Saturday, November 15, 2014

Old family photographs

Hey, Caitlin here. I’m back for ‘sidetrack saturday’ and today I’d like to discuss old family photographs. I consider myself lucky that my family has so many old photos to look through. While albums of me and my siblings are fun and nostalgic, what I find really intriguing are the older family photos. Old photographs of people I never got to meet, who were living their lives in decades that are now long gone, are inspirational to me. 

If you let yourself be creative enough, you can start writing stories in your mind about the people, and completely transport yourself back to the time that photo was taken. What was on her mind? What was his personality like? Why are they all wearing those hats?! This is one of my favorite games and it’s essentially cheap time travel. Last week, my mom and I were going through old photographs and I was enjoying my old photo game. 

Many of them caught my eye, and I loved plotting out little stories about the people in the photos and what their daily lives entailed. My mom and I spent a lot of time discussing what we knew about the people, but most often, we just had a name, and an idea of how we are related. That’s it. Sometimes we don’t even have a name, and nothing else to go on but what we can see in the photograph.

One of the photos that really interested us was this portrait of a female relative. It was probably taken in the early 1900s. We found her name, Mary, written next to the photograph. The first thing that caught our attention was her striking and intense gaze. I found myself envying her hair most of all, though. (It’s so perfectly controlled, how did she contain her curly hair? Did people use products on hair back then? I’d like to know what she used, I could use advice). Also, her posture is so perfect it almost hurts my back to look at her rigid pose. She looks beautiful and graceful, but also very alert. Honestly, she should probably put the caffeine down, and this is coming from someone who drank five cups of tea yesterday. With her observant and amazed expression, she seems almost bird-like. My uneducated guess is that she was just amazed of the photography taking place, and this wasn’t her natural expression or pose, ha. It’s such a gift to have this photograph, though. 

My mom decided to do a painting inspired by the photograph, which you can see at the top of this blog entry. It’s an oil painting, and it’s 9 by 12 inches. Mom opted for loose, thick paint strokes and a more relaxed and natural expression for Mary. I love the color scheme she picked to represent her. It’s tricky with black and white photos, so you have to be creative. The cold blues and teal in the background look great next to her porcelain skin, and strawberry blonde hair. The touches of purple in the background accentuate her violet eyes and magenta lips. Although she altered Mary’s expression, it still feels like the same woman to me. Mary looks beautiful, observant (but no longer amazed and bird-like), and has retained her elegant posture. And I still want her hair. Seriously, I need help with my hair. 


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