Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Stories Behind the Visual

What do you see when you view this photo? You may guess the approximate time period, but it would be only a guess, unless you knew the people there.  Do you see a young girl and an old lady? It's  obvious that it is just that, but there are so many things that the camera's eye...or your own....cannot know when looking at this photo, and any other.  Let me tell you the stories in this one.

The picture was taken when the little girl was about three years old, which would make it 1950 or perhaps 1951.  The child is donned in a long cotton, striped skirt, which was wrapped, probably at least twice, around her tiny waist. Her Aunt Anita had been playing dress up with her, and the woman, 18 years older than the little one, had chosen her own skirt to put on the child. Then the Aunt had placed many bracelets on the tiny arm, and a string of beads around her neck.  A touch of lipstick and a hairbrush completed the look, before the loving Aunt brought her niece to the front porch to join the preschooler's Grandmother.

The older woman sat on the top step of her front porch with her first grandchild. She was enjoying a bit of the afternoon sun.  How is it that I know that the time of day is the afternoon?  I know because the woman is dressed in something other than a 'house dress and her apron' which was her before-noon attire. She did her housekeeping in the mornings, then she laid down for a rest after lunch, coming downstairs afterward in clothing and jewelry fit for guests, should they stop in.  It was her daily routine.  I know, too, that it's afternoon, probably mid-afternoon, because the shadows tell me that the sun is in the southern sky.  I'm guessing that it is Springtime, because the woman and the child do not have outer garments for warmth, but the wooden storm door is still on the front door. If it was Summer, it would not be on the house, and if it was Fall, it would not have been put on yet to shield the entry from the cold.

Some things are not obvious when we view photographs.  Sometimes there is more to the story.  I hope you have enjoyed the explanation of the hidden things that this photo tells me. How do I know these statements are fact? Because I was the little girl sitting with her beloved Grandma in the sunshine.