Despite having a suitcase full of my own family photographs I also love rooting through those for sale in junk /antique shops. My other half usually manages to drag me away before I make a purchase , we are desperately trying to de-clutter our house– without much success ! However I was in such a shop in Penzance recently and came across a box full of photographs . What stories they could tell , who were all these individuals looking back at me from the past? Talking to the owner she too could not understand why photographs are abandoned , what were the circumstances that led them to being sold for just a £1 each in such a shop? She also had on display a wonderful framed Victorian era photograph , hidden behind the frame she found another print of a family , she admitted she had priced it rather highly at £90 as she really did not want it to be sold. Hubby drew the line at me purchasing this , rather to the relieve of the shop owner I think , I hope whoever eventually owns it cherishes it. I bought just 3 photographs which appealed to me and I felt drawn to , each subject stares directly out of the frame , I felt a connection yet I have no idea who they were , how their lives spanned out.
I’m not too sure what era they are from, any thoughts would be much appreciated. I think the pretty young girl dates from possibly the early 1900’s , it appears to have been taken in a studio , an (?) aspidistra can just be made out at the bottom left hand side. The rather dapper young men could possibly be in Edwardian clothing, I wonder who took the photo , there is a shadow on the left hand bottom corner is that the photographer, and where they were ? The bathers are possibly a small family unit perhaps in the 1930’s . At first I mistook the figure in the middle to be a young boy but think it is actually a young girl with a swimming cap on. What I find particularly interesting about this is that the two outside figures appear to me perhaps father and son , and if so who took the photo ? Mum ? . What happened to them , what events led to this image ending up being sold in a seaside shop?
So many questions but no answers yet despite their ambiguity there are still stories that can be told and knowledge gained. What of their function as an aide-mémoire ? I shall return to the function of found photography when I have done some more research.
I found a link (below) how to date a photograph.