Smiles – smiles on photos, at least – were a twentieth century invention: smiles on the faces of the subjects of Victorian photographic portraits are as rare as Trumpian truths. The reason was partly that Victorian cameras could only cope with fixed expressions – but it was also partly that they tended to be a miserable lot. By the 1920s […]
A photograph of unknown origins, subject and date – a true “Picture From Nowhere“. Two men in suits, just the hint of a bottle, a radio of certain antiquity, and a map of Latvia pinned to the wall. What in earth is the back story?
I am not sure where this little print came from – no doubt it was part of some job lot of old photographs I bought. It shows the crowded deck of a boat, and must have been taken at some point in the 1920s. It could be a ferry, but the people seem a little too well-dressed to be crossing […]
This photograph comes from a collection of old photos bought as a job lot on eBay for less than the price of a pint. I am a great fan of the novel “Sweet Caress” by William Boyd, and as soon as I saw this photograph I thought of Amory Clay, the heroine of that fine book. Boyd himself is an […]
This is an old, real photographic postcard that must date from the first part of the twentieth century, and is full of questions. I can not be certain about the date, the place, the sport or the team. There are eleven players so I am immediately drawn to a football team (soccer team). The only real clue is a name […]
If there is one thing you would have needed in 1919, it is a bit of a tonic. The memories of the carnage on the fields of Flanders are still raw, and the influenza epidemic is now picking off many of the people who survived. So this old photographic postcard from exactly 100 years ago seems most appropriate. Someone has […]
There is something rather joyous about this little sepia print. The caption on the reverse simply says “With love from Hilda and Leo”, and it is the smile on Hilda’s face that is so striking. The photograph must have been taken during the mid 1920s, which suggests that Leo might have been one of those lucky men to have survived […]
I have no idea who Mr George Day of Fairbury, Illinois was, or how the photograph of him and – I assume – his wife came into my possession. But now they are mine and I am prepared to share them with the world. They are fine figures, serious subjects, people who do not smile lightly. Look into their faces […]
It is August 1924 and we are walking to the cinema to see Leslie Henson in his latest film, “Tons of Money”. Where the cinema is and who we are is unknown, but film itself provides a date stamp. The advert for the film claimed it was “the greatest British comedy ever filmed!”. It wasn’t.