Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, May 21, 2017

moments in time

 The oldest existing photograph is a picture of a high school in Philadelphia. Taken in 1839 it is now 178 years old. I looked that bit of trivia up after looking at some of my pictures. I have one of my 2nd great grandfather in the civil war. The year it was taken is not written on it but it was before 1865 that much is certain. I also have two very small pictures, in a sort of locket, of my great grandmothers father and his brother. I suspect those pictures are the oldest in my collection. Even if my civil war photograph was taken in 1865 that makes it 152 years old. That would make that picture only 26 years newer than the oldest one known in the United States ! Now, that is pretty cool and I do believe the others are a bit older. I would have to say I am blessed to have over 150 years of family in photographs ! I'm thinking there aren't many that could make that claim. A great deal of this is owed to my great uncle Fred. He was a professional photographer.
 As anyone knows that has read a number of these blogs I have my pictures on display. I have surrounded myself with them, family all gathered around. I like the look of it as a decorating style and do enjoy seeing those folks. My grandchildren are constantly exposed to these relics of the past and I think that is a good thing. Photographs are something we take for granted today but that wasn't always so. Like most things photographs were a rare and expensive thing at one time. Getting your picture taken was a big deal, something to get dressed up for. It certainly wasn't a casual thing. Funny little trivia thing I ran across looking up the oldest photograph was the second oldest is a selfie ! Sure didn't take long for man to want to photograph himself ! Just speaks to humanity in general I think, not much has changed. The only difference is now is it is mostly teenage girls taking those selfies. I doubt a single one of those will survive more than a few weeks at best.
 I do enjoy photographs of people more than anything else. Photography as art is something I can appreciate but I wouldn't buy those photographs, if that makes any sense. I don't deny that it takes far more talent and expertise than I possess to capture a scene just right. I do think it is getting a lot easier with the electronic cameras that we have today. Computers can provide much technical expertise but they still can't provide the artistic eye. I don't have that eye and never will, it isn't something that can be learned. Now a portrait or a snapshot of a person is a different thing altogether. I get that there are portrait photographers and that is a skill all its' own. Personally I much prefer the casual snapshots. In fact I am always trying to capture folks when they aren't really aware their picture is being taken. The candid shots are the best in my opinion. The pictures I take personally hold the most value to me simply because of the amount of information contained within that shot. I know who, what, where, when and how. And that is what I was taught you need to know for a good story. Each picture does hold a story. The old pictures fascinate me because of the speculation involved. They are like an unsolved mystery. I only know a small piece of the puzzle. I know who, sometimes I know where, but seldom why. I can get absorbed in possible scenarios. Just what was the occasion ? In the older photographs there was almost an occasion due to the expense. Pictures weren't just snapped on a whim. Those old portraits I have, the ones in a locket, were taken as a keepsake I'm certain of that. You see the two people in that locket were round the world whalers. They would have left on their whaling voyage and been gone for a year or more. I'm certain great grandmother had those pictures of her father and uncle for that very reason. I can hear him telling her, " don't you worry Lucy, papa will be back before you know it. I'll bring you something special. "
 I have said this on several occasions and confess I have yet to really begin the task in earnest. I do need to identify all these photographs. I should label each one with all the particulars so that information isn't lost. I'll have to figure out a way to attach them to the originals without causing any damage. Like I say I like to display my pictures and so don't want them placed in a scrapbook where they will go unseen for long periods of time. It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt but I don't believe that applies with old photographs. I want those photographs to be very familiar to my friends and family. So familiar that they will be missed should they disappear. It's a subliminal message, a devious plot on my part. You need those pictures. An association will be made. It's all very scientific. Psychology 101. And I think it is working. You know I have a picture of myself taken when I was just five years old. That picture is 58 years old now. An old black and white. Most likely taken with the old " brownie " box camera that Dad had for so many years. I have a picture of my Mom taken in 1938 when she was 9, that picture is 79 years old. The hope is one day the great grandkids will see those pictures. They'll laugh and smile at those " antique " photographs. I hope they enjoy them as much as I do today. A continuation of time and place is the objective. As long as the names are spoken people are never really gone, just waiting for us somewhere else. The pictures may help us recognize them when we get there !