Saturday, November 08, 2014

1958: The Atomium

Those who follow me on Twitter will know that I've been at the ABA Chelsea Bookfair today in Chelsea Town Hall. I don't go to buy but to help on the stand of a shop I work with, but every now and again at these things something catches my eye. So I was delighted to come away with this set of photographs from "Expo 58", one of the last of the great world trade fairs, this one in Belgium. The Atomium is still something of an icon of that moment of technological optimism in the 1950s and 60s when we honestly believed that technology held the answers to all the worlds problems: it's a representation of a basic iron crystal.

These photographs, although about 8" x 6" don't have ink stamps on the verso just some handwritten captions, which makes me think that these are by a talented amateur who took them and then developed and enlarged them him/herself in a home darkroom. Very evocative I thought. 


John C said...

Always been fascinated by the Atomium but then I like any of the unlikely structures thrown up by World's Fairs. I was reading something about the construction of this one a while back. I forget where, probably on one of the World's Fair sites.

Incidentally, the current managers of the Atomium have a silly policy about pictures of the thing (details on their site) whereby they claim all reproduction is forbidden without their permission. No idea how they expect to ever control that but I thought I'd mention it in case you receive a complaint!

Fred Coleman said...

Coincidentlly, I just finished reading a novel by Jonathan Coe, titled, appropriately enough, "Expo 58" which deals with spying and intrigue at this Brussels Fair. Anyone interested in reading more about the Fair should consider reading this novel which is factually based.

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