Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Love of Old Photos

After several recent ebay purchases, I find myself with a burgeoning vintage photo collection. I’ve always been drawn to images of "the olden days," beginning with the framed photograph of “Marilla” I spotted in an antique store when I was teenager. Seeing those lively eyes and the tiny wrinkles on her face, I felt an instant connection. She reminded me of Marilla Cuthbert played by Colleen Dewhurst in the Anne of Green Gables movies I was such a fan of as an adolescent. My mom was so sweet to go back to the shop and buy Marilla for my birthday.
Today she has even greater sentimental value: When my parents were helping me move some of my belongings to Oregon over ten years ago, their truck and trailer full of boxes was stolen. Marilla was the only thing the thieves left in the truck. She’s been with me ever since.

Frequenting estate sales like I do, I see a lot of old family photos for sale. I’m always on the lookout for interesting faces, unique outfits, and atmospheric places. I really don’t think of myself as a collector … nor do I get overly sentimental and believe I’m “rescuing” these discards from uncaring hands. I see it more as a befriending; welcoming these unknown people into my modern existence. And how I appreciate the glimpses they give me into their daily lives, now decades past!
Their stories seem to leap from the paper – the adorable twins, Ruth and Alice, who are adored by their grandparents; the cupie-doll-faced girl who works in a hosiery mill and loves to make funny faces with her best friend; Cy and Daisy—a classically handsome 20s couple who grow old with happiness in Texas. Some stories are based on helpful tidbits scrawled on the backs on these snapshots, others are figments of my often rich imagination. Silliness sometimes, I admit, but at least these wonderful people are not forgotten … even if they were never known.
I'm sure I'll be posting more of my photography “kindred” in the weeks to come.