Sunday, 29 July 2012

EVERY PHOTO TELLS A STORY


Mr N and I are always on the look-out for interesting photographs. A box of old photos can usually be found at every antiques or vintage fair and is always worth rummaging through. Yesterday I found this antique carte de visite - a portrait of two boys, probably Anglo-Chinese, looking a little unhappy in their neatly tailored Western suits. People rarely look happy and relaxed in Victorian photographs, perhaps because they had to stay very still. Sometimes they managed to look mildly amused, like the lady in this daguerreotype.


We are told on the back of this ambrotype that these are twins...


The child in the frilliest frock is a girl, the other, similarly attired, is her brother. Individual photographs can be worth thousands - a few fetch over £1,000,000 at auction. But usually a pound or so will buy an evocative view or a portrait that stirs the imagination. If they could speak what would they say...?


"When I grow up I will be Holly Hunter and make a film called "The Piano"

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"I thought I'd told you! NEVER touch me again!"

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"Don't worry Mama, everything will be all right. We'll bury Papa in the garden just as soon as we've cleaned that stain off the floor."

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"I'm a gamekeeper ma'am. D.H. Lawrence is planning to put me in one of them books he writes."

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"I've trained him, tested him and now he's ready for action. If only he wouldn't insist on wearing those Mary Janes."

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"At last, the opening ceremony's over. Anyone want to buy one of these signs?"

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NB These photos are all from my own collection.

22 comments:

  1. Love your "captions"............
    I have always wondered about the boys in dresses thing.....WHY?????

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    1. I think it was probably to do with toilet training. Also "breeching" - the moment when a little boy started wearing trousers was a significant rite of passage - according to Wikipedia.

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  2. Hee hee - super photo's made even better by the captions. Fascinated by the woolly jumper, shorts & Mary Janes combo. What on earth!

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    1. Yes - that photo is a bit of a mystery. I can only imagine it's an athlete with his trainer. Or an Edwardian Dr Frankenstein...

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  3. Hilarious captions, very clever, I really enjoyed your post. I love old photographs I have some beauties of my mother and her siblings a family of nine children. My parents wedding photograph is gorgeous too.

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    1. I love them too - I've just been given a Great Aunt's amazing wedding photo. Very sad because I know that 6 months later he was killed in WW1.

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    2. That is such a sad story, I love to look through my mothers' photograph boxes the sepia ones are so lovely especially when they are hand tinted.

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  4. These are brilliant. I have collected a few beauties over the years, and gradually have almost forgotten that the people in them are not family or friends. Their images become so familar, I have found myself forgetting they are strangers. I still feel a little sad though when I find such images in car boot sales...thrown out by people who no longer wanted them around, or from house clearances where no one was left to care about the people they depicted. Great captions. J.

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    1. I suppose it is wise to make it plain to our children who & what is "family" when it comes to photos & mementos. I only hope someone will be interested or they'll all end up in a car boot sale!

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  5. Hello Nilly...
    I loved this humour displayed along with these interesting photo's....
    Life did look a little sombre in days gone by.
    Thank you for making me smile!
    Love Maria x

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    1. Thank you, Maria.I'll bet you will be adding some great photos to your family album soon!

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  6. I agree with everyone else - great captions Nilly. Love looking at your old photos, they always looked so rigid and set because the pictures took such a long time to take - not like today's instant world.

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    1. Photographs fascinate me. I'm always a willing audience, even for other people's holiday snaps.

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  7. It's no good, Nilly, you will have to go into the greetings card industry!

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    1. Ooops - I didn't realise all that time queuing in our local Post Office, reading the greetings cards, had programmed me to think up captions!

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  8. Too funny Nilly!.... from now on I must look at old photos with a caption in mind.
    Julie x

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  9. The sad thing is that I didn't realise I'd been brain-washed by those greetings cards (see comment above). In my defence I must say I am attracted to old photos that are a bit thought-provoking or amusing.

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  10. Great post Nilly, I am still giggling! from the wet & miserable (but Textile filled South!) x

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    1. We are quite worried that the country is going - literally - pear-shaped when it comes to our business. Is it because, in the South, you are all more sophisticated & stylish than we are in the North?
      I suspect this is so x

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    2. You wouldn't say that if you could see our High Street on a Saturday afternoon!!!

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  11. What a brilliantly funny post. Have you seen these: http://www.retronaut.co/2011/10/the-invisible-mother/

    Be warned though, the retronaut site is addictive!

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    1. Amazing! I'll have to set aside several hours for this tomorrow, hope it rains...

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