Good Web Guide: Guest Editor

Chris chooses his six favourite sites:

Shorpy - A showcase for historic images from America’s Library of Congress (LoC). So far, so meh. What sets Shorpy apart is that the LoC images are VERY VERY high resolution, and Shorpy serves up a beautful hi-res slice of time onto your plate every single day. If you need to see the sweat on the faces of your ancestors, Shorpy comes through for you. Like Shorpy says, always something interesting

Retrofuturs - Imagine a second-hand book-shop full of vintage Penguin paperbacks, run by the cast of Star Wars. Voila Retrofuturs, the divine design of Stephane Missa-Bidal, who manages to create inspirational images with the same frequency that some of us have a shower. Stephane crashes a spaceship into her book of fonts and proclaims it genius and so do I. The Retronaut’s Graphic Designer of choice.

Room 26 - Yale’s cabinet of curiosities. Enough said. What, you want more? Err…ok, so you have Yale’s Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts and Yales’s Curator of Poetry for American Literature picking up pieces from the depths of their collections and saying “Well, would you look at that?!”. “That” including an advert for “Dr Carver’s High Diving Horse”, portraits of Dick Griffith, Bull-Rider (a bull-rider? Y’know, a guy who rides bulls), the Pocket Dictionary of Sabotage, and a letter from Mark Twain to Walt Whitman on his 70th birthday.

Lady Crafthole - Roundography. Like photography but round. Lady Crafthole aka Lucy Martin is the expert in capturing planets and wormholes (that’s the two types of roundographs. Keep up) The great thing about Lady Crafthole’s pictures is that (like all the best art) they look almost nothing like reality. Or as she puts it: “Far from simply setting down moments as we see them, photography has the power to reveal the ordinary world in ways never possible before”. She’s right. A photographer of spectacular talent.

Awkward Family Photos - Its strapline is “Spreading the awkwardness” and as a mirror to your and my deepest fears, it is unparalleled. Seriously, if you need me to explain the appeal of an awkward family photo, then its not for you. Just don’t go there. These are not the droids you’re looking for. Move along. Move along.

The Echo Park Time-travel Mart - Imagine a Millets for Time-Lords. No, seriously, imagine a Millets for Time-Lords. So we’re talking dinosaur eggs, chain-mail, klaxons, anti-barbarian repellant, Roman centurion helmets, mammoth chunks and viking oderant. I wouldn’t shop anywhere else. This is a real shop, it is also the front for the 826 charity’s one-on-one creative writing coaching for kids in L.A. 826 was set up by Dave Eggars, and does great work. But hey, more to the point, they sell time-machine fuel, and I really have to be some-when…

8 June 2010