Friday, September 23, 2011

More Finds at the Local Antique Shop - Orphan Suitors

I have been saving this photo for a rainy day. (Not literally...though it is literally a rainy day here in New Hampshire. So that works well, I guess.) This image just tickles my funny bone. I often find orphan images of people outdoors in a strange location and I find this one particularly appealing.

Orphan images are those that have been separated from their owners with no identification that links them to those who took the photos. Sometimes, orphan photos have some identification, but you need to dig to figure out who the people really are. Sometimes these images are labeled with a name. If you are lucky, you'll get a first AND a last name. Sometimes these images have a location with or without a name. Sometimes the images list a photography studio, though that doesn't happen often with these outdoor images and is instead a clue when looking at formal portraits. All of these elements can help you do research to find more information about the image.

This particular image has no identification, but it reminds me of a spot in nearby Manchester, New Hampshire. When the leaves fall in another month, I plan to check out a local park that I know well from its old birches. I found this picture at an antique shop within thirty minutes of that park. Many times the images I find in shops are not from the area, but making the assumption that the image is from around here gives me a good place to start.

This image is pleasing to me because it ties the past to the present. We often don't think about our ancestors being silly and climbing trees. This could be me in a tree. (This even reminds me of a photo I have of myself upside down with  my sister, hanging from a fallen tree in the woods.Though we were not dressed nearly as finely.) The old-fashioned garb here is a bit surprising as my mind sorts out a familiar landscape with the people sporting trends from the past. People have been silly forever, I bet. Yet, somehow we focus on dates and names and events. We can forget the simple humanity of those who came before us -- the small joyful moments and memories that dotted their lives. This is a part of history that I love -- seeing the common threads that bind people. This lucky lady has two handsome beaus with her. Is one her boyfriend? Is the person taking the picture another girlfriend? Why did they decide to pose in the tree? I am so happy that they did. I can relate and thus, history and their lives are more meaningful to me.

1 comment:

  1. What a neat photo. Orphan photos make me sad. I recently helped a library patron who had found an old album in his house but didn't know the people in it. We were able to use the clues - the names and places written here and there - to figure out the family it belonged to, and we found some descendants. He's trying to contact them to give them back their family photos.