone will wonder the same thing about me...

  11. What a wonderfully interesting and intriguing I post!

    I really enjoyed perusing the diverse images you shared with us!


  12. I too love to browse through old shops and look at vintage art. I even like to make up stories about the photos or artwork that I see. You have a wonderful opportunity to see very different types of art, thank you for sharing your afternnon trip!

  13. What a treasures you found! ANd the picture of your family look so good..... Thank you for sharing this with us.

  14. I have the same question ... what will happen to the images i take today ... what will happen to the scrapbook pages ... will they end up in the dustbin??? or maybe and antique shop as ephemra???

  15. Those are amazing images and a great way of looking at the letter "I" Thanks for stopping by today..
    Have a great day..

  16. Ah i have just been marrying off my baby! LOL

    so this post with all its lovely images and your deep inquiry about what will happen to a wonderful collision of posts and events!

  17. The woodblock prints are lovely! I really like the image of the Mama sewing while her babies sleep.

  18. I love old images and they really do tell a story about the times they were taken in.....

  19. interesting find, I always thought art is represents more our history and just words

    thanks for your visit

  20. Beautiful art! And I also think about the families and people in vintage photos found in antique shops...who are they? where are their families now? Why are the photos not with their descendents...

    Blessings & Aloha!
    (Our son and his buddies left yesterday to drive back to KY for college. We had so much fun seeing them and they were able to volunteer at the youth services at church. ...but now, I am catching up on wonderful blog reading before the work week starts again... thank you so much for stopping by, your sweet comments and I am happy that you enjoy the artwork that I do..)

  21. Such a thoughtful post.... I thought the images were all lovely, and I do wonder, sometimes, where our own images will end up.

  22. Thank you for sharing. I was away for a couple of day and am late in checking in. Lovely post. I have a daughter that is an artist/illustrator. She has done some beautiful prints that I am very proud of and hope one day someone will look at them years from now and think as your did when you saw these images.


Thank you for your comments. They help me feel that I am some how connected out here in Blogland and not just writing to the air.


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