Friday, 28 September 2007

My Last Post

Not sure if I like the layout of my last post about Post Mortem Photography. Looks a bit stretched out and needs tidying up so I will have a look at that later.

I did say ealier this week that I would try and scan and upload around 10 postcards every day but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. On the other hand if I upload too many in a short space of time they get buried and not seen by as many people. The pictures on the first page of the photostream seem to get more hits than those on later pages so it might be an idea to leave some time between uploading batches.

I really must spend some time looking at my contacts pictures. People make you a contact because they like the images in your collection so I should make a big effort to check out their pictures. So, maybe at some point this weekend I will devote some time to that.

Forgotten Faces at Flickr

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Post Mortem Photography

Some while ago a comment was left on one of my pictures suggesting that the image could in fact be a post mortem photograph. I always thought that this picture of a baby did not look quite right and I think that the suggestion may well be correct.

I may well be doing this image , seen above, a great injustice but it is a possibility.

Facinated by the thought of grieving parents taking their recently deceased child to the photographers for that final photograph I did some research on this subject.

In Victorian and early Edwardian times the infant mortality rate was high and in fact life expectancy in general was far less than it is today. Parents may not have had their child photographed when they were alive and in the event of a sudden death would have rushed the body along to a photographers to have a photograph taken as a reminder of their child.
Some of these photographs were tastefully done showing the obviously deceased child laying on a bed surrounded by flowers and apparently asleep. However, if the family did not have a photograph of their child or family member when they were alive they would instruct the photographer to give the impression that the deceased was still alive at the time of the photograph.

One of the first parts of the body to deteriorate after death are the eyes and many photographers became expert at painting false eyes on to closed eye lids. Some photographers were more skilled than others at this macabre task.

The picture on the left shows how this skill has been applied and the photograph has even been tinted to achieve a more "alive" look.

This next picture shows a young deceased boy who has been strapped to the chair for the photograph.

When the deceased were older much greater ingenuity was used to give the impression that they were alive in the photograph. Frames were built to support the deceased and supporting rods would be inserted through the back of their clothing.

In this next picture the girl in the middle of the photograph is dead and is supported by a frame behind her.

The woman in the middle of this final picture is also dead and is being supported by what could be her sisters.

I find this whole subject macabre, gruesome, spooky but totally facinating !

If you would like to see more of this subject then I have discovered a web site that features many post mortem photographs so just click the link below to visit. It is a kind of photo sharing site that you can register with for free and then be able to download any pictures you want.

Post Mortem Photography Site

Forgotten Faces at Flickr

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

What would they have thought ?

I sometimes wonder what the people shown on the cards would have thought had they known that one day their images would be broadcast around the world on the internet ( not that they would have known what the internet was of course ! )

Would they have been happy about this or maybe have prefered for their pictures to remain private...who knows but I hope that wherever they are now they don`t mind.

Its a shame that there is not more information on the back of these cards. If you are lucky you may get a first name and a location but generally they are mostly blank so maybe this is a lesson to us today to make sure that all of our family photographs are labelled in someway so later generations will be able to identify and record the people shown on the photographs.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Auction update

Well, I didn`t win the cards on ebay :o(
Nevermind, I still have loads to get on with and I did receive 4 very nice cards today in the post that I recently won so all is not lost. The card on the left is my favourit one of the 4. See the rest on my Flickr site.

Forgotten Faces on Flickr

Monday, 24 September 2007

More cards

Just put a bid in for 120 people cards on ebay. They look a nice lot. I will not be around when the auction ends so I will not be able to "snipe" them in the last seconds so I will have to wait and see what happens.

Forgotten Faces at Flickr

Started again !

Well, as promised ( to myself that is ) I have spent a little time today getting a few more cards scanned and uploaded to Flickr. Only 10 mind you but its a start. If I can do this every day this week I will be well pleased.

My problem is that I work night shift and by the time I get up I don`t have a great deal of time left in the day. The trouble with computers is they are a bit anti social and to be fair to my other half I don`t really want to be sat in front of the screen all day...she wouldn`t let me anyway !

Anyway, I got things on the move again so watch this space !

Forgotten Faces on Flickr

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The odd gem !

Originally uploaded by Forgotten Faces
I get most of my postcards from ebay and usually in bulk lots. This can be a bit hit and miss but thats the fun of it cos you never know what you are going to get !
I have found over the past months that no matter how dissapointing a batch of cards may be there is always one that makes it worthwhile.

This card is one of them ! although I must say that the rest of this batch was very good.

I just love this card. There are some 50 people posing in the main group with many more behind in the woods. There is a perfect example of how difficult early photography was with a double exposure on the little boy on the left of the front row. The variety of clothes is exceptional and all that remains is to wonder what the occasion was and where the picture was taken.

Forgotten Faces at Flickr

Saturday, 22 September 2007

To be selective or not ??

The problem I have at the moment is the sheer volume of postcards to scan and upload and not really having much time to do it so I have started to be selective in what cards I choose.

Now, this is something that I am not happy about as my original intention was to record as many images of these people as possible regardless of the nature of the image. After all, it would be wrong to exclude pictures just because they are not as attractive as others. So, as I write this I have made up my mind to revert to the original plan...its just going to take longer especially as I have now started this blog !!

Starting Monday I will start ploughing my way through my ever - increasing stockpile of cards and try to get things moving again ... famous last words !

Forgotten Faces at Flickr

Friday, 21 September 2007

Why Flickr ?

When I first decided to go ahead with this project I needed some web space to show these images but I really could not be bothered to start designing web pages to support the pictures so I stumbled on Flickr. I was impressed from the start and the interactive nature of the site made my mind up.
I originally went for the free option but as I wanted to separate all of the images into different catagories it soon became clear that I would need the " Pro " option. This gave me unlimited "Sets" and at £12 for a years subscription seemed very reasonable.
So, thats why !

Forgotten Faces at Flickr

Thursday, 20 September 2007

A bit about Forgotten Faces

It just seemed a shame that all of these old postcards were destined to be hidden away in postcard dealers boxes. These were real people going about their lives many years ago and perhaps there are no longer any family connections left.
So, I created Forgotten Faces on Flickr, a place where those that are interested can come along and meet these people from the past and this is the postcard that started it all...


I have over 500 images on the site at the moment with hundreds more still to scan and upload.
Sometimes I need a bit of motivation to keep going with it so I will use this blog to record my thoughts and progress on the subject and hopefully will provide the distraction needed to keep the project fresh.

Forgotten Faces at Flickr