Friday, July 22, 2005

The importance of photographs

Before I forget:
If any of you knitters missed this wild chicken hat on Aloha Media (as posted on ThreadBared), you've got to check this out!

I love vintage photographs. Reading the lovely Naive Knitting has me thinking too much. I recently purchased a photograph on ebay, featuring a woman from "the 1910's", standing in front of an old car. She is wearing an apron, and is holding a cake. Unfortunately, my post office lost the package. Yet another lost package. If I were to insure all my purchases, it would just be too expensive. So I only insure fragile or expensive items. But when things are lost (where ARE they, anyway?), I am told it is "the price of doing business". That is actually the line I was given when I received a beach towel in a shredded bag, because it had gotten caught in their machines at the post office. One part of the towel is damaged, but I will be able to fix it with a patch of matching fabric (lucky for me, I can sew). But how lame is that?! But I digress. I want to talk about how strange it is to find old photographs, and wonder why they are available for sale. I mean, is there NO family or friend who remembers? Like this post from Swapatorium (be sure to click on her link about the boxes for all the information. I like the comments here, so that's why I'm starting here).
More thoughts:

  • I was in a thrift store recently, and came across a large frame--the type that was especially popular in what? the early 90's? the type with the mat cut into all these little ovals and squares so one can highlight a bunch of pics at one time. Am I making sense? Anyway, here's this frame, still filled with photos, sitting in the aisle of the shop. I thought, how odd. Why is this no longer important?
  • When my friend bought her house, someone left behind an entire album of family history. Just a pile for the trash. My God.
  • Did you know that in early America of the 18oo's, the only record that some women even existed is the signature on their quilts? Women were not counted in the census at that time.
  • I always thought it would be fun to open up a romantic get-away...a Bed and Breakfast where the walls are papered with vintage wedding photos. On ebay alone, it is amazing the quantity available.

No doubt, photographs have the abilty to move us emotionally in profound ways. We surround ourselves with artistic images by Ansel Adams or other photographers who speak to our souls. We display images of people and places that we love, and hold dear the proof of memories. Each tiny rectangle is a captured moment; a visual reminder of what is most important. How then, can some be tossed to the side? Who will value my photographs when I am gone?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some old pictures of my grandmothers' deceased husbands' relatives. Clear as mud ? The whole family is dead.I didn't know any of them yet my grandma gave them to me .She is now dead and I'm in posession of all these photos and can't bring myself to get rid of them.

10:36 AM  
Blogger woof nanny said...

I suppose you could always craft with them. At least they wouldn't evaporate then, they would take on a new life (as it were)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Gina E. said...

The sad thing about old photos is that people rarely took the time to write on the back of them, who the people were, and where and when it was taken. I am sure that is why so many are chucked out - they just don't mean anything if you don't know who they are. I got my Dad to identify all his family pix long before he died, and we are now getting hubby's Mum to do the same with hers. I am very big on preserving family history/heritage in the form of photos and hand made stuff such as linen. Not so big on genealogy - anyone can do that these days, it is just a matter of collecting data. I prefer the physical side of it...physical is not the word I want, but it will do. I am sure you understand!

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lovely, thought provoking post. Funny, isn't it, how certain photos become treasured momentos, and others become trash.

8:03 AM  

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