Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thank heaven for the Kodak Brownie--Tricia McGill

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And thank heaven I belonged in a family who loved taking pictures. I have friends who don’t have a single photograph of their parents, their siblings or themselves when young. This is so sad. Being the youngest in a large family I was treated as a pet, especially by my two eldest sisters who would doll me up and cart me off regularly to the local photographic studio to have my picture taken for posterity. I don’t think I was particularly happy with this arrangement as most of the photos taken in the studio show a pouting brat—but I did look smart with my big white bow atop my head. The pictures that were taken with the old Kodak Brownie were a different matter. 
Here it is for those who have never seen one
I don’t know who bought it or how this camera came into the family’s possession but I now have probably a thousand pictures here on my computer that show my extended family over the generations.

For those who have no idea what I am talking about this box camera was one of the first made by Kodak in 1915. But I can remember it being used by one of my sisters or brothers years later. Perhaps they had a later version, I can’t recall. Of course rolls of film had to be inserted and when that was full it would be taken off to the chemist (pharmacy) who would send the film off to be developed. I never bothered much with the details of how these wonderful photos ended up back with us, I’m just glad they did. When our beloved mother died my sister and I had a drawer full to sort through.
Our Dad taken around 1916, not sure but think it is in France. He cared for the warhorses.
Because of my family’s love of picture collecting I not only have the snaps taken by them I also have other pictures of my parents and siblings that have been passed down to me.

me aged 4

That's me at the front on the left scowling at my eldest brother's wedding. My parents are at the back and the other bridesmaid is my eldest sister.

The computer is a boon as it has enabled me to scan and edit them, a time-consuming but worthwhile task. I’ve made photo books for my sister and for my eldest sister’s daughters showing our family story from about 1909 onwards and I feel so sorry for others who do not possess their past shown in pictures. I gave my sister a digital photo frame for Christmas and it is a joy to her to flick through the pictures and get a visual journey through the family’s past right up to the present. 

That's our sister Joan on the left, the glamor girl of the family. Note the fabulous bathing costume. It was passed down to me. Can you imagine the picture I made wearing that. By the time I inherited it the thing was so loose and baggy it fell off me. Anyone remember the elasticated costumes?

Unfortunately only four of us remain out of the original ten so I am glad that our eldest sister’s daughters share our love of collecting photos and looking back into their past through old snaps.
You can find excerpts from all my books here on my webpage where you will find Remnants of Dreams, my book that, although fictional, is based on my mother's life.
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