Snapshot Heaven


The other night when we were going through old photos I came across this one and set it in my own little pile.  I wasn’t too sure what the man had in his hand until I scanned the print and saw what looks to be a nice looking box camera. Of course there were scratches, spots and fingerprints galore but I fixed the worst of them and left the rest. Those scratches show the passing of time and that this is an actual artifact and not some made up scene. There is no doubt that a decent snapshot can tell you worlds about a subject and at the same time it leaves plenty of room for the imagination. I don’t know these people and I’m not sure I ever met them in passing at a family party or wedding but they look like they would be worth spending some time with.

I love the way the hat mimics the lines of the car (or is it the other way around).  There is a lot of style in this one frame.  Somewhere in the city of St. Louis, MO but the exact location is unknown. Another image from the series shows the bride and groom (my in-laws) still in there wedding clothes sitting at a table in a local tavern. Maybe that was the reception. Things were a lot different back then. There is a wedding album but nothing can compete with snapshots taken by close friends. This is as close to real life as you are likely to get in a photograph.

I cropped this second shot because it was taken from a distance. Just imagine a large expanse of lake and sky behind them and a cobbled walkway in front. This photo is full of happyness and life. I wish I could have been there. It may not be a technical masterpiece but there is no doubt that this is a great photograph. I’ll have to find the time to scan a few more of the ones I picked out of the box. Other family members are working on the bulk of the project and I’m sure it will be a while before they are all done and divided up.dancing The great thing about digital is that you can essentially have a photo lab sitting on your desktop.  The scanners and cameras keep getting better and less expensive which is great. You could just about as easily use a point and shoot camera in macro mode to copy these old photos as long as you used a tripod and the self timer to avoid camera shake.

People took a lot less photos back in the days when film ruled photography but those few photos seem more iconic in many ways. There are fewer of them and I think they hold our attention longer for that reason. 

I’ll be taking some snapshots of my own if the weather changes and it warms up a bit. This month’s assignment is to take portraits with the Brownie Hawkeye Flash (unconventional portraits). I don’t have any solid ideas for that project yet but  I’ll be starting those soon. The Brownie is not what I would call an ideal portrait making machine so it should be interesting to see how those turn out. Last month I took photos with the Brownie I converted to a pinhole camera. The shutter on that camera jammed and I ended up with a bunch of partially exposed frames. They probably had a good laugh at the photo lab but I was actually pleased with the result. I’m happy to get any sort of usable exposures out of a fifty year old box camera.

I’m still snapping away with the iPhone and having fun inserting those images into text messages and other online media. The iphone camera is pretty low resolution so it does a good job of emulating fixed focus cameras with single element lenses. I have not been carrying my point & shoot camera since getting the iphone though the phone is really not a substitute and is a lot slower in operation. Even though there are limitations it is a blast trying different filter effects and being able to upload the images moments later for everyone to see.

One Reply to “Snapshot Heaven”

  1. I love old photos. You chose well. The car looks like a Pontiac Silver Streak if I’m seeing the nameplate correctly. Wouldn’t you like to have been able to see and photograph the chief on this car? The ladies were much prettier then and very happy in youth. I’d guess it was the late 40’s by the two shots.

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