Friday, July 20, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday: The Sad Truth

This photo breaks my heart.

In my collection of thrifted photos, I've found times of joy, the surprise of candid moments, haunting and atmospheric shots and yes, even times of sorrow. This particular polaroid is rather striking. From other shots in the same thrifted family album, it's clear that this young woman had spent a significant amount of time in the hospital. (The other photos I will not share, simply because they seem far too personal in nature, no matter that these are strangers from long ago).

Her vacant stare at the flowers from her visitors, in an otherwise bleak hospital room...It's just sad. However, this woman overcame whatever ailments plagued her in the summer of 1979. In later-dated photos in the album, she looks happier and healthier at social functions outside of the hospital. I take a strange comfort in knowing that. 

But in looking at the bigger picture here, I still have to wonder how these photos are lost to the ones that loved them. I've found photos with names and dates. I've even found post cards with names and addresses. I could potentially contact next of kin to see if they're interested in recovering mementos from the past. But aside from the fear of overstepping some strange degree of etiquette, I'm ultimately afraid of the sad truth of the matter: 

  • There may be nobody left of the family. 
  • There may be nobody left who cares to keep relics of their family's past. 

My Grandmom totally rocked the polyester. <3
This past Wednesday was a year since my Grandmother passed away. And I've kept photos of her with me and the rest of my family from over the years. I even have a number of photos of her at my age, long before I was in existence. They're too special to just throw away. 

I don't know. Maybe some people don't place value on tangible proof of the past and feel that mental pictures are enough to cling to the memory of a loved one. Or maybe I'm just a big 'ol sap that gets way too sentimental  over thrifted photographs. 

'Fess up. Who else out there thrifts vintage albums for the family photos inside? Does it make you just a little sad to find them abandoned in the thrift store?
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Peace said...

I'm always on the hunt for albums of photos because I love 'adopting' those people into my family, so to speak. I enjoy imagining their lives. I've never found any thrifting, just a few sweet collections at the 'antique' shop. When I worked at a thrift, we'd sometimes get housefuls of belongings of families who were evicted. :O( I'd hate to think my kids wouldn't want our photos! Ok, too much deep thought for so early, LOL!

Jackie Jardine said...

YES, exactly! I'm so glad there's another sentimental thrifter out there. "Adopting" is the perfect terminology for the situation.

I too like to wonder about the mementos of strangers. I like the sense of history, of the fashion of the time, and just having a little glimpse into the lives within.

Neat stuff.

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

Ariel Tyler Henley said...

That first image is quite sad. But that's also the beautiful part about pictures- you don't have to know the individuals in the images to treasure and appreciate them.

Jackie Jardine said...

Hi there, Ariel. That photo is sad, moving even. But I guess your point is right in line with mine, that even complete strangers can hold sentimental value.

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

PS: Thanks so much for joining the blog!

Rae - Say It Aint So said...

it always makes me a little sad to find albums and pictures at thrifts and estate sales. but i guess people can't keep everything. and not everyone is interested in pictures of people even a generation or two removed from them.

Jackie Jardine said...

It's true. We also don't know the dynamics of the relationship between family members either. Still, it makes me a little sad. Well, sad until I scoop up all the photos for my own collection. =)

<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!