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Crowds #4: Religion July 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #4: Religion

Beach has so far offered up three crowd photo collections: August 1914, Speaking to Crowds and Crowds as Art. Today he thought he’d move in a little deeper with religious crowds from a small file he’s been building up over the last couple of years. The picture that head’s this post is one of his […]

Crowds #3: Crowds as Art July 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Crowds #3: Crowds as Art

***Dedicated to Andy the Mad Monk*** Beach has previously confessed to a thing about crowd photographs: he has put up posts showing August 1914 madness and orators in front of thousands. However, what if the crowd itself is taken out of its random passions and ordered into a work of art? This was the intuition […]

Crowds #2: Speaking to Crowds June 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #2: Speaking to Crowds

W.B.Yeats once wrote that the most important thing for a ‘man’ was, in his day, no longer a sword but a tongue to speak to the masses. Yeats was living in an age when that was still true. Microphones were allowing the amplification of voices and transport meant that a politician or preacher could travel […]

Horror and Gore in Children’s Histories May 31, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Horror and Gore in Children's Histories

  ***Dedicated to a suffering Little Miss B*** Beachombing’s eldest daughter (4) has recently begun to appreciate her nation’s past. This would be fascinating  in itself. But it has become a haunting replay of Beach’s own childhood because Beach (good historian that he is) saved his own childhood reads and is now sharing them with […]

Self-Immolation Duc-Style May 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Self-Immolation Duc-Style

When Beachcombing first courted Mrs B he used to play elaborate ‘wind-ups’, trying to convince his darling of the impossible. Perhaps his favourite was the time he ‘explained’ how the widow of an Indian immigrant in Britain had decided to burn herself suttee-style on the funeral pyre of her husband, in Parliament Square. There had, […]

Crowds #1: And so it begins… Images from 1914 March 21, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Crowds #1: And so it begins... Images from 1914

  [students in Berlin, off to enlist] Beachcombing has recently become interested in crowd photography: large groups of people, preferably in rather strange or extreme situations. And as part of this ‘project’ he started collecting photographs from perhaps the dizziest month in western history: August 1914. The war is just beginning and young and not […]

Stalin Suffering the Children March 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Stalin Suffering the Children

This image of Uncle Joe with a young girl understandably became famous. It shows the softer side of one of the most prolific murderers of all time: something useful in a society that was based on a cult of said murderer. And interestingly this is not just a chance photographic moment: the kind that make […]

Image: Princip’s Conscience February 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Princip's Conscience

Beach has several things on his conscience. Aged eight he clumsily trod on a frog breaking its back bone; last summer he accidentally killed a baby adder while trying to get it out of the garden; and then there was a very painful split with a girl who deserved better a decade ago, sorry E. […]

The Family that Commits Suicide Together… August 22, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Family that Commits Suicide Together...

***This is an image post, but as the image involves three dead people it is hidden below*** Germans led the suicide stakes in Second-World-War Europe. Whether it be Captain Langsdorff lying on his ensign and blowing his brains out; Rommel deciding to save his family by taking poison; the desperate Leonidas kamikaze pilots; or Himmler […]

Torturing Guy June 21, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Torturing Guy

At present, the Beachcombing family are under assault from a group of teenage toughs who have taken to ringing their bell in the evening and running off into the dark. Of course, the sensible thing would be to ignore the little idiots and hope that their antics don’t wake up the children. But Beachcombing never […]

Maximilian’s Shirt June 3, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Maximilian's Shirt

‘Emperor’ Maximilian was a scion of the Hapsburg dynasty who was parachuted into Mexico (1864) as Imperial Ruler in the Old World’s last concerted attempt to meddle in the Americas. Maximilian was not quite the patsy though that many in Europe and  monarchists of Mexico had hoped. He was one of those men who had […]

Stealing Swords in the Congo April 26, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Stealing Swords in the Congo

  This post is dedicated to Ricardo R. whose father was there in Kinshasa on the day This famous image from the camera of Robert Lebeck is much anthologized as the ‘ African moment’. A gutsy young Congolese has jogged along the limousine of King Baudouin of Belgium and the Belgian Congo as then was. […]

Best of Enemies April 2, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Best of Enemies

Beachcombing is always going on about how he is looking for historic pictures, especially of the lesser known kind. He was most excited then when a correspondent recently opened up a raw and largely unmined vein: what Beachcombing will call ‘the best of enemies picture’.  Foes brought together after the event… Ok three rules. 1) Photographs […]

Image: Murder Inc March 15, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Murder Inc

This picture is taken from David King’s brilliant The Commissar Vanishes (another post, another day) and shows the 228 men and women (this online version is cropped) who ran the prosecutor’s office of the Supreme Soviet. Their task was to break the ideological enemies of the regime, understood not, of course, as enemies of communism, but […]

Image: Napoleon’s Lost Sword February 2, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Image: Napoleon's Lost Sword

  This image is unfortunately not a photograph, but German text-book fodder from the early part of the nineteenth century. Yet it captures perfectly one of the most painful encounters in modern history. 2 September 1870 the French army, goaded foolishly into a war with little Prussia, surrendered at Sedan and the balance of power […]

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