Mystery photograph
September 7, 2010 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know anything about this photograph? I came across it on a stranger's Tumblr site and it's completely unattributed, and no amount of Googling has turned up even a clue as to where it's from. Looks like it's out of a book (page number in the bottom right), but beyond that, I got nothin'. I'm totally intrigued by it. (Note: I've already emailed the blog owner via their Tumblr site, so please don't email them again; I don't want to harass them...) Thanks!
posted by Malisams to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
A Tineye search provides a Brazillian user that has it as their LastFM icon:

posted by Brockles at 2:36 PM on September 7, 2010

Hannah Hoch (a German Dadaist) liked to create photo collages in which women had their heads replaced with mechanical objects like phonograph bells. This isn't a collage, so maybe it's an homage.
posted by Paragon at 2:53 PM on September 7, 2010

My guess is that is a mirror at the foot of the bed. That picture of the woman looks familiar.
posted by lobstah at 3:16 PM on September 7, 2010

errr...the photo on the left.
posted by lobstah at 3:17 PM on September 7, 2010

Response by poster: Tineye! I was wondering whether a reverse image lookup existed. That's brilliant. Thanks! I went to the lastfm user's page, then to their Flickr, hoping for some insight...but I didn't see anything. Sigh.

Mr. Yuck - I think the object at the foot of the bed is a mirror? No idea about those stains...

Thanks for the suggestions, all...I'll keep looking into it. Anyone else have any ideas?
posted by Malisams at 3:19 PM on September 7, 2010

Response by poster: @lobstah I don't think so? Also, I recognize the woman in the photo on the left, it Janet Leigh? I think I recognize Jackie O. in another of the pictures on the right...
posted by Malisams at 3:28 PM on September 7, 2010

The photo on the wall somehow reminds me of Cindy Sherman. That may be a total red herring though.
posted by statolith at 3:38 PM on September 7, 2010

The person who put it on Tumblr may or may not be helpful, but you could use their ask-a-question feature to find out:
posted by asciident at 3:47 PM on September 7, 2010

Response by poster: @lobstah You're totally right...Mr Yuck's response is gone. Weird.

@asciident I did indeed use their Ask feature...haven't heard back yet, though. We'll see. I'll definitely post the answer here if/when I do hear back.
posted by Malisams at 4:08 PM on September 7, 2010

Seems like the kind of photo that might have been on Black and WTF at some point. Might be worth checking their archives.
posted by MsMolly at 4:43 PM on September 7, 2010

Response by poster: @MsMolly Great idea, I didn't think even think of Black and WTF. Sadly, I just looked through the entire archive and it wasn't there.

This is killin' me.
posted by Malisams at 4:55 PM on September 7, 2010

The number in the lower right hand corner of the image and the visible gutter on the left side of the page indicate to me that this is a scan from a magazine.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:26 PM on September 7, 2010

Mod note: A few comments removed. Please don't discuss moderation etc. in the thread itself, that's what the contact form and Metatalk are for and doing it over here just creates more cleanup for us and a slightly more bumpy thread when we've done so.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:57 AM on September 8, 2010

I think the woman's picture on the upper left looks like Audrey Hepburn. The woman's picture to the right of the trumpet looks like Jackie Kennedy Onassis. The wedding dress picture (lower left of the trumpet) looks like Grace Kelly aka Princess Grace of Monaco. The larger upper picture on the left is someone who is English or French (god, I can't remember her name. I want to say actress but I think photographer or titled Lady and I don't know why)

That wooden thing at the foot of the bed is a definitely mirror top from a dresser - the swivel kind.

This could either be French Vogue from the 60s or an homage to the same. Based on the petticoat hanging off the top of the bed, I think it's early 60s.
posted by jaimystery at 2:01 PM on September 8, 2010

Best answer: The person with the tumblr site asked me to post this:

It’s by a photographer called G.O. Parsee from a 1950s photography magazine. If you read here he explains why he puts things over women’s heads. His name doesn’t throw up any results on google so I guess he faded into obscurity.
posted by Original 1928 Flavor at 7:46 AM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: THANK YOU. I had nearly given up on this. You rock. Please pass along my thanks and a long-distance high-five to the Tumblr owner as well!

posted by Malisams at 2:29 PM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: Follow up: Based on Original 1928 Flavor's information, I found that the photography magazine was Glamour Photography. This photo appeared in volume 1, issue 3 (the summer 1956 issue).

Now to get my hands on one.

Thank you again!
posted by Malisams at 2:40 PM on September 22, 2010

Here is the link for a scanned version of that magazine. After reading the statements of the photographer, I'm not quite as enamored with the photograph. Beyond sexist--as many were in 1956--Parsee sounds chopping-up-women-in-your-basement-creepy.
posted by Original 1928 Flavor at 3:17 PM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: You're right...he sounds completely batsh*t. His whole write-up was nonsense. Also, even after looking up 'fanny-whopper', I still really have no idea what it means.

Anyway, thanks for all your help...I really appreciate it.
posted by Malisams at 4:40 PM on September 23, 2010

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