Our Sepia Saturday theme this week is all about backgrounds, and I have to confess that I chose the theme because it is one of those aspects of old images that appeals to me the most. So often the click of a camera shutter not only captures the desired image - be it Auntie Doris or grandma's new motorbike - but, like a trawler man's net, it pulls up a whole historical catch as well. The result can be something like the example which I used for the theme image with wartime sailors and park railings, or it may be something like the following picture of Sepia Saturday's favourite Auntie, Miriam Fieldhouse.
Here she is, leaning against a lamp-post at the corner of some street or other. But look into the background and you will find it is as full of industrial archeology as a theme park. There is an old steam shunter that seems to be as at home on a road than on a railway track. And there is the kind of old wagon that used to be the workhorse of the road haulage industry. One of Uncle Frank's useful annotations suggests that this is Vauxhall Station in Yarmouth, a station which has been more or less rebuilt in the decades since the lamp-post picture was taken.
It is not just for industrial archeology that you might want to go searching for in the backgrounds of your old photographs. Sometimes, there is high art to be discovered as well. My main photograph is an off-cut from a photograph of Cousin Sid and is marked on the reverse "Christmas Eve 1954" But forget Sid, and forget the two squaddies : look at the kissing couple. Pure art. Whoever took the photograph managed to capture a classic image : an image Cartier-Bresson would, I am sure, have been proud of.
You can find many more backgrounds by going to the SEPIA SATURDAY BLOG and following the links.