Thursday, November 4, 2010

More Finds at the Local Antique Shop - Photographing Our Communities

I've had communities on my mind lately as I've been preparing for my "A Life in Context: Telling Your Story" workshop. So, it was delightful for me to walk into 101A Antique and Collectible Center yesterday to find a plethora of group photos.

My first photo today is a group of young women sitting on a lawn in similar attire. They likely are classmates. The element of this photo that made it so appealing to me is the affection shown by the girl in the
upper right. The two wanted to show their friendship for the world as they look directly at the camera for their frozen moment in time. Friends. Classmates. Young women. Are they part of a sorority of some sort? I wonder about the other communities these girls form. When they leave this scene, they return to families, groups with diverse interests, various clubs and other groups of friends. Each one has a separate story to tell, but together in this image they demonstrate their mutual connection.

The second image shows two women in a yard with youngsters. I thought it was a little unusual for women to pose for a picture dressed in their work clothes. I imagine that perhaps they were hanging clothes, or picking herbs, or performing some other outdoor chore while the children ran around the yard. I wonder who took this image. Was it a husband who came home to find a happy family or another woman in the neighborhood? This peek into family and neighborhood life is charming and we are lucky enough to have the names of individuals recorded. "Mother and Betty Firber, Edith, Dorothy Fiske, me, Mary (?)" The young "me" obviously labeled the photo at a later date so she could remember this community and its members.

The last image is my favorite. I think that is because it reminds me of stories my father used to tell about his childhood filled with stickball on the streets of New York. This image is likely from at least two generations earlier than my Dad's. The boy in the front center wears a baseball glove while the one beside him is wearing a tie. Was this taken on a weekend and one boy changed faster after church than the other? Or, was this taken after school? Are the kids getting ready to play or were they in the middle of playing? What did the photographers see in this community group that made him decide to stop and record them? Were the kids close friends who were always together or were they neighbors which just made them convenient playmates?

Images of my own document similar communities in my life. Our human connections form our sense of self, while helping us better understand and relate our individual history through a developed vision of our surroundings. When you bring together the tales of individuals and their communities, you have a larger community history and eventually a regional, national and global tale of humanity. Individual and community stories matter. Photographs are a great way to check in on them.


  1. I love photos like these! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love your antique photo posts, yes, thanks for sharing! :)

  3. thank you Elizabeth and Sue. I really have fun scouting the shops for images and writing these posts about them. I appreciate your support.