Thursday, August 05, 2010

glimpses of times past

Lynn Kathleen, b. 1946, written on the back

Many years ago, I began collecting old photographs. They have always fascinated me. As a kid, I loved to spend time looking through the many photo albums that my mom had put together. These albums are time capsules. Filled with collections of pictures from holidays, special events, vacations and bits of every day life, they have catalogued our lives. Looking through them takes me back to that moment, the time around that moment, and what I was doing, feeling, thinking and dreaming.

There were also albums (and boxes!) of pictures from my mom's family and my dad's family. These truly fascinated me because they gave me a glimpse into my parents' lives that I had never seen before. Not only did I see them as children, but I also saw my aunts and uncles as children and my grandparents, as parents. As a kid, having this realization and glimpse into the past was huge. It is what planted the seed for me and I think it's the reason I still love looking through - and collecting - old photographs today.

1933, grandmother and grandson

These glimpses open the possibility of creating a story. Who are these people? Where do they come from? What happened before and after the picture was taken? How do they live? Where do they live? What do they like or dislike? What do they dream? These are some of the questions that often roll through my head as I look at these pictures. Using them within my work, I add my story to it, reinterpreting the person or scenario into the piece I am creating.

As I collect these pictures, I cannot help but think of the pictures I've taken. Having owned a digital camera for years now, I have lost count of all the images that take up space on the hard drive of my computer. Although I look at them regularly, they are not prints. These intangible bits of imagery still act as a time capsule, but it's not the same.

two siblings, year unknown

Often, when I go to the antique mall or an antique shop, and I find a stack of these old pictures, I can't help but feel a little sad. These belonged to someone and at some point, they meant something to someone. What do my pictures mean to me? What do I want to happen to them? What do your pictures mean to you?

Being the collector that I am, I've decided to add this photo collection as a set to my flickr page. Entitled "Glimpses of the Past", I'll be adding photos from my photo collection to this set periodically, as I acquire them. If you have an old photo you'd like to share/send to me (and/or possibly add to the set), send it my way/contact me at fragmented (at) earthlink dot net. I'd love to see it!

Thanks - enjoy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I get that same momentary 'they've come and gone' sadness when I see those old photos too. I fast forward my life and wonder where the glimpses of my past will end up when I'm gone. Then a shiny antique catches my eye and I'm back living in the moment. Nice post.