Robert L. Peters

22 December 2008

Life is sexually transmitted.


And another newsflash… Celibacy is not hereditary!

Search millions of historic photos…






Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google. Try a search, here. (thanks, Adrian)

Images: Mata Hari (1876-1917), Dutch dancer and spy for Germany during World War I; Mustachioed man wearing steel helmet w. built-on chain screen to protect soldiers’ eyes from fragments of shell, rock, etc. during WWI; Class in pole climbing in course for telephone electricians during vocational training at University of Michigan, also during WWI; architect Buckminster Fuller (one of my heroes) in 1970.

21 December 2008






Germantown, Maryland

A year ago I posted about PostSecret, a remarkable ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. Since it started in 2004, people from around the world have had their most excruciating secrets appear anonymously on the popular website has won several awards, attracts many millions of visits per year, and has now gone international (German, French, Spanish, Korean). To date, its founder Frank Warren has received hundreds of thousands of secret-bearing postcards (joyful, poignant, sad, passive aggressive, you name it…) and has published four books featuring the cards. View an online selection of the cards here. Watch short videos by/about PostSecret here and here.

20 December 2008

The shortest day dawns…


Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

Here’s a cheerful shout out to friends and colleagues in the Northern Hemisphere as you celebrate the Winter solstice (or Midsummer festivities in the Southern Hemisphere). Fires will be kept burning through the night… (as has been the case since the advent of human history), and lively celebrations and cultural festivities will begin in every corner of our tilted planet. Best wishes to all…

19 December 2008

Czech book covers of the 1920s-1930s…




Washington, D.C.

I was pleased today to stumble across this avant-garde collection of book covers in the Smitsonian Institution Libraries… from the accompanying essay: “During the period between the two World Wars, the Czechoslovak Republic was an important and prolific center for avant-garde book design. Signed, limited editions showcased experimental design techniques, high-quality materials, and specially commissioned graphics. Book design for the general public, although mass-produced and much more affordable, was similarly innovative and attentive to questions of design. Not recognized as an important focus for academic inquiry until the mid-1970s, Czech book design has recently been the subject of several exhibitions and publications, including The Czech avant-garde and Czech book design: the 1920s and 1930s at the Florham-Madison Campus Library, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, New Jersey.”

“Avant-garde Czech book design sprang from the Devetsil Artistic Union, a highly influential group of avant-garde poets, writers, artists, and designers active from 1920 to 1931. ReD [1927-31], the most important of Devetsil’s journals, published work by leading names in the fields of writing, art, and architecture, among them poetry by Mallarmé and Apollinaire; prose by James Joyce; reproductions of art by Arp, Chagall, Kandinsky, Brancusi, Mondrian and El Lissitzky; and articles on the architecture of Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Czech designers were also in direct contact with a range of artistic activity in Europe, especially France and Russia, and collaborated on projects with several important journals, including Merz, the publication of German Dada artist Kurt Schwitters. The Devetsil group encompassed, if at times uncomfortably, Czech artists working in two major styles, Poetism and Constructivism. Czech avant-garde book design separates broadly into four major movements: Poetism, Constructivism, Surrealism, and Socialist Realism. Each approach developed and utilized its own unique philosophy and aesthetic vocabulary…”

Read the full essay here and view the entire collection of covers here.

Books shown: George Bernard Shaw’s Obráceni kapitána Brassbounda, cover design by Ladislav Sutnar; Ladislav Sutnar and Oldřich Stary’s (eds.) Nejmenší dům, cover design by Sutnar; Joseph Deltaile’s Cholera, cover design by Josef Šíma.

She’s got Bette Davis eyes…




No question, the eyes have it—here’s to Bette (born one hundred years ago) and those enduringly penetrating gazes. Catch Kim Carnes’ memetic 1980s hit tune on YouTube here.

…and she’ll tease you

she’ll unease you

all the better just to please you

she’s precocious, and she knows

just what it takes to make a pro blush

all the boys think she’s a spy

she’s got Bette Davis eyes…

18 December 2008

Drawing pictures…


An endearing little message full of love and tenderness… (found here).

17 December 2008

On this day…


…in 1911, Orville Wright (watched anxiously by his older and heavier brother Wilbur) achieves the first powered flight.

Notably, neither had a pilot’s license…

16 December 2008

Seasonal greetings…


Churchill, Manitoba

It’s that time of year again… and seasonal greetings are pouring in by the hour. This lovely photo of two Churchill polar bears is from good friend and client Mike Grandmaison, just back from a northern photo shoot. Quoting his e-card (and apropos to the season): “Sometimes I just don’t know whether I’m coming or going.” Cheers, Mike… and stay warm!

15 December 2008

Goodbye Heimweh…








Basel, Switzerland

I’ve felt privileged to be able to once again spend this weekend “back home” in my childhood stomping grounds in and around Basel. En route from the Zurich airport I drove by Reinach (where I lived for 5 years, from age 7 through 12) and the neighboring village of Dornach (in Canton Solothurn), where I visited the Goethanum (world center for the anthroposophical movement) and the castellated remains of Dornach Ruine on the hill above (a destination I used to bike to Saturdays with childhood chums—also a family favorite for picnics). There I was greeted with an enchanting 30cm snow-dump, spectacular back-lit ice-fog, and the delight of locals digging out (just hearing Schweizerdeutsch brings back floods of memories).

Then, off to Basel, and several hours walking the familiar downtown streets—of course with the multi-sensory (and admittedly indulgent) delights of roasted chestnuts, Glühwein, alpine cheese, Bündnerfleisch, and the best (I swear) pretzels in the world. At 16:30 I met my younger brother Phil at the Historisches Museum on the Barfüsserplatz, then on to a Raclette dinner and evening reminiscences with bro’s brood in the wee village of Holzen (bei Kandern).

Sunday morning it was off to the medieval Black Forest city of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany’s quintessential “Green” city) for a Stadtbummel with friend Silvie Engel (thanks for the superb tour, angel)—then a tasty organic dinner at a nearby village Straussi (a winery licensed to serve home-grown produce and meats).

Ah… Heimweh mitigated once again (48 hours can make a world of a difference), and back to the “new world” (replete with -40 degree windchill upon landing in the ‘Peg)… oh well, fine fun while it lasted.

Images: snow in Dorneck; sledding down to the Goethanum; the kinetic Tinguely sculpture outside the Basel Theater; angel-encrusted booths of the Christmas market in Basel’s Barfüsserplatz; the home of Basler Läckerli (drool); one of the city gates in Freiburg; outside ‘The Red Bear,’ purportedly Germany’s oldest Gasthof (since the year 1120).

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