Unintentional and fascinating, candid details captured in 1900’s photos.
Old photos have great details in them and it is fascinating to see everyday life caught in the background and not intentionally by the photographer. Most photos were staged and posed but as photographers got out and about with their cameras and kit they captured some amazing images.
Things you don’t see in staged images are the behind the scenes shots or those in un-posed everyday life. I have become fascinated with the library of Congress images and love downloading the 200MB TIFF files of “people scenes” and examining them for little scenes that make me smile. Most images contain your stereotypical prim and properly dressed figures of the period doing nothing out of the ordinary. Occasionally though you can find little gems contained within those huge files
Below are some small sections of larger images of beach scenes. They are all from around 1900. This first one showing a woman wearing Morpheus glasses, or Pinch Nez glasses as they were known back then, the man opposite is clearly very puzzled by something and its easy for your mind to wander and wonder what is going on in this image. If ever you needed inspiration for novel writing old photos are the place to go.
The next image is also from a beach scene around 1900 and is a small portion of a busy beach in hot summer. Children are playing and these older kids are burying a girl in the sand and seem to have stuck a piece of wood in her chest! I’m sure it is just in the sand but are they mocking her with a simple gravestone or is it just a bit of fun?
The photographer probably just set up his camera and aimed to take the scene as a whole but so many other stories are contained within the one image. Its easy to get lost thinking about the stories behind why the people are at the beach, who are they with and where are they staying? What are they doing and who are they talking about? These are not just photos but moments in time, opening our minds to a vastly complex, untold story.
The last image I have selected is probably an everyday occurrence but seldom seen in photos. Two boys share a “light” from one cigarette or cigar to another. Smoking was the norm back then, men smoked that was a fact.
It is easy to spend hours panning around these old photos what can you find? Come back here and let us know and add your finding to the comments below.