Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keep Calm And Carry On

click photo to enlarge
"Keep Calm and Carry On" was the exhortation on a poster produced  by the British government in 1939 at the outbreak of the second world war. Its purpose was to give direction and to strengthen the morale of a public who were fearful of the future and uncertain about what they were required to do in the new and perilous circumstances. The poster existed for many years after the war mainly in government archives. Then in 2000 it was re-discovered and reproduced commercially by a number of companies. It quickly achieved a popularity that grew stronger after the onset of the banking crisis and the subsequent economic recession. Its message seemed, once more, to chime with the oppressive times, though it  can be seen now as condescendingly paternalistic, the sort of phrase that our prime minister might use (then wish he hadn't) during the knockabout weekly question time. In recent years it has become common for the poster to be published with new, often humorous, words but in the same colours, still with a crown and that distinctive sans serif font.

Today's photograph shows an example of this as part of the display in a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee celebration shop window, its text modified to support the ongoing reign of the current monarch. These windows have started to appear in large numbers, accompanying the flags and bunting that are also featuring in our villages, towns and cities, collectively confounding my previously expressed thought that this Jubilee, compared with earlier ones, wasn't going to make much of a mark. On my travels, I've photographed quite a few window displays, and though I'm a republican and not a monarchist, I'll show a few as my oblique contribution to the event and for the historical record.

Today's example is one of the earliest I saw. It was in Ledbury, Herefordshire, and seems to be compiled by the shopkeeper from items that are normally for sale, though some are so kitsch they must surely be purpose-made Jubilee souvenirs. I did a self-portrait in one of the flag mirrors, though it must have been in another shop window because of the price tag and the reflected wall of the timber-framed Feathers Hotel in the background. I include it because it reminds me that I haven't posted a reflected self-portrait for a very long time.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 24mm
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/50
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On