Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sepia Saturday - Back Yards

For this Sepia Saturday Suggestion there is a perfectly marvelous photograph of a row of fenced back yards or back gardens stretching into the distance.

The back yard is that private bit of real estate where the resident can keep the barbeque grill and the clothes line. It's where cook-outs and the sun-tan sessions take place. It's where mom has her vegetable garden and dad has a little utility shed he calls his shop.

Lots of the snapshots collected in LOST GALLERY are taken outside in the yard. In the young years of the consumer camera, lots of light was needed to get a good clear photograph. So, often it was "That's a nice hat. Let's go outside and take your picture."

For many occasions it was the front steps that got the honor of hosting the pose, or the side of the house where the crepe myrtle provided a nice background. But quite often, it was the back yard that was the venue for the snapshot event. Why? Sure, sometimes just to take advantage of better light at certain times of day.

But, perhaps the reason for the Kodak Moment was some activity that was a little more private, and one didn't necessarily want to entertain the neighbors on both sides of the street. Or could be it was because the event was actually taking place in the back yard...or back garden, the patio, the veranda, the lanai, the courtyard, the terrace, the deck ... It's behind the house...

So today for Sepia Saturday, lets look at some photographs and see if we can determine what makes them back yard photographs.

Woman posing in the garden

Child in swing

The Swing Set for the kiddies was usually in the back yard where mom could corral the kids and keep an eye on them.

Three chldren on swing set
Back yard merry go round

There's also a tell-tale watering can in this shot. Mom's flower garden must be near by.

Posing in the back yard

Those plank fences kept the neighbor's dog at home. Later those back yard fences would be taller, with no spaces between the planks or slats and earn the title "Privacy Fence."

The happy gardener

Let's see, there's the clothes line, the slanted cellar door, the back porch and the dog. Yes, I would say this is the back yard.

Baby girl at the fence

Child in a tub

Now what could be finer than a cold bath in the privacy of your own back yard?

Boy in a wash tub
Nude at bath...

Love and Laundry

Let's see; clothes line, shed, dog, stepladder, smooch. Yep, it's the back yard.

Of Love
washday blues 08
Laundry day

I just don't know why the above photograph is so popular.


It's the family dog's domain.

Dog in the yard
Boy and his dog

Loki and her grass skirt
hula girl

Yep. Back yard.


Girl in sun-suit in back yard

Picnic table, plank fence, gas meter, garden hose; it's the back yard.

Personal Pinup - back yard pose
Mom in the back yard
Girl in a knit sun-suit

Out in back.

So slip out the back way to the
Sepia Saturday home page to find a variety of really fine back yards.

The most popular photographs most popular, Family Group, An album of the most requested photographs in the Lost Gallery.

Area 51 and a Half Area 51 and a Half You are probably not authorized to see these.

Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you! completely unaware of the photographer This is a collection of photographs that disappear on the way home from the photo processing shop.

And don't miss
Cabinet Card Gallery
One Man's Treasure
Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost
Vernacular Photography
The best
sites on the web.

And for postcards try

All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.

THE KIDS Lesson one. It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.

Dee and the Business School Dee and the Business School
The beautiful Dee. A curious story; What do you see?

Neiffel and Helvetica Typehigh

"What are they doing?"


  1. Another kaleidoscope of snapshots. Could hula skirts have become a fad without the camera?
    The term "back yard" is a very American phrase, as is front yard and side yard for that matter, because they were often the work area on America's farms and ranches. I bet you have some old photos of people sweeping the dirt in their front yard too. That's an activity that has disappeared along with the horse and wagon.

    1. Thanks Mike Brubaker. My wife is a Yorkshire lass and refers to it as the Back Garden. Cameras and grass skirts sure seem to go together. I don't know if I have a picture of someone sweeping the dirt but I know it was a practice early on, before sidewalks (footpaths) and curbs (kerbs) and such.

  2. I think that if we ever want to view happy photos for a theme, we should visit the backyard again! What a fine collection of living a wonderful life!

    1. Thanks Karen S. Good observation! Yes, nearly all of these people are smiling and having a good time!

  3. Am I correct in assuming these photos aren't of your family, not that it matters of course? I love the one of the little girl in the headscarf - it that the one that's popular, or the one of the guy pegging out the washing? If the latter, it must be either because of what he's doing, or because women enjoy his back view.

    1. Thanks Jo Featherston. Yes, LOST GALLERY is a collection of photographs rescued from junk shops and antique stores in several states. Actually both of those photographs you mentioned are quite popular.

  4. A happy collection again. I love the little girl hanging out her washing; haven’t we all done that? Helping mummy.

    1. Thanks Little Nell. I think the little girl with the handkerchief on her head it the cutest. Just like mommy.

  5. With the cheap lenses used in early Kodak Brownies and similar cameras, it was much more difficult to take successful photographs under low level lighting conditions indoors - hence the tendency to go out into the backyard for family shots. It didn't take long for people to realize that the backyard offered a little privacy to relax, let one's hair down, and takle photos enjoying oneself. Great collection, as always, thank you.

    1. Thanks Brett Payne. The back yard became the Cookout Kitchen, The Kiddie Corral, the private Tanning Salon and the photo studio for each home. There were gazebos, flower gardens, hot tubs, swing-sets and tool sheds. It's not a difficult subject to document in found photographs..

  6. Dogs and those old galvanized tubs --- always good for a back yard photo op.

    1. Thanks Joan. Yes, and fortunately there were lots of good, inexpensive cameras about to make a record of them.

  7. Had to laugh at those hula and swimsuit poses in the backyard - what were they thinking would be done with the photos!?
    I wonder if they'd be embarrassed now that we were all looking at them!

    1. Thanks Jackie van Bergen. Some years ago when I decided to start putting some of the collection on line, I thought about the effects and consequences of someone finding themselves published in an old photograph. I decided to use only photographs that were taken prior to about 1950 especially ones that might be embarrassing. With very few exceptions over the years, I have stuck to that rule. I try to avoid the severely embarrassing ones too. Sometimes a great aunt or a great great grandmother is recognized in the photographs that I have published. They have been returned to a family historian. I'm always happy when that happens. The photograph would never have found its way back home if I had not published it. And of course, if asked, I would remove any photograph that anyone felt was inappropriate.

      Most people are happy to see a relative or even themselves in the zest of life, smiling out of a photograph once thought lost forever.

  8. Some really great shots in this collection. Love the hula haole's. And a cowboy doing laundry! Of course it's popular. Who's ever seen a cowboy doing laundry? Perfection.

    And so many of these remind me of warm summer days in my childhood. Sitting in my grandparents backyard in the old metal washtub. I was as happy as could be in that tub.

    1. Thanks Tattered and Lost. Yes, I have similar fond memories. The wash tub and the hose in the shade of our old cottonwood tree.


  9. love the swimsuits !

    1. Thanks boundforoz. Yes, one of the most common snapshots that I find is of the girlfriend, sometimes in a new dress or coat but most often in a bathing suit.

  10. Another great collection of photos. I can't pick a favourite but the smiling kids bathing in the tubs are very appealing.

    1. Thanks Sharon. Yes, the kids in the tub are hard to resist.

  11. So many beauties in the back yard. You've reminded me of a few photos of my mother-in-law. She loved sunbathing and we loved taking photos of her enjoying the sun :)

    1. Thanks Alex Daw. You're right. There's many of them. A photograph of the girlfriend is one of the most common that I find in the antique store shoebox collections. I could have done a page of just back yard pin ups but I figured the variety of events was a better idea.



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