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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Share Your Family History Photo Crafts
Posted by Maureen

This week I'm looking for a little reader participation. It's time to show off!

Have you created a family history project using your family photos? E-mail me a photo of it and I'll either feature it here, or if I receive enough submissions, I'll put together another slide show.

I was inspired by a woman in my town who creates photo quilts. They're so beautiful, you want to frame them rather than put them on your bed. Let's see how creative you are!



Wednesday, May 27, 2009 5:14:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, May 18, 2009
Photo Favorites
Posted by Diane

This week I'm taking a break from a long column and featuring a few new online photo finds. 

I 've been in love with photography for as long as I can remember. Started studying pictures as a toddler and had my first camera in second grade. In high school I was a member of an after school photo group (there were only four of us) and spent a lot of time in the dark room developing pictures. Photo history, picture taking techniques, picture research....you name it I've been involved in it.

I read a wide array of materials on photography (new and old) so it was great to hear that the New York Times has yet another blog on pictures. It's called Lens: Photography, Video and Visual Journalism.  If you like photography, then you'll love reading these columns. One recent post discussed slow photography vs. digital quickness. The focus is large format pictures. The images are gorgeous!!

Another New York Times blog covered the story of the Humiston children in a multi-part series. It's a fantastic tale of how one photograph can tell an intricate story--all you have to do is look at all the facets of the picture and put the pieces together.  It's a great piece of journalism by filmmaker, Errol Morris. You can read part one here.

There is a new page on Flickr. The Jewish Women's Archive is looking for photographs of the Jewish mothers in our families.  The page is called: Jewish Mothers: The Way We Were, The Way We Are

That's all for this week.


Web sites
Monday, May 18, 2009 7:23:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 11, 2009
Why the Long Face? Part Two
Posted by Maureen

A few weeks ago I wrote about posing devices employed by photographers to guarantee their clients sat still for their pictures. At that time I also asked if anyone had photographs of the actual head rests and other equipment. Jeffrey W. Deitchler answered the call and sent me two pictures. Thank you!!


Can you spot the head rest over on the right? It's the metal arm sticking into the picture.  It's likely that this photo of three men was once in a paper enclosure that hid the device. 




Photographers used a variety of devices to keep folks still for their portraits. Chairs, tables and columns gave clients something to lean on. These head rests could be adjusted for the height of the customer and some of them were sturdy enough to gently brace the sitter. However, these rests could also literally clamp around a neck, for instance, to hold someone in place. Sounds pretty uncomfortable!

Here's what Lake Price's Manual of Photographic Manipulation (1868, 2nd edition, available on Google Books.) had to say about head rests. There are drawings of other types of these devices.









This is the first time I've incorporated original page views in the blog. Let me know if you love it or hate it.  It makes the blog a little long, but I really like reading the original text. 

Jeffrey sent me one more picture to share with readers. It's one of his Ford ancestors photographed in Michigan. The entire posing device



I hope you'll check out the video podcasts on my YouTube Channel.


Monday, May 11, 2009 9:53:56 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, May 04, 2009
Photographing Children in Our Ancestors' Day
Posted by Maureen

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm including a short piece on photographing of children from Rhode Island photographers William Coleman and Orville Remington. They were business partners in their studio from 1867 to 1883. 

During their first year, the men published a booklet advising potential customers how to dress and pose for their pictures. They also include practical advice for parents on getting pictures of their children. I find some of it quite funny and hope you do, too.
Many photographers dislike taking children. It is true, they are sometimes troublesome, and the result uncertain; but again, they are so often easy and graceful, and their pure complexions give such delicate half-tones, that some of the finest pictures are those of children, and no artist seeking after excellence would forego, even from choice, the oportunity they afford.

For very young children, it is necessary to choose a fine day, and the best light, which is usually in the forenoon.

Avoid giving or mentioning sweets to them. Do not play or fuss too much with them. Generally a child will sit best if left entirely to the operator.
The last bit of advice is still true today <grin>. Here are some pictures of "hidden mothers" (or photographer's assistants) who often appear—partially—in old pictures of babies.



Ancestories blogger Miriam Robbin Midkiff sent in this adorable photo (above). She writes:
Attached is a photo of my husband's maternal grandmother, Leona Mary MARTIN (on left) and her twin, Lee Joseph MARTIN, taken c. 1907 in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. If you look closely at the left side of Leona's gown and the right side of Lee's gown, you'll see evidence that someone (or a couple of someones) are sitting out of sight, holding the children on the sofa.  The twins would have been about a year old (they were born 17 Dec. 1906). The back says "For Grandpa and Grandma". Only their maternal grandparents, Isaac and Rebecca (HEWITT) LUKE were still living by the time they were born. I imagine this photo was a Christmas gift.
These close-ups show the odd folds in the children's gowns—it looks like they're concealing grown-ups' hands:

  

Donna Richmond sent this picture (below) titled "child of L.C. Hataway, Black Creek, La." At teh baby's waist, you can clearly see the hands of a woman hidden under the rug.



Here's one more picture from my collection of unidentified photos of hidden women. It dates from the late 1860s. Don't you just love the hands holding the baby's head still?

Happy Mother's Day!


children | women
Monday, May 04, 2009 2:35:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]