Monday, February 25, 2008

Three Family Members

Three family members, originally uploaded by sprouseart.

I picked this up many years ago on Ebay. It was one of those images that I just felt drawn to without a particular reason. Perhaps it was the expressions on the faces of the girl and the young man that made me choose it. Or maybe it is just the underlying immediateness of the image. I wasn't sure then and I still don’t know what it is exactly about the image that intrigues me. I do know that when I come across it in my collection, I always find myself lingering on it a bit longer than many of the others.

There is good balance to the composition of the photo even though the young male figure rises above the other two to the left. It flows well and is easy on the eye. I get the feeling based upon the body language and the posturing, that the young male has perhaps taken on a more important role in the family dynamic. All three, particularly the girl, gaze rather intently into the camera. These people all seem quite aware of themselves and their place in the world.

I have also always been intrigued by the fact that even though (through my own assumption) that these people are related in some way, there is no maternal figure represented. At first I thought that perhaps the mother or grandmother was behind the camera. But after studying the image more carefully, I changed my mind. They seem too arranged for that casual of a shot, plus, they are definitely posed before a large canvas backdrop. Also, they are dressed very smartly in clean, pressed clothing. This makes me think that they went somewhere to have this image made, or they were somewhere where proper attire was required ( perhaps a wedding or social function) where a photographer had set up outside. The boy and girl may be the older fellow’s children, his grandchildren, or even nephew and niece. I get the feeling though that they are motherless. Of course, I may be trying to impose too much of my own personal history on the photo.

I wish I knew more about this image, but I simply do not. I do know that it is a dived back photo postcard which would date it anywhere from March 1907 until about 1915. Though the printing on the back of the card is in English, this photo could have been made anywhere in the United States. The postcard is unused so I have no way of knowing where in the states it came from.

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