Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Album - Christmas Gathering

Here are three snapshots that were in a bag with about fifty other assorted prints. Judging from the format (square, deckle-edge), the photo-lab's stamp on the reverse and of course the content, they are related and apparently taken just a few moments apart.

It's a family get together for Christmas. It's daylight outside so let's say it is Christmas Morning or Day, not Christmas Eve.

There is more than enough body language here to keep an expert busy for a while.

What can you read into these?

Christmas group

Here we see first on the left an open gas flame heater. Not so popular now days.

There is a little girl sitting with good posture on the left, not affected by today's cell-phone, game console, hunch.

There is a boy in his favorite cowhide jacket. There is a Folgers Coffee can on the floor next to his foot.

Christmas group

On the coffee table, (visible in all three pictures) is what appears to be a camera.

The four adults sitting on the couch apparently didn't change places in any of the three shots.

This on seems to have at least partly posed. The lady standing, on the right, is headed for her chair and is seated in the third frame.


This one feels more candid than the center print.

The body language changes in this one. It appears there are territories being outlined.

The man in the white shirt, squatting at the right end of the couch appears here for the first time. He may be the photographer in the other two.

Just for a little entertainment, I combined the three photographs just to see what it would look like. The three were taken from almost the same spot, so with a little stretching and nudging, the room looks like this. Only the boy in the cowhide jacket appears twice.

Christmas group

Can't get enough? Be sure to visit the Christmas Collection!

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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.

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  1. Coffee can on the floor, takes me back. My maternal grandfather chewed tobacco and had coffee cans around the house. It was disgusting, but I look back on it now and it was funny.

    Looking at this crew I can't help but think of the split screen Thanksgiving in Annie Hall. One side uptight Anglo Saxon group, the other side a boisterous Jewish group. I can remember sitting in the theater identifying with the Anglo Saxon folk while my friend was identifying with the Jewish family. We were both looking at the opposite group thinking "Oh my."

    1. Thanks Tattered and Lost. I remember the scene in Annie Hall too but your memory of it is precious. That's a funny story! Our family Thanksgiving days varied from year to year as I recall, depending on who the guests were.

    2. I don't think we had guests until we moved to Hawaii and then when old friends of my dad passed through they'd end up there for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Mostly it was just the old Anglo Saxon Christmas.

    3. Thanks Tattered and Lost. That's pretty much our story too. I think we managed a few "family" get together Christmases with my uncles on my father's side The scene on this page could have come from one of those. But mostly we just stayed home. Though most Christmas and Thanksgiving events are just a hazy blur in my childhood memories, I can remember two occasions specifically: one where a kitchen chair collapsed under a guest and another where the feature of the evening was (at his insistence) an uncle's new 35mm camera. Kids remember the oddest things sometimes.

  2. A super reconstruction! It's the hand on the knee that really adds to the drama. I have lots of photos where the question is "who's holding the camera?" It would make an interesting photo detective series.

    1. Thanks Mike Brubaker. It was really a fun project. When I find a series of photographs taken from the same spot it is always tempting to combine them just to see if any other details turn up. Yes, the question of who is holding the camera comes up often. In photographs taken say in a park of three people, two women and one man, it is probably the other boyfriend holding the camera. Occasionally I find a second photograph where two of the people are the same but there's a third new one. They must have taken turns with the camera.

    2. These days with auto timers it's just as likely that the photographer is in the shot. Really screws up things for the future. The invisible photographer will be a thing of the past.

    3. Thanks Tattered and Lost. You are right. The shutter timer is a built in to cameras now. Back then it was not a regular feature on most of the box cameras. On some of the better 35mm cameras the feature was included but difficult to use. There was also a timer that could be added to a shutter cable release, but it would not work on all cameras. And yes, the digital camera really screws up a lot of things in the photograph memory department: No photo albums to place on the coffee table, no shoe box collections of baby pictures up on the closet shelf, no handful of prints to pass around to friends. In most cases, there must be some electronic device around such as a computer monitor or a TV, in order to view the photographs, unless you are satisfied with those little 2x3 inch camera screens. Yes there is much to lament but for those living in the digital world, the loss is unknown. "Those that know, know that they know. Those that don't know, don't know they don't know."



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