Thursday, 10 February 2011

Bringing The Background Forward

It's Thursday again, and that means another new lesson up at Yesterday And Today. Wow, it has me thinking, this one. Backwards and forwards, the "then" and the "now". It's all good, though.

I've been taking a closer look atlots of older photos, even found some I hadn't scanned yet, and it has brought me back to something I wrote about here a year ago. It's that tension we have today: the choice between cropping a photo to produce a beautiful image; and leaving in the background.


Still, to me, the background can be the best bit. All those little details we thought we'd never forget - the colour of the front door, the crazy wallpaper - I'm glad they are still there to make me smile.

Not that I have a picture of everything I'd like. Think about it. You might have photos of the people you want to remember; but do you have a photo of the little things? Is there anything you conjure up with your mind because the photo isn't there? I have a few:

  • My Grandma's kitchen. Her "scullery" with its proud collection of china teacups carefully displayed on shelves built by Grandpa
  • My last schoolbag. Blue, roughweave army surplus. My mum hated it. I loved it, with its pin on band badges and scribbles marker messages from friends
  • My cereal packet puppet theatre I made when I was six. ...
I've been asking the rest of the family for suggestions and The Small One brought out her very first pair of glasses and asked for a picture. That's exactly the kind of thing I mean. Let's see what else we can find..

Gotta Craft Sale starts today...Gotta Craft sale starts today...Gotta Craft Sale starts today..Gotta Craft

20 comments:

laurie said...

you're right - the details are what complete and color a memory! i love to look at old photos and find little things that i had forgotten: toys, clothes, furniture. and those things lead to other memories - such fun.

Amanda said...

Ah Sian your post today reminded me of the time I based the colour of a layout around the swirly hideous 70's carpet in a photo of me and my brother.....think purple and red with maybe a touch of orange and you're there :)

scrappyjacky said...

I love looking at the details in old photos.....they either immediately bring back memories....or with really old photos the details show interesting 'historical' stuff....so why do I have a tendancy to severely crop my 'modern' photos!!!!!

Cheri said...

The Small One is a smart little cookie to think of wanting a picture of her first glasses. Sarah's first glasses (popular at the time) were huge light pink plastic frames that magnified her eyes and made her look like a little owl at 3 1/2. We have photos of them on her, but none of just the glasses. And of course we donated them as soon as she needed a new pair!

Louise said...

It really is the little things in photos that bring memories flooding back. Like most i'm guilty of cropping photos (although i never alter the original) but ever so often I do try to get photos of the little things that matter :)

helena said...

I so agree. When my Grandfather died 5 years ago, I aksed my parents to take lots of photo of the house before it was cleared. That collection of photos was then shared with all the family and we often look at them and talk about them. All those little details that you think you will remember - great to have the photos. I must dig out the layout I did with them

Kai said...

I totally agree... my parents were not the photo-takers that I am and I feel I have so little of my child hood documented because of that. It's hard because I want to SEE a picture in front of me but I can only see it in my own memory. But I'll tell ya... I need to start taking more picutres of the little things, because I know I'm old-school habitual photographer of events mostly. Must step it up! Thanks for the nudge.

favouriteworkofart said...

Sian, your post made me think of a grand, strange, book that everyone should have, entitled 'The Encyclopedia of Everyone and Everything that is Important to Me'. It'd house all your most precious memories, photos of all your most prized possessions, details of why these things are all treasured. What a wonder it would be!!
When my Dad died, the thing I rushed for, to hug and cry in to, was his 'allotment' jumper - scraggy, dirty, smelly - its fibres held so many memories of us walking to the allotment on Sunday mornings, of blackbirds singing, of butterflies flying, of soil hanging off the roots of potatoes, of cuckoos, of sunlight and feeling healthy - so, so, so many happy memories. A photo of it simply wouldn't do it justice. That experience, my memories of having those previous experiences, was so related to touching, to holding, to smelling, that jumper. A photo of it simply wouldn't have brought all those memories flooding back as much as holding it did.
What is it that makes a memory permanent? Etches it on your conscience? Usually the ones I remember best are the ones that include a complete sensory experience. Hhm....should go off and read Proust, LOL!!!

favouriteworkofart said...

Sian, your post made me think of a grand, strange, book that everyone should have, entitled 'The Encyclopedia of Everyone and Everything that is Important to Me'. It'd house all your most precious memories, photos of all your most prized possessions, details of why these things are all treasured. What a wonder it would be!!
When my Dad died, the thing I rushed for, to hug and cry in to, was his 'allotment' jumper - scraggy, dirty, smelly - its fibres held so many memories of us walking to the allotment on Sunday mornings, of blackbirds singing, of butterflies flying, of soil hanging off the roots of potatoes, of cuckoos, of sunlight and feeling healthy - so, so, so many happy memories. A photo of it simply wouldn't do it justice. That experience, my memories of having those previous experiences, was so related to touching, to holding, to smelling, that jumper. A photo of it simply wouldn't have brought all those memories flooding back as much as holding it did.
What is it that makes a memory permanent? Etches it on your conscience? Usually the ones I remember best are the ones that include a complete sensory experience. Hhm....should go off and read Proust, LOL!!!

Jennifer said...

Your post has me thinking, Sian. So very true that it is always a dilemma as to how much of the background to crop. I too love to have pictures of the smaller details. The small things that brought me joy. Last year, knowing that we would be moving from our house into a condo, I took pictures of my front door, mailbox and backyard gate. I treasure those pictures. I am also the crazy person that has "dog albums" for my pups. I want to remember every thing about them and know I will appreciate having all these pictures when they have passed. Now I think I need to remember to take more pictures of the little things in life! :)

Maria Ontiveros said...

Some of the shoes or clothes that I used to wear (or my kids when they were little), that I wore so much they became trademarks almost.
Rinda

Jimjams said...

Memory is a funny thing isn't it? There are particular jigsaw pieces that evoke my grandmother's high ceilinged, electric-bar-heated flat, passages in a song that bring thoughts of my student room at university and even vegetables that remind me of solitary meals in Sweden!
Equally it plays BIG tricks on you (especially when your brain gets full like mine) and having photos grounds them in fact rather than fantasy.
I love that TSO wanted you to record her specs ... though I'm sure you have photos of her wearing them too.

P.S. yes I did sort my Mum out with a doggy book, hoping to see some results from it soon.

alexa said...

I'm another who likes to make sure the background details are there - though I might crop to get a good image as well, rather than instead of!

Sandra said...

Backgrounds have always been something I love ... even if I'm watching tv, I'm always looking at what is going around in the background of homes etc. So this post of yours has given me food for thought :) .. thank you for making me remember lovely things again.

Ruth said...

Old photos are all I've been thinking about of late, as you know ... and family history, of course! I'd even got to the stage of thinking that maybe I should bin my Book of Me and start again from scratch, preserving as many old photos as possible along the way.
Cute glasses for the SO.

scrapchick said...

Agree! Love being able to see the hundreds of S&P shakers my Great Grandmother collected lined up on shelving on the walls. And so funny today one of the kids, being on second pair of glasses asked if could get rid of them - I said no I need to take some pictures! :)

{Lynn - that's me!} said...

I have TONS of photos that I have yet to scan...but I'm working on them, thanks to the Yesterday/Today classes. I agree that there are many things/memories from my childhood that I wish I had pictures of that I could document. I guess we are left with our words and the images they conjure up when describing those things.

Love these glasses girl...I wish I had a picture of all the specs I've had over the years. What a fun layout that would make.

Sue, a.k.a. midwestgirl said...

Ali's class really is a great one to make you stop and think. I love the background details in older photos. What memories they bring back. Makes me think I shouldn't always crop everything so close in my own pictures!

Karen said...

I am missing so many photos of things I remember from childhood. My father never held a camera in his hand, and my mother's efforts to record our history were sporadic at best. Just found, today, a box of photos that I do have, and need to spend some serious time with the scanner.

humel said...

Cool glasses!

OK, you've convinced me. I may not share these particular pics on my blog, but I promise to include some of the background in at least some of my photos from now on - even if it's messy, or I don't like the wallpaper, etc!

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