A new perspective on the past

Marina Amaral is an extremely talented lady.  Based in her native Brazil, she has mastered the art of retouching black and white photographs in order to bring them to vivid life for the modern era. Her work varies from profound subjects to the most mundane and she is accepting commissions to breathe a little colour back into whatever subjects her clientele might wish to revive.

It is incredibly hard to convey the relevance of even our recent past to the generations coming through.  To a vast majority of people raised in the digital age, everything is disposable and nothing is sacred. If something cannot be related to and offer tangible pleasures then all too often it is discarded. Marina’s work makes the other-worldliness of old photographs fresh and challenges the eye.


Marina Amaral reveals the man behind the moustache: Neville Chamberlain arrives home from Munich

In the 1980s, space was filled in the early evening schedules of BBC2 with silent ‘shorts’ by Harold Lloyd, ‘Buster’ Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Children would watch them after Grange Hill and Crackerjack had finished in preference to the early evening news – the S&G among them – and wonder what it must have been like when humans could only see the world in black and white.

Today such films are never put in front of a youngster unless by accident.  As a result, the unbridled joy of watching grown-ups wallop each other and fall over, let alone learning about the broad palate of emotions that they are sensing in the world through the elegant mime of truly great actors, is denied to them.

Having spent far too many hours in museums this year, often with tides of teenagers ebbing and flowing around the corridors, it was clear that the relationship between past and present is becoming fractured. School history lessons are a drudge of irrelevance to most kids. In school, the subject appears to have been boiled down to putting on fancy dress and then writing about how they believe people felt.

Skills like Marina’s offer a unique opportunity for families, schools and publishers to redress the balance somewhat. That is a truly valuable resource to have.


The Red Baron emerges in another of Marina Amaral’s pieces


Sites we like #5 – The Cahier Archive

You have to be pretty special if you have ‘F’ and ‘1’ in close proximity in the URL of your website and don’t feel Bernie Ecclestone’s finger on your collar. The legacy of Bernard Cahier and continued good work of his son Paul-Henri in capturing the world of Formula One falls into exactly that category.

Graham Hill and Brice McLaren, Monaco 1960 (Copyright of The Cahier Archive)

Graham Hill and Brice McLaren, Monaco 1960 (Copyright of The Cahier Archive)

If you head over to The Cahier Archive you will find an unbroken line of passion for the best bits of racing, from the cheery bonhommie between the drivers of the 1950s to the blemish-free bottoms of modern grid girls and evertything in between. The Cahiers are Formula One royalty, meaning that they are at home behind the scenes and people tend to relax and enjoy themselves when they are around or accept their presence in the tense moments before or during a race.

All except for Kimi-Matias Räikkönen, of course, who saw fit to send Paul-Henri ‘a-over-t’ on the grid at Silverstone a few years back… a bit of a black, there, by The Kimster. Nevertheless, if it’s atmosphere you want to adorn your walls then you’ll find that the Cahiers have caught more of it and preserved it ready for any occasion… it’s always a pleasure to stop by P-H’s site.

Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn leaving after practice, 1958 German GP (Copyright The Cahier Archive)

Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn leaving after practice, 1958 German GP (Copyright The Cahier Archive)

A regular Renaissance man

Martin Field is someone who’s turned a love of the most elegant, powerful, competitive and evocative machinery of the 20th Century into a whole raft of little gems. He’s turning his career as a technical illustrator and model engineer into a ‘fun consultancy’ for those with an eye for the fine things in life.

It’s always fun catching up with Martin’s latest project… which could be anything from modelling a traditional wooden motorboat to capturing the beauty of a canal boat engine on paper or carving the master mould for a 1/32 model kit. Among the many projects he’s been busy with recently are a slot car model of the unique Ferrari 126 C2 from the 1982 US GP West at Long Beach:

Completed slot car kit: Gilles Villeneuve, 1982

Completed slot car kit: Gilles Villeneuve, 1982

A 1/43 Raysoncraft drag boat and custom trailer kit:

Lovely little combo!

Lovely little combo!

A watercolour of the delicious Supermarine S6b Schneider Trophy winner:

A vision in blue: Martin's S6b

A vision in blue: Martin’s S6b

Martin’s always on the hunt for an interesting project, so if you’ve got an idea for anything that nobody else does, and want it done better than most people would manage, why not check out his website.

Sites we like #4: Anglotopia

I have a new addiction – anglotopia.net should probably come with a health warning.

Gawd bless yer guv'nor - and yer good lady wife!

Gawd bless yer, guv’nor – and yer good lady wife!

This a site for news, views and shopping tailored towards the American market. Specifically, Americans who think that Britain is great. Actually, I meant Americans who think that Britain is great but that everyone in Britain smokes a pipe, drives an Austin 7 and has a garden gate styled like an Art Deco sunrise.

It’s for people who think that Downton Abbey is a reality show. It’s fab-u-lous.

Sincere thanks to the people behind the site. I haven’t felt this good about being British for a very long time.

Sites we like #3: Lief Snellman’s Golden Era of Grand Prix Racing

The chronicle of great races by Lief

The chronicle of great races by Lief

Dear old Lief has been chronicling the pre-war Grands Prix with skill and detail for more than a dozen years. If ever you need a reference for the ‘Silver Arrows’ in particular, then look no further.

The Golden Era of Grand Prix Racing