Friday, August 26, 2011

Sepia Saturday 89 : Snaps 1950


One of the interesting consequences of exploring the "Family Stash" of old photographs on a week-by-week basis is that you slowly build up a picture of time and events, rather like you do when you are putting a jig-saw puzzle together. You may recall that I assumed that my last Sepia Saturday photograph had been taken in 1950. However, this week here is a picture which shows my mother (along with Auntie Annie) in Bridlington in that same year. Now, two things are as certain as the waning of the moon : back in those days there was only ever one family holiday each year, and as far as our family was concerned they alternated between Bridlington and New Brighton. So I need to amend the suggested date on the last Sepia Saturday photograph to 1951.

One of the fascinating things about this picture is that it clearly shows the Box Brownie camera that must have been used to take most of the other photographs in the stash. This particular photograph was taken, however, by one of the team of photographers who would wander around Bridlington in the summer months taking "snaps". The developed photographs would be displayed in the window of the photographers' shop just next to the harbour and if you liked the image, you could go in and buy a copy. There is an excellent description of the Bridlington Snaps Company on the fascinating Walking Pictures Blog.

Now I have scanned it and enlarged it, I have come to think of it as one of my very favourite photographs of my mother. It is a picture worthy of Cartier-Bresson at his best.

34 comments:

  1. I can see why it’s a favourite! Look how well dressed they both are; best frocks, the turban, the gloves, and all for a day at the seaside. I’ve got a ‘series' of snaps by seaside photographers of my grandparents in Mablethorpe. You can see them age year by year and grow stouter. The hairstyles hardly changed though, except Granddad’s got thinner, and they were always carrying that bag with the thermos and newspaper.

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  2. What a happy picture! I well rememeber those Brownie Box cameras. My grandmother had one, and she used to brush our hair and make us stand up straight to have our photos taken. I can still see her, camera in one hand and hairbrush in the other. The resulting photos were posed and miserable!

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  3. Men's suits of that era always looked as it they had been slept in for a few years. Had no-one heard of an iron and a damp tea towel?

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  4. When I was growing up in the early 1940s, men didn't have the spare money to have suits, coats or trousers dry cleaned so they wore them for years without being properly cleaned and pressed. That all changed when the steam iron came out.

    I am always stunned at high school class photographs. The farther you go back in time, the older the students look.

    Over here, in our country, during the War Years, the ladies had dresses made, and blouses too. They even used a pencil to have someone draw a seam up the back of their legs to look like "nylon" hose on their legs.

    My mother made a lot of dresses out of everything from flour sacks to cheap cotton sold at the dime stores. The young ladies wanted to be in fashion.

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  5. two very happy ladies!!

    how handy that the bridlington snappers dated their prints!

    is the ol' box brownie still in the family?

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  6. that brownie was the first thing I noticed! What a wonderful casual snap...I love it!

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  7. i'm sure, if he were still alive, the photographer would be pleased to hear you comparing him to Cartier-Bresson, nothing less...
    :)~
    it is indeed a great picture.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  8. In earlier years men seemed to wear suits for everything unless they had an occupation that required other attire. It always surprises me to see men lying around on the ground and camping etc. in suits.

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  9. These "walking pictures" have a character that you just won't see in other photographs. It must have something to do with the environment, perhaps the holiday atmosphere, the fact that the photographer is unknown to the subjects, and possibly that the subjects are unaware that they are about to have their portrait taken until seconds before it happens. It's also nice to have evidence of the camera used in your own family's holiday pictures. A great choice, thank you for sharing it.

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  10. It's always interesting to see our parents as real people, outside the family structure. And nice to have the photographs to remind us. This photo says much about the times. Love those old box cameras.

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  11. My parents had a Brownie similar to that and I was so sad when I learned they had given it to a charity shop. Not that I would have ever taken photos with it, but it would have been a neat nostalgic item to show off from time to time.

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  12. That is a beautiful happy photo. I can see why it would be a favourite.

    I look at what they are wearing and have mixed feelings. Back then, everyone looked as though they took care of themselves and had a little self pride, but would I really want to dress smartly for the seaside? I'm torn!

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  13. That certainly is a smashing photo, Alan. Mum and auntie, striding out and taking the sea air in the sunshine. Priceless.

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  14. Alan,
    You do have the most fascinating collection of sepias!! Sometimes I find an old photo shot while antiquing and buy it because of the excellent way it brings out a thought of character of the subject. Have a great weekend! ;)

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  15. A fine photo, Alan. Those seaside photographers did some good work. I wonder what he said that made them smile.

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  16. Oh Alan I can remember having a camera like that in our family. In the 50's a vacation was unheard of in my family. But we had a camera. That is the way they do photos on cruise ships. They just shoot them then display them in an area and you can buy which ever ones you want. I didn't get to do SS today since I have been busy all week helping get ready for today's big charity picnic at Nazareth campus.

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  17. Oh I found a shot to apply to my post. I really don't want to miss SS.
    QMM

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  18. I Remember Those Men (& it always WAS men?)Who Would Lurk Along The PROM_PROM_PROM ready to snap.Infact,I seem to remember they would always take the photo & then ask if you wanted it! I wonder what became of the unbought negatives?
    Your Mum Looks To Be Having A Happy Time.

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  19. One of my dear neighbors was born there!

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  20. We had an Auntie Annie in our family. I don't know if she wore a turban but I do hope she did.

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  21. Great photo of the sisters enjoying their annual holiday. I too got a lovely surprise when I scanned a small photo for my Sepia Saturday post this week! Jo

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  22. I knew immediately it had to be one of those street photographers. I'm fascinated to see them. Your mother and Auntie look pleasantly surprised. So often the subjects just look annoyed or startled. They are a category that people collect.

    Yours is lovely.

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  23. I love these candid snaps and capturing the usual camera, Box Brownie, is an added bonus. How many of us have pictures of our relatives taking pictures but unfortunately their faces are obscured.

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  24. Yes indeed a stroll on holiday time and the hair wrapped in the scarf too. I admire your discipline in continuing one photo a time. We will return home next week and then I should bet back to Sepia posting. For now I can read and enjoy.

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  25. A fine photo moment and story. And to have a pic of the camera is a rare find.

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  26. Alan, what a wonderful photo ... they look so happy!

    I know what you mean about piecing things together ... I have scanned so many of my husband's family photos that I'm getting pretty good about the whens and wheres.

    I look forward to learning about your plans for the 100th week!

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

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  27. A wonderful photo--I can see why you like it so well!

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  28. They do look happy - and there are so many wonderful details: the man in the background, the clothing, the camera, the bag, the landscape. How amused they would be by our observations.

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  29. What a great thing to have. And these days when we're all even more awash with commodities, it's quite common to have a photo of someone holding their camera. I wonder how common it is among older photos, when people had "the" camera as opposed to "their" camera?

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  30. Great photo Alan, back to a time when going on holiday was no doubt much simpler than it is today, and the pleasures were simpler too ... and possibly more appreciated than today.

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  31. A charming picture! Sometimes the 'snaps' are much better than the formal poses.

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  32. Oh, aren't they so beautiful. No matter what women dress like now, no matter the hair color, or various treatments, they will never look that lovely. There's such life and spirit in your mother and aunt.

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  33. Thanks for the mention of our Walking Pictures site. This image was taken on the South side of Brid, just along from the Spa, and was a very popular spot for the photographers to 'lurk' - possibly as for some reason the South side was seen as a bit classier than the North (certainly this was always the way my Gran played it when we were kids and used to stay there in the 60s!).

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  34. How exciting it must have been to stop by the photographers shop and see if he got a worthwhile photo! This one is perfect, it has relaxed carefree look to it, beautiful women:)

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