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So, what's this Paper Moon business all about? Maybe you've heard of the movie "Paper Moon," made in 1973, set in the early 1930's. I highly recommend it, but the term does not come from the movie. Well, surely you've heard the song? There are versions of it by Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, James Taylor, and so many others:

"Say, its only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Yes, it's only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Without your love
It's a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It's a melody played in a penny arcade

It's a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me."

-1933, by Harold Arlen

 

 

Surprisingly, though it shouldn't be, the term "paper moon" goes way back to Victorian times. Taking your photo on a novelty cut-out moon, was a national craze from the earliest days of photography. From the 1900's through the 1920's particularly, when photo postcards were most popular, you can find many examples of these earliest paper moon photos....all the way to the 40's in fact. You can view many of them here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/854838@N24/pool/page4/

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They are all utterly charming. I have my B.A. in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography, so it makes sense that these would interest me, particularly combined with my love for old things in general. I had been working as an Archaeologist for 3 years at the time I first became aware of these relics. Naturally, I had to try to make my own! With help, I did. Out of plywood. And then had a 1920's theme party to properly first use it. Here's a photo of my earliest moon photo, you can see it in the backyard and hadn't even bothered with a backdrop yet:

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From there, after much use- I went on to a more collapsable and more characterized moon with more detail. This time, making it to fold into three different pieces for easy transportation to all the events he was wanted at! My current, in use moon:

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And you can see, I add accessories to the man in the moon for different occasions and/or events. One may look at the Flickr photo gallery for some of the possibilities. So that's my paper moon- one of the few around, and thus very high in demand. It is so much fun for guests at events, even for Weddings!

With this interest, my love for Vintage Clothing also grew to the point that I made it my business and opened and co-ran a vintage shop for 5 years. I have left that to start my own here, this "Paper Moon Vintage," because to me the photography and the vintage clothing/style go hand-in-hand. With the trunk of fun vintage props for the photos, it made sense to have them for sale as well. Here's what a typical set up look slike, here at the lobby to the Cicada Club in downtown Los Angeles, where you used to be able to find us most Sunday evenings:

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Soooooo- that's a wrap. I like paper moons, photography, vintage events, and vintage clothing. I've combined them all into one enterprise. The Paper Moon is available for your event, complete photography included. We also offer event souvenir photography with different backdrops (such as a vintage car or a cut-out made for your event). Let us bring you the moon and the stars and the glamour of the past!

Contact me for event photography pricing:      photos@pmvintage.com

** Our new brick and mortar is opening August 24th, 2013 at 4516 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles 90027. Vintage Clothing and our paper moon photo studio. Visit us from noon to 7, closed on Mondays. 

 

*Add us on facebook for complete event listings of where we will be at, and updates.