Vintage Photos

Dug through some photos in an antique store in Troy. I know it’s a little stereotypical to be caught by vintage shots, but come on, try to tell me these aren’t nice.

Vintage Photo

Most of the vintage snapshots were portraits of some kind, of course, but most of them were also crap. Boring shots of families or kids or men in uniform standing somewhere remarkable only for how unremarkable it is, looking right at the camera. This caught my eye though, the only shot with a person in it that did.

Vintage Photo

Oh, let’s be even more stereotypical. Of course I like this because it looks damaged. But it also looks solarized, and almost like a negative or pinhole image. I’m really curious what happened here. And it was only $0.25.

Vintage Photo

Vintage Photo

Obviously these two are similar, a big part of the reason I picked them both up. But I think they both have great composition, and I wonder who took them and why.

There’s not much I can say about vintage photos that hasn’t been said before, probably a lot of times, probably more times than anyone really needs to read. But I’m going to anyway, it’s my blog. Looking at these is poignant in a way that most modern photos aren’t. Photography wasn’t as democratic when these were taken as it is now, and while good shots today are still carefully considered and executed, all of these shots were likely premeditated more than today’s snapshots are, by necessity.

I also think about who took these, why, and what happened before and after the shutter was pressed. The photographers probably aren’t alive today. The woman in the first photo probably isn’t alive. Any negatives are long gone — these prints are the only surviving records of those individual moments. Moments that were somehow important to someone, sometime, and eventually ended up in a box somewhere, sold as part of a lot, and then filed into a dusty corner of a huge store, waiting for someone to glance in passing and buy them for a quarter or two.

Something kind of tough for those of us taking photos now to contemplate.

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2 thoughts on “Vintage Photos

  1. Seba

    But that being said, in 50 years, the new generation will probably say the same thing about our shots. They will take photos with camera directly embedded in their eyeballs, in 3D and probably in Smell-O-Vision too….

  2. B Post author

    “So quaint how they used to store these image files on drives…” There will probably be some kind of neural cloud net, like a combination RAID and SETI@home, using everyone’s brains as a collective to store everything. Or maybe read/write tesseracts, I dunno.

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