Sued51's Blog











{March 29, 2014}   Whatever Happened to Formal Portraits?

old portrait

My Great Aunt Edie

My mother has a treasure trove of family portraits. Many were passed down by my grandmother (my father’s mother) who labeled as many as she could before her memory was completely gone. I have met with my father’s cousin a couple of times, and we have shared some photos and information. She has been working on a genealogy of my grandmother’s Swedish family for many years. I also have a first-cousin who is doing her best with my mother’s side of the family. I think every family needs an archivist, and I hope to be the one who performs that service for my generation. I sincerely love the old photos; to me they have a special beauty, especially the sepia ones.

This particular photo is of my great aunt. She died when I was still a child, but I do have some memories of her. We used to have family cookouts on Sundays at my grandmother’s house. My aunt Edie lived two doors down so she was also in attendance. Until I found some of the photos I have found, I thought of her as an old lady who DID NOT want her picture taken. I have a copy of some family movies that my brother had transferred to a VHS tape, where she appears ever so briefly before hiding her face.

To me this photo is beautiful. I don’t know the year, but she is wearing her wedding ring so I don’t think she is what I would term “young” in the photo, but certainly a lot younger than my childhood memories (when she was in her 80s). As I look at it I wonder what the occasion might have been for the taking of the photo. Unfortunately my grandmother is not around to ask and she did not write down a year, simply “Sister Edith.”

It makes me think about the generations after me looking at the photos we have taken now. Most are digital and informal. We tend to document children’s lives at least annually (even if it is just school pictures), but beyond college, other than wedding photos, it definitely tails off.

I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I don’t have many pictures of myself as I have aged. The older I get, the more I become like the Aunt Edie I remember…”don’t take my picture!” But on the other hand…it is only going to get worse…I should get a picture taken while I am still youngish…

Looking at these old photos makes me ALMOST want to go out and get one taken for posterity. But of course I would then have to get my hair done, buy and put on some makeup, find a flattering outfit…hmmm.

Maybe not…:-D

 

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Pat says:

I hear you! Our kids arranged for a family photo about 8 years ago and I treasure it – although I wish I had worn a more flattering outfit. 😀

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sued51 says:

Yes, when the kids are grown it is even harder to accomplish…you should treasure it. I know what you mean about the outfit…if only we could hire an objective consultant for the occasion…:-D

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Sonel says:

I just love looking at these old photo’s Sued. What a beauty your Aunt was indeed! I don’t care much about photo’s of myself. Too much work! 😀

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sued51 says:

I feel the same, Sonel! I don’t think there are too many of us that actually LIKE pictures of ourselves…:-)

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nrhatch says:

I had an Aunt Edie too!

I try to get a few photos of BFF and I each year . . . without overdoing it. It’s fun to see how we’ve changed over time.

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sued51 says:

Yes, I do enjoy looking at the old pictures of myself with crazy hairdos…I’m sure 20 years from now I would like to look back at today and compare.

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Jo Bryant says:

I think we need to learn to suck it up with photos and just let them be taken, or take them. Future generations will ohhh and ahhh over us no matter what we think we look like

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sued51 says:

I know you are right, Jo. I just need to bite the bullet. I love the ones you post on your blog…so artsy…maybe that’s what I need to do. 🙂

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Jo Bryant says:

Give it a try. I just know that I hate that there are so few photos of my Mum…I want my kids to see me in ALL my stages of life when I am gone. And know that I was never afraid of what I looked like, but found it more important to record who I was.

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sued51 says:

You are doing a great job, my friend!!

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Jo Bryant says:

Awww thank you !

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