Malachi's Promise "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers...." Malachi 4:6

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reasons to Cherish a Photograph

Some photographs are so beautiful that one can't help but enjoy, appreciate, and cherish them. The view may be spectacular; the composition nearly perfect; the colors delightful....

I cherish this photo because it shows the faces of family members long since gone from this life. It contains the images of my great-grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Meinzen, with two of their daughters, three sons-in-law, three grandchildren, and a lady (the tall one) who was probably a family friend.

I cherish this photo because it tells me some things about Henry and Elizabeth:
-- They were short. Their daughters (behind Elizabeth and between Elizabeth and Henry) were no more than 5'5". Henry and Elizabeth are shorter by at least an inch or two.
-- Henry smoked a pipe.
-- Elizabeth must not have been a vain person or she would have stayed away from public view after her face became disfigured with cancer.

I don't know where or why this photo was taken, nor do I know the location. Neither do I know the date, though I believe it was taken in the mid-1910s. I cherish it because in some small way it transports me to the life and times of these ancestors. When I look at this photo I wonder what brought the family together that day. Was it a Sunday afternoon picnic? A family reunion? A work party? Who was the photographer? Was it the wife of the third son-in-law? What did they do after they heard the click of the camera? Did the children run off to play with others? Did the men stand around and smoke their pipes while the women sat and visited? Were there other people around? Questions without answers, except in my imagination.


This post is a contribution to celebrate Sepia Saturday 100. Join the celebration!

29 comments:

  1. Fascinating to try to imagine ourselves into the lives of our forebears!

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  2. A wonderful moment from the past captured...you have gleaned a lot from this one photo!

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  3. Fascinating photo. I wish I had something like that of my ancestors.

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  4. That's why I like photos too, mine and others - like this one of yours - I like to imagine the stories. sometimes it makes me sort of sad to know everybody is gone now but usually I just like to see their faces and think about their lives.

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  5. Beautifully put. It almost reads like a poem, with the repeated phrase ‘I cherish’, bringing it home to us all why it’s so important to hold on to these images.

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  6. Nancy you have such a way with words, reading your blog is such a pleasure.I agree with you Nell, So beautifully put.

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  7. You're right, this photo has a lot to say. I also notice that people are smiling! You get a sense by looking at them as a group that they were happy, relaxed, and had a strong family bond.

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  8. Yes, it is interesting to imagine what's going on behind the lens. Before and after the shutter clicks.
    I like your idea of a picnic.
    Nancy Javier

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  9. I wonder how our descendants will cherish the photos of us in a hundred years time. Most of mine are are not printed anymore - I need to pass on a whole bunch in electronic form. Can you cherish these the same?
    Your post is a delight that has set me thinking.

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  10. I can understand why you cherish this photograph. And what happened after the click of the camera, is a question in my mind whenever I view a snapshot from the past.

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  11. You Know Nancy, The One Thing That Strikes Me Most About The Photograph Is How The Are Grouped.Very Close.Open.Friendly.I Like These People!

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  12. You are right Nancy : old images are the best vehicle ever invented for time-travel. I suspect we look at images in the same way, searching out the same detail, asking the same questions. Thank you so much for being such a loyal supporter of Sepia Saturday.

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  13. And aren't imaginative answers fun? LOL - especially to questions posed by a lovely photo like this.

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  14. Nancy, this is a wonderful picture. A day in the life of a happy group, gathering outside to celebrate the day and each other. I love it ... thanks so much for sharing it with us.

    Kathy M.

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  15. You can gather so much information from old photos - there must be at least 100 reasons to say "I cherish". Jo

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  16. One of the things I like to ponder about photos are the special spots families use as settings to take photos. For us it was either the front stairs of the house, in front of the fireplace, or in the fall in front of this amazing maple tree that turned a blazing red colour. In your photo it could be a pretty apple tree in blossom. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and your nice comments. :)

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  17. There's much life in that photo. If I close my eyes I can hear the noise they made as they first gathered moving closer and closer to each other. Then the moment after when they moved apart, the children running off to get back doing kids stuff, the adults laughing and joking about what the photo will look like.

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  18. A wonderful photo to cherish. So many stories there from so many people. Besides the ones we can imagine just looking at them. You are lucky to have such a good photo of a family group.

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  19. I love your idea of imaging what happens after the picture is taken. I'll never look at photos the same way again.
    Barbara

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  20. Nancy,
    I love your new format. Very soothing. I hope I'm not double-posting this comment. I hope I've achieved it with the 20th change to the format I've made today.

    Kathy

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  21. Oh, yes. A wonderful photo. So much depth to your post.

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  22. Nancy, You haven't enabled you email, so I can't answer you question /comment you left on Napple Notes about my Dad. He was the one who drew all the pictures, and I have posted much about him since I started blogging. Maybe I'll do a post ALL about him next SS...

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  23. While you've explained Elizabeth, what happened to the face of the little boy in the front row?
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  24. Bob, it's a sad thing that we don't often print photos these days. I hope technology doesn't move faster than I can keep up with it. Otherwise my great-grandchildren (if I ever have any) will have to find some dinosaur of a computer/computer program to look at the photos. On the other hand, paper photos are so easily damaged (water, heat, etc.) and lost or torn.

    I still find it amazing that we can turn old paper photographs into digital images, then be put on the internet, and be seen by the world. It's a wondrous age we live in.

    Thinking about whether we can cherish digital images, though. I think I cherish some of my old photos more because I can make digital copies, enlarge them, and see great details that I would have otherwise missed. I think your descendants will cherish your digital images. Yes, I do.

    You've given me thought about whether I should be making more paper photos, though. Thanks for visiting and leaving a kind comment.

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  25. Ticklebear, I hadn't thought about the boy in front. I just assumed it was because of the photograph that he looked that way. I see that he almost looks ghostlike. Hmmmm. Now I wonder if there was a problem. I'll have to ask my aunt if she knows. She wasn't born when this photo was taken but she may know who the children are and would have known him when he was a little older. Thanks for asking.

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  26. Nice to think she felt comofrtable enough, at least in front of her family, to be able top pose for the photograph. So much background to be woven into the characters pictured here. I think the boy in front just moved at the moment the photographer clicked the shutter.

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  27. Well,
    since I watch too much horror movie, I would take it as a bad omen...
    I'm just saying...
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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  28. I've really enjoyed this post. It's amazing how much you can learn from a photo.

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  29. You have so beautifully captured why we all cherish our photos and enjoy seeing the photos of others as well. Thanks.

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I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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