Thursday, December 19, 2019

Looking into the past in black and white

Keen on your family history, then what a marvel ancient photography can turn out to be. After a few years, memory from the happenings of youth can be
distorted by time, and seemingly become rather unreliable.
But photography! Family snaps could be Photoshopped, of course, and change reality more than somewhat, but what pleasure - and surprise - when you dig out original Box Brownie-type records of family history!
There’s no escaping reality then.
Some of the really historical shots of my family went up in smoke in Second World War bombing in Southampton.
However, ancient photos of family members who lived in the countryside had a much greater chance of surviving.

Sepia-toned shots

Which is where a portrait – a family snap, really – that turned up this week had lived its early years.
You can keep family trees and enjoy the ready history they reveal. But to see, to hold, sepia-toned shots of family ancients taken when they were alive can be astonishing.
This week I found on the computer a photograph and immediately assumed it was a snap of paternal grandparents with their son, my father, and one of my brothers at the toddler stage.
It really felt amazing to go back in the years so spontaneously. Here I was entranced by a pic that must be, well, about eighty years old.
It felt astonishing, close to unbelievable, that some magical invention recorded their appearance from all that time ago and here it was on my screen.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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