Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sepia Saturday 100 : 190 KB Of Pleasure


So here we are at last - my Sepia Saturday 100 post. It wasn't a particularly difficult task to decide which photograph to use for this post : the above photograph of my mother and father - Gladys and Albert - seemed to tick almost all of the boxes. It is an image I have featured before and it is one of my favourite old photographs. Both Albert and Gladys were born in 1911 : 100 years ago. And you can almost see the figure of 100 spelled out in the tandem wheels and struts. But, more than anything, it illustrates the wealth of the photographic image as an art form, as a record of social history, and as a stimulant to the memory.

The size of the above image file is about 190KB : not particularly large by modern standards, but still the equivalent of twenty or thirty pages of formatted text. The relationship between the sizes of text and image files is a modern proof of the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. But those words, those bits, those bytes are not wasted : for within the humble image can be found a treasure-trove of information. Look at those socks on my father and the way the pattern is woven into the thick wool. Look at the face in the window on the left : observing the scene whilst drinking her morning cup of tea. Look at the sign for Castrol Oil attached to the bay-window of a terraced house like a fish out of a watery soup. Look at the bicycle pump, the hats, the cast iron fences : set your eye and your imagination free to graze the rich pastures of those 190KB

That's the magic of images, And the particular magic of old images is that you are allowed to wander through a foreign land : the past. It is the best entertainment you can get without picking up a pint glass. It is Sepia Saturday.


To see all of the other posts celebrating Sepia Saturday 100 go to the SEPIA SATURDAY BLOG and follow the centenary links.

52 comments:

  1. The bike does look like two zeros and I hadn't noticed all the things you mentioned until you did but I do think a photo is worth 100 words, at least.

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  2. Alan, I'm amazed at all the near-perfect photographs you have of your parents. This is the first time I've seen this one. It's a treat to see them on a tandem, getting ready for a ride.

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  3. What's odd to me is that the photo looks like it could have been taken yesterday and by no means looks to be 100 years old. Amazing. Your parents look so modern.

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  4. This is truly a wonderful photo, even without the emotional meaning that it has for you, it is a piece of social history as you say. What a wonderful photo to have of your parents.

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  5. The details are what makes the story. This couple is very stylishly dressed for a fun occasion and that's how they did things then.
    My father was born in 1912 and my mother in 1914 so I should get busy with some old photos.

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  6. Great photo, does look more modern than one would believe, tried one of those two seaters once too, stinks when they other person makes you do all the work..haha

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  7. That is one great photo. The perfect 100th.

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  8. That's a great image. My father was born in 1911 and my mother in 1910. I can't imagine them on a tandem bicycle, though they belonged to a horseback riding club when they were young.

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  9. Truly a magic image.
    Nancy Javier

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  10. A wonderful post, Alan. Thanks for contributing Sepia Saturday to the blogosphere.

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  11. Absolutely brilliant, Alan. I'm guessing that your parents were members of a local cycling club. They were very popular around the time this photograph was taken, I believe.

    Have you ever ridden a tandem, yourself?

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  12. What a great old shot and taken with an old format camera the film negative was probably the equivalent of about 25MB of detail - and those on the bike would not know what you are talking about; be interesting to know if they'd care. Probably much happier on the tandem than sat in front of a PC.

    Nice one.

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  13. Beautiful choice.

    I have a friend who will do posts called -- for example -- "3000 words about Wednesday," which will consist of three photos. I, being the curmudgeonly sort, always amend the old saying to "A good picture is worth 1000 words."

    This one is.

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  14. A classic photo with some classic stories to go with it. Maybe one day my brother will tell you the one about when my mother got off the tandem to rest her legs at a set of traffic lights. The lights turned green and my father cycled the next ten miles without her!

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  15. Why is there a Castrol sign sticking out from the last house in the row? B&B for engineers?

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  16. Also, can you see the curtain twitcher drinking a cup of tea in the leftymost window?

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  17. There they are, so happy and carefree on a bicycle built for two! What a happy moment this seems to be! My post for this fab 100 Moment in Sepia Saturday comes up tonight! I'm really excited to see what everyone is coming up with....!

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  18. Excellent choice, Alan! This captures so many interesting details, as you have pointed them out. I am particularly in awe of those socks!

    I'm afraid I didn't keep to the "100" parameter, since I had to share my discovery from the other day, but I join with you in raising a glass to the wonderful collaboration that is Sepia Saturday!

    Thank you Alan. Thank you all!

    Kat

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  19. A great way to mark the hundredth Sepia Saturday. This is a picture so full of detail and yet looking so fresh. If it was mine I’d have it framed so that I could look at it every day. Thank you for this and for Sepia Saturday.

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  20. A great way to commemorate 100. Thank you for reminding us to look, really look, at photos for the subtle (and not so subtle) clues they give us about the past.

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  21. I can just recall being taken about on a seat on the crossbar of my Father's bike. My brother would be seated at the rear and my sister in the back seat on my Mother's bike. Unfortunately no pictures were ever taken. If there was, I suspect it would contain a very little image and a great deal of background.

    I've noticed from your family pictures that they are all particularly well framed, sharp and perfectly exposed. There must have been a very good photographer in the family.

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  22. Oh such a wonderful photo! You point such detail that draws out attention. I am intrigued by their matching caps and wonder who might have made them for both? It does look so modern too as though it could be posed today! Great selection and many more ahead!

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  23. A very good photo. Please explain the funny hats, and tell us it was taken in 1941?? We love those bare legs! and the fancy socks. Now you can put it back in the shoe box?

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  24. I love that photo! Do you hear of many babies in 2011 being named Gladys or Albert? Here, the names change so much that one can often know which decade someone was born in just by their name...due to what's trendy when.

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  25. A perfect essay describing the very heart of old photos and imagination! Bravo!

    Many years ago, my wife introduced me to a tandem, very much like your parent's she says, on an evening out in east London. Because I was the heavier, I was put at the helm, but as a Yank barely familiar with British Pedestrian Rules of the Road, I spent the entire time in high anxiety for fear of collision or worse. Something about tandems shall always remain British.

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  26. I rode tandems for years - so did my grandfather. I raced them too. This one would be known as a 'ladyback', and just to b even more technical the frame design is a 'single marathon' - one tube crossing the frame.

    Posted today on your sepia saturday.

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  27. ..and your Mum's trust in your Dad.To Balance stationary on the back of a bike with her feet off the ground.....
    Thank You Alan For The Wonderful Saturday that is Sepia.

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  28. Thank you Alan for taking us into another world where we can let our minds wander in thought of bygone treasures.

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  29. You are a great leader and inspiration Alan. SS has been a great experience for me. Looking for photos, gathering info about my family. Keeps me on my toes. I could not help but wish your mom had on slacks of blue jeans, of course not the style then, but I worried about her nice legs getting all scratched and bruised up. On to the next 100
    QMM

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  30. What a PERFECT photo for the 100 celebration! I agree the photo is a wonderland of ideas to consider. You could write a novel from it...

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  31. Alan: A great leader of the SS? I'd be careful of last last but one comment. You'll be invading Lancashire next...

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  32. CB: it will be for their own good because everyone knows that what a Lancastrian really wants to be is a Yorkshire man (well except for the female ones who want to be Yorkshire women and a few of the men who want to travel down that route ... A funny place Lancashire)

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  33. I'm full of admiration for those who can ride a tandem. But do they exist any more?
    I lovely picture to have of your parents born a hundred years ago and a gem to present in this hundredth sepia post.
    Thanks for all the work you put into this blog, Alan. It can be no easy task to maintain the high standard of the prompts you give us all.
    Pedal on to the next 100!

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  34. What a wonderful picture of your parents! Congratulations on your 100.

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  35. It does undoubtedly demonstrate the power of a photographic image. I just wish some of our family photos approached that standard.

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  36. Lovely tandem and look ta your Mum;s pretty white socks - just imagine the washing scenario she had to go through without a washing machine and drier :-)

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  37. What a lovely photo. That little face in the window adds a special element. The photographic evidence from this and previous posts would suggest that your parents led a fun-filled life including lots of adventures by motorcycle, bicycle, and car. I can't help but envy them a little.

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  38. Great example of the minutiae an 'ordinary' photo can provide. Thank you for it, and the blog!

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  39. Alan, this is a wonderful photo of your parents. Thanks so much for being here each week. Congrats on #100!

    Kathy M.

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  40. This photo is wonderful; so full of character and rich in story. The more I look, the more the detail speaks to me. Love the face peering lady. Every neighbourhood has one! Here's to a century of celebrating Albert and Gladys!

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  41. I was quite taken with your Dad's socks, but on close inspection the little face with the cup of tea really grabbed my attention! A lovely photo of your parents, and as you say, a piece of social history. Jo

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  42. A wonderful pic for the 100th Sepia Saturday! Congratulations!

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  43. Yes, the perfect picture for the 100th, with the wheels making the zeros. The cute little hats do make it seem like they belonged to a cycling club. Love all the details you pointed out that I might have missed.
    I also love Sepia Saturday. Thanks!
    Barbara

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  44. Splendid!!
    And the fact they were both born a century ago, one daresay this !00th was meant for you.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  45. I love to see images of places I know well, nad how very different they were. Our street in 1890 looks so new and raw, and so many wonderful parking spaces in it ! :)

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  46. It is a marvelous photo. I love the socks your dad is wearing. They looked like they liked to be outdoors and being active.

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  47. A most appropriate photograph to use. I've often wondered what it would be like to ride a tandem bicycle, but the opportunity to do so has never arisen. I do like the view through the bay window of that girl drinking tea - I think there's a boy behind her too. The leather seats on the bike, the very solid frame, the quaint flag fluttering from the front mudguard, the large carrier bag at the back, and the old-style dynamo on the back wheel to poer the headlamp up front - I suppose they're all pointers to what I presume is an early 1930s date for the photo.

    Thank you again, Alan, not only for the huge effort that's gone into providing stimulation for Sepia Saturday posters week after week, but also for your own contributions, which never fail to captivate and inspire. Wishing you a very entertaining next hundred weeks. Regards, Brett

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  48. ... not to mention the amusing sparring between inhabitants of those northerly counties.

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  49. I enjoyed this photo..I was drawn to the matching hats..there must be a story about them:)

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  50. I can recall asking my mother to knit me some argyle socks and she refused because they were - for her - too much of an annoyance to get right, lol. Those socks in the photo were the first thing I noticed. I love this photograph and you are right, it has a wealth of detail if we just slow down to look.

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  51. I am far behind on my reading, but a hearty congratulations, & a very apt selection for the occasion! Here's to 100 more.

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