Going to the Dogs

I recently discovered the American Memory section of the Library of Congress. I was looking for an image of a wire-haired fox terrier and came upon an image of this ugly dog (above). I love this photo. It’s a horrible snarling little animal. As it happens, this dog Peachy, belonged to distant cousins, Mabel and Edith Taliaferro. Now, the even more shocking part; they were both actresses. Yes, I admit this. You may all recoil in horror and shame. Mabel was known as “America’s sweetheart” until Mary Pickford yanked that title from her hands. Edith was noted for her performance in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

This image was made in 1908. At that time, being an actress was one step above prostitution. I can’t imagine how this played out in my family. First, two actresses, then, they did film, not theater, and worse of all sins, they worked for a living. But the most important part of this discovery is the dog Peachy. Peachy is named after a distant grandmother, Susanna Peachey, who married Thomas Walker (father of Dr. Walker) around 1700. Since then, there have been may Peachy’s: Peachy Ridgeway Gilmer, Peachy Ridgeway Taliaferro, Peachy Walker Speed, Susan Peachy Bullitt, Susan Peachy Fry, and it goes on like that for a long time. Obviously, creative naming wasn’t a talent. This lack of ingenuity with naming talent extended to the dog here also.

For the sake of fairness, my family has a penchant for British sounding dog names: Winston, Dudley, George, Basil, Flynn, and Drusilla. We can't judge the past.

Nothing to Love

Seeing what is not there is one of my favorite design techniques. I am so impressed with work that does this, as I can’t. SpotCo’s work for The Book of Mormon uses this technique to perfection. Jumping back a century, which I like to do, I also am a huge admirer of Ludwig Holwein and Hans Rudi Erdt. Holwein was the best-known German poster and advertising artist for the first quarter of the twentieth-century. He had a remarkable ability to use the available printing technology, not so good, and turn it to his advantage. Simple solid forms, and the absence of a specific element are hallmarks of Holwein’s work. If you’re of fan of the “less is more” approach, then you should love Holwein’s “nothing is more.”

Hans Rudi Erdt, 1911
Hans Rudi Erdt, 1911
Ludwig Holwein, 1926
Ludwig Holwein, 1923
Ludwig Holwein, 1910
Ludwig Holwein, 1910
Ludwig Holwein, 1908
Ludwig Holwein, 1908
Ludwig Holwein, 1907
SpotCo, 2010