At some point after college, I started casually collecting old magazines. It started with a trip to Magazine Memories in Morton Grove, IL–a warehouse and scouter’s delight–where I found a pristine vintage issue of The New Yorker from the week of July 4, 1954, when my mother was born. It made the perfect, albeit unconventional, 50th birthday present.
When my then-boyfriend/now husband moved just west of Wrigleyville in 2003 (what we then called St. Ben’s, a neighborhood moniker I’ve yet to hear again since then), he was fortunate to live down the street from Yesterday. The old, out-of-place shack overflows with ephemera and seems to sag with the weight of its own stock. But unlike Magazine Memories, it still remains. What a joy to thumb through the inky, torn pages of old newspapers and magazines. And oh, that smell of attic and old books.
It’s where we found our original vintage Lolita poster, among numerous other treasures. Over the years, I amassed a healthy stack of Vogues and Bazaars from the 50s and 60s. I’m usually struck first by the covers, many by Avedon and Penn and other legends. It’s amazing how progressive many of them seem now, in our era of screaming cover lines and bland celebrities with blank looks. (If only magazines today could rely on great cover designs rather than a celebrity’s mass appeal to sell issues.)
But the issue contents are usually equally compelling: articles about women of a “certain age” (i.e. 30. Yes, 30) and the girdles and special skin creams they need in their post-baby years (huge collective sigh on behalf of all modern women). And there are lovely editorial spreads with actual white space, prime, pristine magazine real estate not squandered with advertisements. The image above was from a decadent spread on all things wool. I started photographing some of these magazine images so I could share my favorites. With its beautiful coloring and composition, and its ability to suggest a story, this is one such favorite.