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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Taking Ownership

Old photographs are something I see for sale somewhat frequently at flea markets and vintage stores. It saddens me because I cherish the family photos I have — it's like little pieces of my ancestry in tangible form.

But for one reason or another, some photos are lost or forgotten. Ancestors evolve into strangers.

At a recent flea market stop, I decided to dig through and purchase a few of these precious photos I saw in a pile beside some knick knacks. I didn't know what I'd do with them at first, but I think to look at them and to play around with them is to appreciate them. Here are the results:


There was a whole roll of pictures that came with this photo, but I thought this one in particular kind of embodied the whole story. The lady looking at the camera is a bride on her wedding day. I love how low key this all was back then: Eating wedding cake in the kitchen of someone's house, perhaps her own home.

A small group of friends and family are gathered around the kitchen table, a few paper bells as decoration. If someone truly wanted a retro wedding, they should just have the reception at a fire hall! Looking back, I kinda wish I would've done something like that.

Side note: THAT STOVE is adorable.


This one was perhaps my favorite of the bunch because of its sepia quality and the fact that it's just so cute. My guess this was taken at a county fair, and children took turns posing as little cowboys or cowgirls.

And the hashtag I added? #mixinggenerationalbehaviorsisfunny


I wish this one wasn't so overexposed, but I think vintage swimsuits are the cutest.

I played around with coloring a black and white photo just for fun. I don't know if that looks any good, but I might practice a bit more. I learned the colorizing process on Photoshop by watching this video.

Collecting old family photos might be something I add to my collection list, as if there weren't enough things already. I am kind of at a loss at what to do with them. I think I'm going to search for people doing particular things in photos, whether they're in a certain location, on roller skates, etc. and then make a collage.

I don't know. In a way buying these photos made me feel like I took ownership of their past a bit. It was more of a cathartic experience than I initially realized. I bought these photos, among dozens of others, for $1.

Have you ever thought about repurposing old photos?


  1. I've purchased old photos before... one of them is on display at home now. The first one you showed was definitely my favorite though. It shows how out of control wedding costs are today. All you need is those you love!


  2. Oh man I love this! How incredible that you got an entire roll to tell that story! Honestly, since of our old family photos are losing their stories as people pass on. It's kind of sad. Makes me wonder how things will be 80 years from now with digital; thousands of family photos that most of us never bother to label apart from IMG_XXXX.

    1. I'm trying to find a way to attach stories to photos through tags and things, but it's a seemingly impossible task since my mom and I can't always identify people in photos. I've been working on a family photo digitizing project on and off for the past few years. It's daunting, but I hope it's worthwhile and preserves our photos through the digital age.