Saturday, June 16, 2012
I love old photos, especially candids, and spend too much time at my local consignment shop looking through pictures that come in as part of estates. Usually the people in the photographs are unidentified, and I imagine the relatives who choose to sell the old images have no idea who they are, and aren't interested in investigating. This week I found a couple dozen photos from a local estate, and each was carefully labeled and dated. These women, for example, were Dorothy Boynton and her friend Alice Clark, and little dog Billy. Billy shows up in several pictures, as do some of their horses. Boynton's family farmed near Emerald Grove, and according to Findagrave.com are buried there. She was born in 1092 and died in 1991.
Here is Dorothy again, with arms around her friend Marion, probably taken about 1916. I love the easy affection between the girls, and like the contrast in the way they are dressed. Love those jodhpurs! There is something very sad to me about all these lovingly labeled pictures, cast off. I can only guess that Dorothy and her husband, a man named Titus who worked for the Rock County Highway Department, had no children, or none survive. There are photos of her parents, grandparents, siblings, the house and barn, pets, all images of rural Wisconsin life from the early 1900s. All for sale to whomever finds them interesting.
I buy pictures like these, scan them, bump up the contrast and correct the image for spots and tears, and use them as reference in figurative painting. But most often I have no idea who the individuals are - I don't for example know who this man with a rake (?) is, though he is probably related to the Boyntons. But I like his posture, clothing and the way the sun hits his figure. And I suppose I like these glimpses into a way of life that has passed away.