Behind the Camera

2015 03-02 Old Stuff DayIf there was a fire and I could save only one thing, it would be a box of pictures.

These snippets of life are treasured moments of my ancestors and they mean the world to me.

Many of the pictures in my collection are far from perfect.

During my learning curve I often took blurry, off-center, red-eye shots. Some of them are so terrible they make me laugh out loud.

During my ancestors’ learning curve, outdoor pictures often include the photographer’s shadow. The shadow forms all have the same stance; arms down, elbows out, head bent.

So when I saw this picture of my uncle posing with his new camera, it made me smile.

6 thoughts on “Behind the Camera

  1. Me too. My dad has been really sick this winter and my parents moved just before that, leaving their photograph albums temporarily in an unheated pole barn. Now they have been there too long, and we don’t know the condition they are in.


  2. It made me smile too, Laura! And it reminded me of a series of pictures I have that tell a story about a camera. My mother tells me that my late father’s mother loved to take pictures, and she developed them herself. My grandfather was a civil engineer, working in some very isolated places in WA, OR, ID, and BC, and Alb, Canada. If she wanted to see her photos, she would have to develop them, as she couldn’t just take them to the corner drug store! This series dates to 1907, and must have been taken by one of her many sisters. My grandparents are in the yard of her family home, and in the first, he is holding a wrapped box as they walk. In the next one, they’re sitting in the grass, her skirts swirling around her, and he’s beaming as her hands are in the box. Then she pulls out the camera, and is beaming at him. In the fourth and final picture, she takes a picture of her toddler sister, who’s wearing a fancy short dress, and has a huge bow in her corkscrew curls. From the dated pictures around them in the album, this was probably a birthday present to her. They were married in 1911. He already had a camera, and they sent pictures and postcards back and forth as he traveled for his job before their marriage. I never met these grandparents, who died before my birth, so the pictures they took mean a lot to me.


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