Everybody's got a closet somewhere loaded with old photos. Photos of grandparents or old aunts and uncles, some of whom you don't even know, but each of those photos has a story to tell whether it's about your family or just the past in general.
In order to share those photos your best bet is to scan them. Scanning old photos is easy to do with the right equipment. Today's scanners are easy to use and the software packaged with them is easier than it was in the past. Basically you place your photo on the scanner, close it, and hit the scan button. The scanner runs and when it's finished the photo is saved to your computer. Scanning software is pretty basic but if you have a program like Adobe you can touch up those old photos and take out the wrinkles or age lines that have gathered over the years. You can restore color or take it out. Of course there are a myriad of effects you can add too, but this hub isn't about scanning old photos, it's about the photos themselves.
I'd like to share some old photos and give as much of their story as I can.
The photo of my mother's grandmother is over 90 years old. It was taken by a professional photographer in a photographer's studio. She was truly a matriarch, note the symbolic setting of a chair/throne. She had 13 children but I'm not sure how many made it to adulthood. If you look over the photo starting at the top, her hair is up in a bun. Her glasses are wire rimmed and she has pierced ears. There is a lot of detail in her dress with just a little bit of white showing out her collar. I don't know if she made the dress herself but do know she was a seamstress who made baptismal gowns. The hat is very period.
Babies in Vintage Photos
This is a photo of my mother's older sister. It was probably taken around 1910 - 1912. The outfits babies wore in those days were pretty elaborate and not just when their pictures were being taken. The hand knit sweater and the dress with the lace trim. It is often hard to distinguish between a baby boy and a baby girl of that era because they were often dressed alike as babies. It is surprising that they used professional photographers so much way back when. Every occasion was celebrated with a photo by a professional photographer.
Photograph in an Amusement Park
First of all, Canarsie had an amusement area back in the 20s, 30s and 40s. This picture was taken around 1918. The boy, my Uncle, died of rheumatic fever after being sent home from the war with a second bout of the fever. That was in 1947. My aunt, as you've seen in other pictures became a Sister of Charity when she was little more than sixteen. Again, a professional photograph but obviously not in a regular studio but in one set up in an amusement area.
This is a Confirmation picture taken about 1913. Seems white stockings were still in vogue as was long hair on young girls. The laurel around her head and the flowers are in celebration of the confirmation and becoming an adult in the Catholic Church.
The Famous Child on a Pony Photograph
This photo is my aunt at age 10 on a pony. Probably taken about 1920. In Brooklyn and Queens back then someone would bring ponies around for children to sit on. Of course you paid a fee to sit on the pony and then paid to have your photo taken. Her immaculate white stockings match her white dress and her long hair is pinned up in the style of the day. The pony doesn't really seen to care one way or another even though he is standing on a sidewalk right in front of someone's house.
Hat, Gloves and Pocketbook
This little girl from 1936 is dressed and ready to go. Her outfit is complete with gloves, hat and pocketbook. Notice the length of her dress and her shoes...hard walking shoes of the day. The building behind her also shows some nice detail in the stonework. I don't know if she was a friend of the family or a relative but her picture was among the family photos found in storage.
Country Tavern in Ulster County
This is a photo of a country tavern in Ulster County, probably taken in the 1940s if not earlier. The tavern was a small tavern downstairs and living quarters upstairs. A note of interest is my grandparents owned this establishment and my grandfather had his appendix removed on the kitchen table in this building, oh, and my father was born upstairs, second window from the right.
This portrait (though taken by a professional photographer which can be used because they have long since gone out of business) is again such a portrait of the time. The hair, the pearl necklace and the loose fitting sheath. This picture was probably taken around 1915. The hairstyle was very in at that time. Everyone was wearing 'bobs' and using curling irons to get the wave in their hair. Yes, I said curling irons but...they were thin metal curling irons with wooden handles. The metal portion was placed on the gas in a gas stove and heated. Before using on your hair you would open and close the curling iron a few times to make sure it wasn't too hot for your hair. My mother actually had one she used on my hair when I was a little girl and no I am not 100 years old!
Original, Creased Photo
As you can see I haven't used my photo editing software to take out the cracks or natural aging in any of the photographs. This one of my Mom is again one taken by a professional photographer but apparently not a very good one since his hand is in the front of the photo. Print dresses were definitely in in the forties. Her hairdo can be seen on any number of actresses from that time period as well. it was probably taken in the early 40s. If you've seen any movies from that period you'll know I'm right.
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Do you have old family photos that not only show your family but show you about the period in which they live?
If you like old or vintage things you might like reading about Will Rogers, a 1920s icon.
You can read about Will Rogers in my hub Why Will Rogers? He was a great humorist and is still quoted today, 79 years after his death.
Then there's my hub entitled Vintage Photos = Part II, more of what I have here...vintage family photos that tell the tale of the past.