Saturday, July 29, 2017

"If a picture paints a thousand words,

 then a let a picture inspire a thousand words.”
 ~Nicholas Boyd Crutchley

Found some framed photographs in my reorganizing because I always buy the orphan photos, and it made me think of someone in 100 years...what will they have?  Photos on some phones?  I am sure there are those who still print out photos, but how many have them framed and mounted those pictures behind glass and on walls?  It is the old good intentions until life continues to wash up on your shore!

And how many people get professional portraits done?  Periodically I do see photographers and families on the beach posing for the summer vacation photos.  I have a former student who is a professional photographer...No Filter Photography...always happy to feature a young entrepreneur!
But I look at these antique photos and try to imagine who they are, what they did, and why they are lost in the auction world or flea market world.  I am always drawn to photographs...maybe it is a English professor in me who blends pictures and words.
Sometimes the back provides some clues or information.  This photo showed it cost $1.20 to frame and the deposit was 25 cents!  Who were these men?
 Many times you will see the backs of old framed works have been cut open.  There is always the chance that there is something of value sealed in that frame whose secrets died with its owner perhaps. 

A collector who spent $4 at a Pennsylvania flea market for a painting because he liked the frame found himself the possessor of a first printing of the Declaration of Independence. It brought $2,420,000 at a Sotheby's auction.  David N. Redden, head of the book and manuscript department at Sotheby's in Manhattan described the document, found behind the painting when the collector took the frame apart, as an "unspeakably fresh copy" of the declaration. "The fact that it has been in the backing of the frame preserved it," he said. Of the 24 copies known to survive, only 3 are in private hands, he added.

Portable wooden frames as we recognize them today come from 12th-century Europe. At first they were sculpted from the same piece of wood that backed the paintings they surrounded, but eventually it became clear that building a frame separately would be cheaper and more efficient. Soon, furniture craftsmen were attaching mitered wooden strips to artworks after they were complete.  The growing number of amateur photographers in the mid-19th century also created a boom in homemade frames.

In the United States, the first picture frames were made from simple pieces of wood made like generic wall moldings, known today as the Early American Empire style. Eventually, American framers developed their own motifs based on the country’s growing agricultural prowess, incorporating imagery of tobacco leaves, corn, and wheat, in contrast to older European motifs such as acanthus leaves.
 That wooden back is on the photo below.  An interesting mix...2 men...5 women...and not a clue as to who is who...mother...father...maybe daughter and son-in-law or son and daughter-in-law.  They always look so selfie smiles on these folks!
 The women below present another puzzle...who are they?  What did they do?
The next time you see some antique photos, either loose or framed, imagine the story behind those faces!  Maybe even adopt them and make them part of your own family.  Years ago a customer bought some framed photos of women whose outfits and expressions she loved.  She hung them in a hallway, and at Thanksgiving that year various relatives talked about the women as though they really had been in the family!  So, they were claimed!

“Photographs are a bridge to the past. Black and white reminders of the way things used to be. Links to those who are no longer with us. Priceless treasures.”
~Jim Starlin


Guernsey Girl said...

This post is one of the most interesting I've read for a long time. I have framed photographs of all my ancestors round my home and particularly love one of my grandmother, who was born on December 3 1898 and died on December 3 1996, which is set in an old wooden frame. I am also fascinated by photo albums that appear at antique fairs, though I rather wish they were being treasured by following generations.

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