Saturday, April 5, 2008

Vintage Inspiration




I have the ideal relationship with my local consignment shop. Jone and Larry, the owners, always greet me with a smile, an offer of a cup of coffee, and as often as not they hand me money for the little things I have taken there to be sold. I love loitering by the counter, chatting with the other regulars, catching up on local news, and browsing through the dolls, housewares, books, and general odds and ends the shop features.

It took me a while though to see what a treasure trove it is of paper ephemera, old pamplets, magazines, and photographs. Lately I take my coffee to a file drawer in the back room and riffle through the old black and white photos. It's sad, all these snapshots of friends, family gatherings, soldiers with their parents or sweethearts, children. None of them is identified with a name, a year, or anything to suggest who these people are. I like to adopt pictures now and then, take them home, scan them, crop the images, and then see if I can draw the scenes. Their smiles, their clothing, their poses all speak to me. Scanned and enlarged the photos suddenly are easier to see, the people clearer and somehow more familiar. I hope to do a series of these unknown people from times past, and bring them out of the darkness of the back room file drawer.


7 comments:

Fenrisar said...
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frenchfryedfreud said...

Please do.
I love old photos too. More for the way they capture the time & sense like you say than for the people in them specifically.
Not long ago, at a flea market, I bought a candid snapshot of a young man getting a beer from a fridge & it was obviously a late 40's, early 50's kitchen frozen like a bug in amber.
From the clock on the wall, the table & chairs set, the old stove, the things inside the fridge, the fridge itself and the clothes & haircut on the man it was like a step back in time. More so than a posed tableau I believe because the place was kind of a mess & that in itself carries its own information in a way sanitized portraits never do. Not that anyone would deliberately pose in their kitchen...
The photos did not have a price & I was leery of paying too much for it but they only asked for 50 cents. She asked if the person in the shot was a relative of mine & plainly thought I was a little nuts for buying it at all, cheap or not, if I didn't even know the guy.

Apparently she found them stashed in an attic & put them out on the longshot chance that a relative (of the folks in the pics) might see them & want them.

The idea that a complete stranger would think an old photo of somebody in a kitchen was interesting clearly boggled her mind.

So that's my long way of saying I know how you feel & I hope you follow through on posting more of the drawings.

Sherry said...

Freud, I'm laughing because the next photo I want to try shows a woman with her hair wrapped in a scarf, in her kitchen. You're right, sometimes the setting says as much about the person, or the times, as the clothing or hairstyles.

caseytoussaint said...

These are really interesting - I love the way you've treated each one differently. They're wonderful. Thank you for the inspiration - these make me want to run to our old family albums and draw!

MILLY said...

These are really lovely and what good ideas you have. I also love old photographs and love looking at the clothes and wondering who they were.

Genxster said...

Fabulous idea. Can't wait to see more of these.

MissDaisyAnne said...

When I am in an antique store I am always amazed at the quantity of old photos. Photographs were such treasured items in my home growing up and even now. My mother and I would often look at the pictures in the old photo albums and she would tell me stories, how I wish I could remember them all.