Designer Desire: Tamara de Lempicka

Mosaic of Tamara de Lempicka artworks | H is for Home

Tamara de Lempicka has been a favourite artist of ours for years. Her work isn’t from our usual era – mid century modern – it’s straight out of the Art Deco and Jazz age.

de Lempicka’s work depicts her glamorous life and that of the time in which she lived. She came from a wealthy Polish family and lived a bohemian life, socialising with aristocrats and Hollywood film stars. She married a baron, had affairs with both men and women and travelled extensively, fleeing the Russian Revolution and then World War II.

Her painting style developed and changed throughout her career however, it’s her work from the 20s & 30s that’s our favourite. Portraits of fashionable flappers, open-topped sports cars, cubist skyscrapers. Her execution of  fabric – the folds, the ruffles, the shadows – is outstanding!

A range of affordable prints and other decorative objects using her artworks  can be found online. There are also lots of books about her paintings and her long and fascinating life.

Tamara de Lempicka painting a portrait of her first husband Tadeusz Lempicki, c.1928credit

Additional image credits:

Pinterest | Wikiart

Bevy of beauties!

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6 vintage prints of beautiful girls

Justin brought home not one, not two, but six girls last week!

vintage print of a dark-haired beauty

They truly are a bevy of beauties…

vintage print of a blonde, pony-tailed beauty

…blondes, brunettes and a rather gorgeous redhead.

vintage print of a auburn beauty

They date from the 1950s – very early Mad Men – Betty Draper and Joan Holloway spring to mind.

detail from a vintage print showing the artist's signature

We can’t make out the artist’s signature – any ideas out there?

detail from a vintage print of a auburn beauty

Oh, she’s here again – close up this time. You can stop photographing her now, Justin!

6 vintage prints of beautiful girls

They’ll look good hanging on the wall in our antiques centre space so that’s where they’re heading first, but we’re happy to post if your interested in buying them.

Friday Folks – Paul Floyd Blake

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Self portrait by Paul Floyd Blake

On today’s ‘Friday Folks’ we’re featuring photographer Paul Floyd Blake.

Paul, who lives in the neighbouring town of Hebden Bridge, is an inspiration to anyone wishing to change careers or direction in life. During his forties, he went from laundry worker to award winning photographer. Dedication, enthusiasm and of course talent all played their part.

The following images are taken from his series of photographs featuring talented young athletes aiming for Olympic glory at London 2012. The first photograph featured actually won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Paul Floyd Blake and I am a freelance photographer. I shoot commercially as a way to earn enough to finance my own creative projects – also to contribute towards keeping our heads above water of course!

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How did you get into the business?
I first experienced the magic of photography at the age of thirteen.

We were not well off as a family and had only visited the coast (Southend) on a couple of occasions and just for the day. When my mother told my two brothers, two sisters and me we were going to Ramsgate in Kent for two whole weeks, our excitement was immeasurable. It was one of those long hot summers, we had a blissful time and my mum and dad even got on for the duration of the holiday!

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One evening I took a photograph as the sun went down over Ramsgate Harbour. When we were back in grimy London and back at school this photograph allowed us to relive the intense joy and warmth of that fortnight.

My mum asked me recently how I ended up becoming a photographer and I told her that story. She said, “Naaaah!!! Ya bruver recons he took that picture.”

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Anyway, whoever took the photograph it was still the image that made me aware of photography.

I did not get my own camera until I was about 21 and then only used it to take images on holidays and later of the kids as they grew up. I did however buy magazines like Amateur Photographer picking up tips on exposure composition and the use of colour. After years of driving a laundry delivery van in London we moved to Yorkshire and my partner Leila encouraged me to go to college to study photography so I could do something I loved rather than getting a transfer to a laundry in Bradford. I never looked back.

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Who or what inspires you?
I was forty when I eventually took up photography professionally.

At college I felt that I had an advantage over the other younger students because I had worked all my life and now for the first time was really hungry to learn but also had the experience of life to draw on and use in my photography. Being a photographer you are always on the look out for things to inspire you. You tend to be looking for the beautiful the strange or absurd, and when you look you tend to see it. So the short answer is that everything is inspirational.

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Photographers that inspire me:
Tom Wood
– beautiful photographs of people and of Liverpool that do not leer or patronize. My favorite book of his work is All Zones Off Peak.
Rineke Dijkstra for her fantastic portraits of adolescent teenagers to blood spattered bullfighters. My favorite book of her’s is Portraits

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What has been your greatest success?
After failing at school and having such low expectations of myself, just being a photographer feels like a great success, but in 2009 I won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and that really changed a lot of things in my favor. Having said that, it was just one image and there is a certain amount of luck involved in winning a competition like that. The project that has given me most satisfaction was Changing Faces of Yorkshire. This was my first solo exhibition and involved photographing all different communities that make up Yorkshire. It brought people from many different backgrounds together and the opening night was a wonderful mix of people national dishes and alcohol. I recommend Serbian brandy!

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Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
Try not to procrastinate. I have found that I learn from my photographs so I don’t spend too much time developing an idea in my head. I go out and shoot and then allow the ideas to flow develop from there.
Photograph things that are close to you, be natural when you deal with people and then your uniqueness will come out in your photographs.

You can see more examples of Paul’s work on his website.

Paul kindly allowed us to use his photographs for this feature.

Unauthorised reproduction is strictly prohibited.