Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Way Back Machine


The time: Early 1900's
The place: Unknown, probably Chicago

The old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousands words". Being a photographer and a lover of photography, I can tell you that for me that statement is true.

I am lucky enough to have many old family photos in my collection but I also buy interesting old photos at flea markets and estate sales. It's sad to me that some of these old treasures are separated from their original families, but I guess that the identities are lost through the generations and their stories fade with time. Some people rescue trees, some people rescue animals but I rescue old photo from certain oblivion.

I could fabricate entire stories around a photo and to me there's a mystery behind them. This was a recent purchase retrieved from a box of old photos at a local home design store. There were a few more that I passed on that day but they were interesting also and I'll probably go back and rescue them also.

There are several interesting things about this photo. It was taken in the early 1900's, my best guess being around 1910. In the late 1800's photograph, especially portrait photography was very formal. Subjects were staid, somber and serious in expression and in dress. They were photographed in studio settings or formal arrangements in the home.

This photo shows an interesting shift with it's subjects informally posed on a back porch. This is probably a Chicago two-flat judging from the type of porch depicted in the picture. The fashions have changed and become more colorful. Sometimes, as in this case, it's all about the hat. Chicago has had a long millinery tradition which is reflected in her fanciful headgear. The man looks on, relaxing in the background.

I'm sure that sociologists and psychologists could deduce alot from this photo as women are beginning to assert themselves.

I think it's delightful and I love the rough texture of her wool skirt and the soft texture of the velvet jacket and again, the hat is simply awesome. You've got to have chutzpah and confidence to carry that off.

The back of the photo reveals that this is Clara Shuler Boyce & Emmet Boyce.

How about you? What stories could you write about this couple?


~*Liz*~ said...

Oh what a great photo! I bet they were on their way to the train station to visit family. They look happy and excited to be on their way.


Lena . . . said...

I recently bought an old photo album at a flea market - one of those that had a beautiful padded cover. It, too, was full of old photos that had been separated from their owners. I just couldn't bring myself to pitch them even though I had no idea who the people were. My mother had a ton of old family photos and I was so fortunate that she had taken the time to identify the people in each one. What a treasure.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

That is one terrific wonder you rescued it.

She's very self-assured wearing that hat And that grin. I'm thinking what a figure she has and he's thinking something...if only he were wearing a little grin, too.

tam said...

I am new at this blogging thing and have been enjoying your posts! That photo is so neat-I so love those little windows back in time! One of my hobbies is genealogy so of course old photos are something I enjoy. Pop on over and visit my blogs sometime.

Sand Flat Farm said...

Let's make-believe that he's staying well out of reach! Perhaps she's smiling smugly cuz she just got in a swift little smack across his face with those gloves she's gripping in her hand. See her pose? Did he insult her? Did he try to steal a kiss? Who knows? Confident and self-assured, you bet she is! And he's not smiling at all! ;^)

Mary said...

look at the details of pintucking and appliqued fabric at the hem on the skirt.

Amazing details.

Kara S. said...

I was going to say the same thing about the hem of the skirt, Mary. :) Is the man wearing two different shoes? Or no shoe at all on one foot? Maybe she looks smug because she stole his shoe. :)

Mary said...

my goodness Kara, It does look like he is wearing 2 differnt shoes, A dark shiny one and a work boot looking one. It is a great photo.

Margaret Cloud said...

You are like me I like to buy old photos from estate sales and try to make a story of what is going on. That is a nice clear picture.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I'm here by way of Vee and I reallly like your blog already. I wonder if they are not a couple, but brother and sister. She does look confident and maybe they are heading off to visit some family members and she'll have the opportunity to see some new interesting people. Neat post!

KatKit13 said...

What an awesome photo. It makes me wonder if they're traveling or picking up family. Let's see... she's mugging for the photographer - her brother (older I think), which would explain why dear ole Emmett is sitting in the background looking bored. Dear brother needed a photo to prove to Mom & Dad (In Iowa) that Sis is doing well and happy. How's that?

I wondered about the two different shoes too but I'm guessing there's an overexposure on that section of the photo.

When I get my scanner finally working, I'll share photos of my grandmother as a May Queen. Talk about an awesome hat.