Vintage Photos Found

Ever moved + wondered where something wound up?  After repeated moves, vintage photos found, flooded me with memories.



While I was visiting home this past week, a winter storm in the upper half of Iowa, brought with it a combination of gusty winds, ice pellets, + a blanketing of snow.  I welcomed hunkering in for the evening, especially since my husband arrived from his hometown, in Kansas, earlier that afternoon.  (On I-35, near Ames, he encountered a winter storm warning sign.  He was wearing shorts, short sleeves, + flip-flops).  Despite the storm, there was solace in the fact we knew the snow would not stick around for long with the increase ground temperatures + the forecast of sunny, warmer days to follow.

Ice Blue

After the Storm

By the following day the snow had ended, the clouds lifted, + the sky was a brilliant blue.  The sun reflected its light off the pristine snow + the ice coated branches looked of silver.  Granted a full season of snow would prove oppressive, with its characteristic gloomy, gray skies + wind chills, a short-lived snow storm such as this proved stunning.  It isn’t spring in the Midwest without at least a couple of snow storms with “corn snow” or more commonly referred to as ice pellets + even snow thunder.

The snow reminded me of my blog post, Winter Memories of Home.  In that post, I wrote about spending time with Grandma looking through her photos + the stories behind them.  I mentioned her friend Elise, who was Grandma’s friend + neighbor when she was a young girl.  Remembering I had said I would look for the pictures of Elise + her family, I grabbed a couple of Grandma’s photo albums she had put together + was happily surprised to find the photos I was looking for.  (Such luck rarely happens in the search through such memorabilia).  Below is a portrait of Elise, the family portrait of Elise, her younger sister, Olga, and their widower father, Mr. Gilje, + a photo of the house they lived in.  I didn’t expect to readily find them + I may have squealed a little when I did.

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Vintage photos have always resonated with me.  The difference in dress, especially the elaborate clothing, as worn in the two portraits above, the stern facial expressions, the contrast of the black + white providing crisp, rich imagery, + the historical reference mixed with an air of timelessness.

You may be asking why I would save such photos of people I had never known.  Legitimate question in this digital age.  My main reasons for enjoying them include:

  1. Familial – Sure, these three photos are placed into a family photo album, that my late grandma put together, + for that alone I would hang onto them, but even if there were loose photographs, I know a bit of the story behind them + the relevance to someone I love + deeply miss;
  2. Imagery/Composition – Hunter Oatman-Stanford’s post in Collectors Weekly, Take That Instagram; The Ending Allure of Vintage Snapshots illustrates what draws people to vintage photos whether it is familiarity, composition, +/or simply that it is a great image; and
  3. Historical Reference – I am a great lover of history having studied: History of the South, Vietnam War, European History of Women, History of Iowa in college along with the standard teachings in public schools.  Add to that my Sociology major + it becomes clearer my love for the deeper meaning behind the things we see around us + the experiences of others.

Photos capture a single moment.  We can only guess as to the circumstances of those captured through the lens.  Portraits may throw us off even more due to the posed nature of that kind of photography.

As I look at these photos + many other vintage family photos, there are so many more questions I wished I would have asked Grandma.  I would have had her describe the day-to-day life of those captured in the images, the work they did, what their interests were + the significant happenings in their lives.  While I did listen to all of her stories, I always knew there would be volumes of questions unanswered.  Such is life, as Grandma would say.  I suppose she is right.

Do you have a penchant for vintage photographs?  Share some of your favorites in the comments below +/or the story behind them.  I am always a sucker for vintage shots.





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