On the Back

Every now and then I’ll pull something from the file and discover a really great image on the back of one of the pages. This was one. Eric Cohler found his 15 x 12 brownstone bedroom “very depressing. I decided to fill it with the things I loved best.”

House Beautiful, March 1994. Sadly, I do not have the photo credit.
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15 thoughts on “On the Back

  1. Funny. I haven't noticed the backs of my pages, but notice something I totally didn't see before on the pages. It's like my mind can only process certain elements at a time – all lamps this week, draperies the next, depending on what I am doing in my house I guess.

    I love all the ties. Men don't wear enough ties any more. : (

  2. look closely, there is a tie with "bats" I kid you not.
    I love all those ties strewn on that divine chair.

  3. This really got me thinking about the things that I love best: my children, friends, work, paintings, watercolors, early mornings, birds when the morning is opening to the day, Jones and the crazy cats, scoring at auctions, rain..and so many other adventures that the day presents. How do you put those in a room? But I do love this room full of treasures.

  4. I feel a Magnaverde Moment coming on! Or at least I hope so. I so agree with living with what you love best. Our homes are our personal museums. Or if we don't edit, an archaeological dig! I do believe our things tell us a story, tell our story.

  5. This flip side thing happens all the time…hence compounding conundrum of keeping tearsheets and tossing rest of isssue vis. keeping whole issues intact. I've basically given up and have resorted to keeping whole issues to maintain possibility of serendipity of finding cool things I didn't notice years earlier. However, sheer volume is getting a little crazy and things are getting unretrievable. What was on the other side of Cohler sheet—the page you meant to keep?

  6. I guess my favourite part of this post is . . . in my files, this is the FRONT image for me . . . I need to find it and see what you've saved on the other side. lol.

  7. What I love about this–both the photo & the room itself–is the honesty & forthrightness. Yes, it's a beautiful shot, but what I like even more than the moody lighting & the dense composition is its sense of reality. The antique typewriter & the clutch of cool ties may be there all the time, or they may only be temporary set dressing arranged just for the shot, but I'm guessing that those things are in their normal places, and here's why: that bulky air conditioner in the window. How often do we ever see those things in glossy rags, compared to how often we see them in real life? Yet here's a photographer who's not afraid to show things as they really are.

    I mean, how hard would it have been for him to move the camera over a few inches to the right, or to artfully arrange the curtain so that it didn't show? Or to take the whole thing out for the duration of the shoot? Yet here it is, in all its prosaic, plastic glory. Ya gotta love that.

    Ya also gotta love Eric Cohler's unashamed juxtaposition of a handsome mahogany secretery, antique needlework on a good-looking chair & a big generic TV straight out of the electronics aisle. I mean, it's not like Cohler couldn't have come up with a hollowed-out armoire, or an handsome bookcase filled with fake books. The guy has sources, you know? But rather than go through all that pointless fakery, Cohler, with his right-out-there-for-all-the-world-to-see placement of the ordinary necessities of life, acknowledges what some people seem unwilling to admit: that we like to be cool, and we like to be enetertained. Why is that so embarrassing?

    I just read a classic line by Bunny Williams in the new House Beautiful (the one with Joe Nye's awesomely decorated apartment): "If you want people to use your living room, put a TV in it." Well, duh.

    But they don't, Williams' common-sense advice notwithstanding, not, at least, if they can help it. As a result, this country is filled with oversized houses with useless–but, pretty!–rooms, rooms as hostile to normal daily life–-but pretty!–as a Victorian parlor. This is progress?

    Anyway, this room–like Joe's place–speaks to me in a way that no pristine, perfectly-coordinated room, pretty as one might be, can ever do. This is a room built for real life. Set a spell. Take your shoes off…

    [N.B. to Home Before Dark: You're good, really good. Any hints on the ponies this afternoon?]

  8. What a treat…a Magnaverde moment! To Magna: While I agree with all the others who've said you must start a blog, there's something a little exciting and very serendipitous about your popping up unexpectedly with a thoughtful and deliciously snappy response. Of course, Mrs. B's interesting two-pronged take (flip-side musing and Cohler view) merits a Magna verbum. Actually, Magna, you really are a stealth blogger—when you pop up as a response it's always post-worthy in itself and a great compliment to the blogger to whom you're responding. In this case, hats (and ties) off to Mrs. B. for eliciting a Magna post.

  9. It is great to follow your blog, so refined and filled with interesting posts. First time I encounter Magnaverde, a pleasant surprise.

  10. Scot – I'd love to see the whole piece; this was on the back of the Lussier spread from the day before.

  11. I love the old tv on top of the VCR & how Grace Kelly's mood & dress are so in sync with the rest of the image!!!

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