All photographs are ambiguous . All photographs have been taken out of a continuity . If this event is a public event , this continuity is history; if it is personal , the continuity , which has been broken , is a life story. Even a pure landscape breaks a continuity : that of light and the weather . Discontinuity always produces ambiguity
(Berger & Mohr , 1955, p.91) 

Make a selection of up to five photographs from your personal family collection. They can be as recent or as old as you wish. The only requirement is that they depict events that are relevant to you on a personal level and couldn’t belong to anyone else.

Ask OCA forums to provide short captions or explanations for your photographs. 
Summarise your findings and make them public in the same forums that you used for your research. 

I posted my five images onto the OCA Flickr group . As my scanner is out of action due to decorating etc I have re-photographed them.

Thanks to those who commented . See the link below for my response to comments made.


Although quite a lot of information can be obtained simply by looking at images the hidden personal histories behind collections such as these are disjointed and require additional documentation in order to understand the context fully . Rather like Jose’s photograph of his grandfather in an earlier exercise these belong to the family album , they record events personal to me. What I see and associate with each image is based on my personal knowledge, the casual observer cannot visualise , as I can , or understand the circumstances , as I do , simply by viewing the photograph.


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Mum was born and brought up in Northumberland. This was taken in 1939 just prior to the breakout of World War 2 when her family had moved to another new home in South Newsham near Blyth . My maternal granddad worked on farms around the Northumbria area and the family moved frequently. My Mum is on the right , the taller girl , aged 14. The other girl is Joan aged 6 , Mum’s niece and my cousin. Joan’s granddad , my Uncle George , who was a keen amateur photographer , took the photograph.
Mums sister Isabella is behind her and my maternal Grandmother is next to her behind Joan. Mum was due to start a new school in the September but never went due to the outbreak of war. Mum looks very young for a 14 year old , but that’s compared to teenagers now I suppose. Three years later she joined the army and never returned to live in Northumberland.


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This is my lovely dad in 1938 aged 23. Born and brought up in Marazion , Cornwall. This was a portrait taken at a professional photographers whilst he was on holiday with friends in the Isle of Man and passed to Mum after my paternal grandmothers death. He was 10 years older than Mum and he didn’t marry until he was 29, he died 34 years ago. I love this photo–I wish I had had the chance to ask him more about his life. My son and 2nd grandson are so much like him , when I look at them I see my dad as a young man again.


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This is me, 1954 aged 5 months. My Mum took me on the bus to a professional photography studio- Jerome- in Central Birmingham. The teddy in the picture is Rufus , I still have him but he is a bit the worse for wear now. His clothes are made from velvet and he is stuffed with silk stockings.


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This is me with my paternal grandparents 1963 aged 9.
Taken by my dad in my grandparents back garden that backed onto a railway embankment. My granddad was a gentle soul despite his rather stern appearance on the photo. My Nan was much more outright and forthright. This would be around Easter time as I am wearing my new “Easter” dress bought by my Nana each year & ankle socks. If you look closely my Nan has her arm around my waist , this would be the cause of my scowl and my arms wrapped defensively around my body ! I was not ( still not ) someone who is touch-feely , I need my own space , Nan had invaded it.


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This was taken in 1965 , I was 11 and my friends , Linda and Jackie who were 14 months older than me , were twins. Both sisters were born with heart defects. Taken in my back garden by my Dad. Later that year both Linda on my right and Jackie on my left had heart surgery. Sadly Linda died following her surgery , which these days is quite a routine procedure but major back then. I am still friends with Jackie , although we rarely meet we keep in regular contact by letter.

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