Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Irish Snapshots’

Stuffed dogs were often as used as studio props in the 19th century although I am pretty sure that the animals featured in this post were alive when photographed.

There is something comical and slightly absurd about this image of a serious legal clerk called T.M. Barcroft and his dog! It was included in a photograph album compiled by the Foley family of Clontarf in the 1910s and 20s.

This early Dublin carte-de-visite features a nondescript looking dog whose owners obviously thought he was worthy of photographing. The card contains no additional information except for the photographer’s name and address, F.H. Mares, who worked from Grafton Street in the early 1860s and 70s.

This fashionable young lady was photographed along with her dog by the Leinster Photo Company of 39A Talbot Street, Dublin. I love the white feather boa! The photograph was posted from Tamworth, England to a friend in New Jersey in May 1910.

The photograph above includes both a baby and a dog and was taken at John J. Thompson in Omagh, County Tyrone. I wonder if the dog was jealous of the new arrival? Amazingly, the photographer has succeeded in getting all three to look at the camera. Note that the sitter’s feet are hidden behind a patterned cushion which blends in with the studio’s floor covering.

If you’d like to see more canine images, The Kennel Club’s exhibition of vintage dog photographs is showing in London until the 13th of January 2012 and you can see some of them here.

I also recommend the following titles which show that the family pet was a favourite subject for photographers throughout the years: The dog observed: photography 1844-1983 by Ruth Silverman begins with anonymous American daguerreotypes of the 1850s before moving on to the work of big name photographers like André Kertész and Lisette Model whilst Catherine Johnson and William Wegman’s Dogs is a beautiful book of found photographs which were published by Phaidon in 2007.

Read Full Post »

Sometimes mistakes make for the best photographs especially when the attempts to rectify them are as humorous as the one above. The tops of the heads of this seaside group were chopped off by the photographer only to be restored in this crude but highly effective manner. Someone has pencilled in the missing foreheads and hairstyles and the results are especially funny on the gentleman in the middle of the shot. The little girl with her bucket and spade is the only intact figure and appears to laugh mischievously at her older relations.                                                                                                                                        

This snapshot reminds me of a scene from RC Sherriff’s The Fortnight in September (1931) one of my favourite recent reads from the excellent Persephone Books. The novel relates in beautiful detail the experiences of a family on a seaside holiday in Bognor Regis between the World Wars. It includes a magical scene where they collect their holiday snapshots from the local pharmacist. They were presented with six snapshots which must have been a standard number of exposures during this period. The Kodak album which houses the above photograph also held that number of prints and the following ad from the 1930s records the move to eight exposures! In the digital age, this appears like a ridiculously small number of photographs with which to record a holiday.

I bought this little album alongside five others in the same format for only $9.99 and can’t believe no-one else wanted them! All originated from the Belfast area and the Kodak verichrome film stickers which appear at the back of them are nice little pieces of 1930s ephemera. I also noticed that there is an interesting article by Lucy Curzon in the latest issue of ‘History of Photography’ on the Mass Observation’s documentary photographs of 1930s holiday makers in Blackpool which ties in nicely with this topic. 

Read Full Post »

As it is nearing the end of the summer, I thought I’d post a couple of holiday related photographs from a stunning little album I bought last year. The album was created by a family who purchased a thatched cottage in Wexford in the mid-1930s and most of the photographs date from the inter-war years. I reckon that they were quite an artistic bunch as the album includes photographs of the murals they painted on the kitchen walls. It also contains several line-drawings, poems and recipes and some great shots like these taken at Kilmichael Point in 1936 and at Roney Rock in 1938.

There is something quintessentially 1930s about the girl’s swimming costume and headgear. The diving shot also evokes the cult of fitness and fresh air which was popular throughout Europe during the era. I hope to post more images from the album soon and to find out who the family were.

On a related note, I was delighted to write a small piece on another beach photograph – this time a snapshot I bought in England – for Stacy Waldman’s blog on vernacular photography. You can see the photograph and some other spectacular examples of snapshot photography here.

Read Full Post »

Just a quick post to say that I’ll be giving a talk tomorrow, Friday 19th of August, at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, on the subject of fashion and dress in Ireland during World War Two. Amongst other things, I’ll be talking about rationing, demob suits and how according to Switzers Department store “slacks were playing an increasingly important role in the modern young lady’s wardrobe.”

The tour starts at 12.30 and further details can be found here

Read Full Post »

This post features another workplace photograph showing staff standing in front of Hodgins Drapers, Nenagh, County Tipperary at ten to two on the afternoon of Wednesday 19th May 1937.

Some of the shop girls look like they are wearing the one-bar shoes shown in a 1937 advertisement in The Nenagh Guardian. Most of the women wear slim fitting, belted dresses and all appear to have had their hair cut into bobs and slightly waved. The remind me of the characters in one of my favourite films The Shop Around the Corner (1940) which focuses upon the lives of the staff in a Budapest department store. This was later remade into the terrible You’ve got Mail (1998).  

Hodgins was in existence for over 110 years when the last member of the family, Reggie, sold the business in 1991. 

Read Full Post »

This image comes from a small snapshot album covering the mid 1930s to the end of World War Two. It starts with carefree photos of young people at various seaside towns in England and moves on to wartime shots of military hospitals and navy ports. The final image is of the gravestone of Frank William Holloway of the Derby Yeomanry, who died in Tunisia aged 25 on the 26th March 1943.

The middle of the album includes several photographs taken in Ireland when a group of men were on leave from the British Army. It typifies the playfulness of the snapshot and I love the abstract shapes created by the unusual positioning of the four friends as they look down at the camera.

The intersection of text and images adds to the page though I’ll probably never know who the ‘me’ captioned in the photo was! The repeated use of the same photographs is something I have encountered in many amateur albums and one wonders whether they were added as filler or to make a particular point within the narrative.

Read Full Post »

I am going on my holidays tomorrow to County Sligo and hope to have as much fun as the group pictured on this page of a 1920s snapshot album. The family were from middle-class Clontarf and perfectly matched the sector at whom the snapshot camera was marketed. They certainly look like they are enjoying themselves!

Luckily, I have the album in its entirety which allows me to infer much about the family, their friends, interests and concerns. I hate to see album pages being sold separately and removed from their original context. The careful placing together of certain images and the interplay of pages tells us much about the author’s intent. This is explored brilliantly by Barbara Levine in her work Snapshot Chronicles: inventing the American Photo Album.

The bathing attire was right on trend for the 1920s. The women appear to be wearing one-piece costumes called tank suits, a style which was popularized by the Australian swimmer, Annette Kellerman. Many of these suits have bold geometric patterns. Bathing caps protected the women’s bobbed hair and mirror the cloche hats of the era.

The pre-Lycra fabric looks like it would definitely sag when wet!

The men’s costumes are also one-piece and the suit at the rear of the picture includes a button closure at the shoulder – a popular design feature during the 1920s.

From elsewhere in the album, I know that the young girl pictured above was called Doreen and that she was about 6 years of age in 1926, dating this snapshot to the late 1920s. I also know that the extended family holidayed in Rossnowlagh and Bundoran, County Donegal, where these photographs might possibly have been taken?

As ever, the snapshots inadvertently capture little details like the girl’s white shoes which are held in the hands of a female relative and the barely visible pioneer pin on the young man’s lapel to the left of this picture. I particularly like the fully suited gentleman who appears to have made no change to his outfit for the seaside trip.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »