Photographs of people walking
My friend Thom recently posted on Twitter this happy pic of his loved ones just walking along a snowy street. It struck me as a perfect example of how such photographs capture one of those moments in time that aren’t special or posed, but just normal life passing by. This type of candid photograph shows normality, since people rarely pose or pretend when walking. A photo like this is capable of encapsulating the very feel of a point in history far better than any overthought pic. In this case, check out the clothes, the cars, and the bright lighting. How might this photograph seem to folk in fifty years time?
Looking through my own family photographs I have come across several like this. My immediate emotional response to these windows into the past is that I could simply step forward and say hello to my forebears, and carry their shopping.
My In-laws on the left, and my parents on the right, both couples striding out into the sunshine of a bright new future shortly after the Second World War.
Here’s Mabel & Wilfred, my grandparents, at the seaside on what looks like a rainy day in the late Twenties. Much of the joy of this sort of photograph is in the background. I love the boy running in this one, and the bloke scratching his arse. Nice sartorial choice, Grandad.
That’s Wilf & Mabel on the left, with my Dad in cap and short trousers carrying a spade. Uncle Norman wears a wonderful cap.
Mavis’s grandparents on the right, Jim and Kate. Look at the lovely cars, and the bus. Both pics from the Thirties.
Off to late-Fifties Scarborough now, a shot more remarkable for the teddy-boy in the background than for Mavis’s rotund Grandma Vera, ubiquitous bag o’stuff clutched in her sweaty palm.
Schoolkids in the Sixties here. Yes (sigh) that’s me on the left. The girl I’m walking with is, if memory serves, Alex Kolundzic. She was very pretty.
Three working men on their way to… well, who knows? Work, home? Perhaps a football match or the pub? I love the expression on the face of the feller with the cap. I’m pretty sure this is in Mexborough in the Fifties, and the bloke on the right is Mavis’s Uncle Jimmy. A sign at the back advertises the Victoria Restaurant, which serves North Sea Fish and caters for parties.
Another shot from Mexborough, from a winter many years earlier than the above. Mid-Thirties, I think. More bikes, fewer cars, and a lovely Woolworths that I remember had a gorgeous wooden floor and old-fashioned counters even in the sixties. This is Mavis’s great grandmother, Ann-Eliza.