A couple of years ago I hit the yard sale jackpot: a whole carton of vintage photos for a wonderful (affordable) price. Hundreds of photos: formal, informal, serious and silly, from the late 1800’s through the 1970’s. Two years later I’m still finding delightful surprises when I browse through them.
Some of the photos beg to be played with. A young couple on stilts have to become circus clowns. The formally posed mother and daughter would much prefer to be on a sunny beach. A girl sitting on a grassy hillside becomes the lonely heroine waiting for her love to return from war. But sometimes there is a photo that tells it’s own story too strongly to be changed. That was the case when I came across a photo of a woman leaning against a phone pole outside of a rundown tenement. Who was she? Where was she going? Who took the photo? I gave her a pink dress, but otherwise left her unchanged. I repeated a stylized version of the background and added a quote from Carl Sandburg. I hope that I’ve done her justice. If I’ve been successful, you will feel both her strength and her vulnerability and wish you knew her story.