Category Archives: Novelty

Mementos become muses for photographer Michael Hughes

Photographer Michael Hughes has amassed an arsenal of photographs documenting souvenirs worldwide. “I go anywhere in the world, buy a cheap souvenir and I hold the souvenir in front of the object it’s depicting,” says Hughes.

Based in Berlin, Germany, he has been shooting editorial and commercial assignments for more than 30 years, but the seed for the souvenir project took root in 1999 while shooting for a Finnish newspaper in the Rhine River valley on a very dreary day.

From his perch high on the Lorelei — a rock famous known for its mermaid who would lure sailors to their death — he pulled a postcard out of his pocket with the same view, lined it up in his viewfinder and captured “the one.”

“It was magical, like looking through a window” says Hughes. “You look through it, behind it, at it. I knew this could be the beginning of something.”

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Photos courtesy of Michael Hughes

He’s tackled the most iconic spots in the world, from Times Square in New York City to the Egyptian pyramids. He also put a new spin on the must-have snapshot in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.

“My wife found a rainbow-colored lollipop in the shape of the tower,” he says about one of his favorite finds. In the corresponding photo, his daughter, Lea, is pictured licking it in front of the real thing.

Since being discovered on Flickr, the Souvenir series has been featured in National Geographic and  Popular Photography magazines and Hughes was asked to shoot an advertising campaign for TAM airlines in Brazil.

His work is also available for purchase on his website, www.hughes-photography.eu. The photographs make great souvenirs themselves, whether you’ve been to the places or not.

As for the actual trinkets, Hughes keeps most of them in a box, while some adorn the shelves of his apartment. Others just didn’t make it back home, including what he says was the most unusual: a windmill that plays “Tulips from Amsterdam,” while rotating its vanes and lighting up.

“I gave it to the guy at Schiphol airport who checks in the Avis hire cars because I had no space in my luggage.”

Maybe he’ll donate a few to the Souvenir Museum on of these day . . .

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Filed under Europe, Novelty, Statue

Roswell is out of this world

UFO MuseumA mysterious flying object crashes on a farm outside of Corona, New Mexico, in 1947. The debris, and quite possibly the remains of alien creatures, are taken to the Roswell Army Air Base, and an elaborate cover-up ensues.

Roswell, New Mexico, has built a reputation on UFO lore and conspiracy theories. The truth is out there, and millions of people have flocked to the town of 50,000 to find it. The UFO Museum and Research Center on Main Street presents an overview of what has become known as “The Roswell Incident,” including exhibits about the timeline of events, eyewitness accounts, the cover-up and general UFO phenomena. Founded in 1991, the museum also has the largest selection of UFO souvenirs in the world.
Alien Fetus in Goo

One thing the museum store didn’t have was unhatched alien eggs, something a friend of mine had told me she had purchased on a visit to Roswell a few years ago. I followed green two-toed footprints over to the Roswell Space Center at 116 E. 2nd Street to pick up my own alien fetus for $1.75.

Space WalkWhile at the souvenir shop, I got more than I bargained for; I was introduced to the Space Walk, a dark tunnel filled with painted scenes illuminated by black lights. Conceived by local artist Larry Welz, the Space Walk is a journey through the past, present and future of space exploration as viewed from the deck of a space ship. Come to find out, you can see more of Larry’s work in the form of interstellar murals painted on the side of buildings (check out the one behind the McDonald’s shaped like a spacecraft on Main Street) or the alien eyes on lamp posts throughout town.

If UFOs are your thing, this is place to be. Better yet, make your plans now for the 2010 UFO Festival, which will take place July 1-3, 2010.

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Filed under New Mexico, Novelty, Roswell, Souvenir, Uncategorized, United States

Possum Fur Nipple Warmers

It may be cold outside right now, but I don’t have to be. I own a pair of Possum Pam‘s Possum Fur Nipple Warmers that I picked up on a trip to New Zealand in 2002.

Possum Fur Nipple Warmers

Stay warm and save the New Zealand forests at the same time!

The possum is considered a pest in New Zealand. The non-native animal was brought to the country by European settlers in the early 1800s for the establishment of a fur industry. Without a natural predator, the possum population grew out of control, causing an ecological nightmare for indigenous plants and wildlife (including the beloved kiwi bird, a national icon).

Conservation efforts have helped reduce the number of wild possum. Fur from wild-caught possums can be found in a wide range of products in New Zealand, from bed spreads to these fabulous nipple warmers. But as Possum Pam’s founder Pam McKinstry has said, “There would have to be a lot of cold nipples out there to stem this tide of destruction.”

If you’re going to be in New Zealand in the near future, help save the forests of New Zealand and pick up a set of nipple warmers. Belly or willy warmers are also available.

Cost: $9 NZD or approximately $6.50 USD

Here are a few other products made from possum:

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Filed under Apparel, For Her, New Zealand, Novelty, Oceana