Blogging in 1942 – A Retro Vintage Self Portrait

Many of my colleagues are rebranding their businesses these days. Is it just a change in trends? Change of technology and form of expression? Change of mood and approach to our businesses? Yes to all, really. As a photographer, being my brand is just as important as showing the best of my abilities. Being my brand is essentially putting my personality into the name and design of my business. It’s enabling clients to know me just looking at imagery. It’s giving them a look at what makes me unique, offering that freely, psychologically asking for a little of that communication of Self from them in return so I can truly make their experience authentic.

Well, I’m all about doing things epically here, so I really wanted to put a heap of Me into my new head shots. Check out the research I put into this endeavor.

I love vintage things. REAL vintage things that were actually made and used in bygone eras. I love old technology and seeing how mechanisms inside of them work. Things we forget because we don’t see mechanism anymore. I love my old 1940’s Royal typewriter. I bought this fully functional gem for $50 from an antique mall with the novel expectation of using it to correspond with friends or to boost creative inspiration via old fashioned means of pressing ink to paper, hearing the “ding!” of progress. Even lugging its weight around like some ramshackle 1940’s journalist makes me feel cool. The idea for this shoot came from the typewriter, which I sort of put on a pedestal in my office.

I love writing as much as I love photography. And I love the cinema and iconography of the 1940’s and 50’s as much as I love all that other creative stuff. So those things all had to come together.

If I suddenly time traveled to 1942, what would I be doing? Photojournalism. Possibly some travel by train. (I love train travel.) So here’s what my craft would look like.Kansas City Union Station Blogging 1942

I chose Kansas City’s Union Station as the setting simply because it’s amazing, and its waiting area looks pretty much as it probably did back in the day. Beautiful and dramatic. They even had ragtime and WWII era music echoing through the station the night of this shoot. Oh. My.

The other props featured here I created with as much personal touch and attention to authentic detail as I could. The article I’ve typed is the true story of my grandparents’ engagement in the mid-1940’s. My mom and I searched through archived photographs to find these images of them.

The camera I’m holding belonged to my paternal grandfather from the same era.Vintage photography blog

The hair. Okay, I love the voluptuous victory rolled hair of the 1940’s, but many honest attempts at doing that with my hair proved that my layered, frizzy mane just wasn’t cut out for that. Sigh. Inspiration, please! I asked myself, “What silver screen actress had hair most like mine?”

Rita Hayworth. I researched various styles and came to this one, which had calmer rolls and lots of curl, which I found could be achieved through pin-curling my hair while damp, letting it dry all day, then releasing it, brushing, teasing, spraying and molding it into place for that sculpted, classy 1940’s ‘do. I didn’t want to look like a Hollywood actress; I wanted to look like myself, just another day at the office.


1940s Retro Hair
Inspiration and trials

I love vintage, but I also love retro clothing. Vintage clothing kinda… smells… Anyway, I have quite a collection of retro attire which I casually find here and there (Pin Up Girl Clothing and Daddyos), but this powder blue number said “day at the office” most to me.Kansas City Union Station Photojournalism 1942

Despite no one ever knowing all these details unless they read this blog, it simply fulfills me as an artist to put this much into a photograph. It’s not just the product, it’s the process. It’s not just a trendy portrait of me holding a camera to say, “This is what I do,” it’s a venture into how I express myself, saying, “This is how I do it.” And that’s how I generally approach things.


KC Union Station Retro Train Portrait Typewriter CameraManda Marie Kar

Photojournalist | Thematic Designer


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