Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Sentimental Relatives

I love the art of collecting, don’t you?
I’m a bit of a fair-weather collector, only adding to the pile once every few months; but I love that thrill of discovery, of finding something that perhaps no one else has seen in decades.   

I collect old portraits, both posed and informal, from the turn of the century. I have quite a sentimental reason in doing so – as daft as it sounds, I often feel bad that their images have been left behind, whether through a deceased estate, or by distant relatives who have no idea who they are, and who then pass them on to antique stores with other semi-precious things. They sit in dusty boxes, hundreds crammed together, without a place to belong. So, I find out the portraits that are hidden amongst hundreds of others, the small one of a freckled-faced girl or a faded mother and child, and add them to my box of sentimental relatives.

Old photographs definitely have their own breed of charm. I love the posed sepia toned family portraits, the children (especially little boys) donned in ribbons, lace and buttoned leather shoes; the stern, wide-eyed faces of bearded men, sitting straight-backed in fancy parlours; and the daguerreotype miniatures of black clad bonneted grandmothers, curled, ribboned, and often stony-faced. I imagine that I can see hope on the faces of the young couples - the stylish young women standing at a noticeable distance from their formally seated husbands.

The photographs I save speak to me about the idea of family, heritage and history; I like that these unknown people loved, laughed, lived and died somewhere in the world, and now, by being added to my own small collection (and even though I don’t know a thing about them) they won’t be forgotten.

Are you a collector?



Photographer Mum said...

I love a good collection. I collect souvenir teaspoons spoons which tell a story of my life and where I have been from my early teens.
I love your collection of old photographs! Such sentiment and history and intrigue. Being a photographer, I can appreciate those photos even more. I really like the Sepia and Black & White and such formal poses. Both my dad's parents wrote books on their lives with photos and stories from their childhoods which I love reading.

Great post - visiting from weekend rewind

MultipleMum said...

What a gorgeous idea! The people that others forgot have been neatly tucked into your life. I think I would have to research them and try to find out their stories (I have no idea how I could). My Dad does our family history and has many photos from years gone by. They are true treasures. For my brother's 30th he was given five generations of the men in our family aged 30. It was amazing! Thanks for Rewinding x
PS I am not a collector but I am tempted to help you on your mission