Saturday, 19 February 2011

Dressing Up for the Camera

Working my way slowly through a treasure trove of negatives that recently arrived through the letter box from America, I found this wartime portrait of what I take to be a recently-enlisted father with his two young sons. A few thoughts about what I see in the photograph before I ask for your observations.

Could this be somewhere fairly rural? I notice the wooden houses in the background look rather delapidated. Is this the children's father or grandfather? I ask that because if you look at his face, he seems rather mature - but then most people looked older than their years way back then. I can't identify his uniform which seems well-worn and his shoes don't look very military.

The two boys wear matching clothes. Perhaps they are twins but there is a difference in height. However, this might be a distortion as they could be standing on a slope. I am guessing they are wearing romper suits, which are pretty striking - imagine them in yellow or red! The family home could be a pre-fabricated building and they could afford a telephone or are they electric wires. Finally, the tall metal frame which stands at an angle behind the small tree looks to be a child's swing. It has seen better day. Perhaps the original house had recently been replaced by this newer-looking home? Now, over to you!


  1. That's another that could be almost anywhere, very hard to say. Funny what you say about people looking older than their years back then, even these two kids look old, especially the one on the left.

    So there was no information that came with the collection of glass plates about where they came from ? How many were there in the lot ? Must be interesting to try to ship such objects without breakage or damage...

    Anyway, looks like you are having a fine time poring over these, picking up details that most folks wouldn't even notice... There are two cables there, maybe they had both phone and electric service ? I wonder what the exact time period was ?

  2. I showed this to my father. He says the uniform appears to be an Army Staff Sergeant. But the emblem on the hat has him confused. He even questions what Canadian hats looked like. The hat emblem simply isn't clear enough. But the uniform with the brown belt looks Army. Rural, but then when this was probably taken much of the country was still rural so this could be anywhere. An area that still hadn't come out of the Depression. I remember seeing houses like this in Mississippi not so long ago. This sort of poverty and worn structures still can be found. It appears like there's black tar paper on the ground so perhaps this house has recently had a new roof and white wash.