Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - Commercial art of mid-century

A website that I can't say enough good things about is EphemeraNow.

I've always had a soft spot for the advertising of the 50's and 60's. You can get a sense of the era in way products like batteries, stereos and especially kitchen appliances were sold.

What particularly amazes me is the level of imagination and detail that on display in the artwork and photography. This was the time before digital photography and Adobe Photoshop.

I love the ads with space themes, of course.

I've always thought the science fiction art of the 50's depicted planets like Mars as much weirder than they turned out to be in real life. If you look at the rocks in the picture above, they look unearthly. You could almost imagine some hearty astronauts climbing up one of those peaks.

I remember back in 1976 when the first Viking probe landed on Mars and sent back pictures. I think people were kind of let down that Mars didn't look like it was sculpted out of foam on a Hollywood soundstage. It was just rocks and sand, like an Earth desert. You can almost imagine a development of condos sitting on one of the plains.

Which reminds me...this image is my favorite.

Thanks to the editor of Ephemera Now for letting me use the images.

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