Thursday, October 29, 2015

Photography - The Little Ones and Historical Images

Capturing Innocence

How do you get the animals to add a little interest to the image? Put a couple of kids in front of them. 


Children, Turkeys, and Geese - A Pastoral Portrait by DG Hudson

The image above was taken with a SLR camera before the digital age, when visiting relatives who live in the country. There are a lot of details in this photo. Note the bandage on the chin of the child in the pink T-shirt. She fell while riding her bike that morning. That tells us she is no frail little girl, but an active child and likely has brothers who she tries to imitate in their activities. (In reality, she has several brothers and is the youngest in her family).  The child in front is a cousin of hers and is under two years old. Judging by her expression, she appears not to care whether she's in a photo or not.

As for the animals, they demand attention: the white geese are squawking - where's the food, the baby turkeys are curious - what's going on. Don't miss the little baby turkey looking around the girl in pink on the left side.  I didn't even notice the antics of the various fowl in the image when I took this photograph, as I was concentrating on the two girls. It was the first time I had seen little baby turkeys. They don't look so edible at that age and size. 

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Capturing History and Style

A historical photo can also show important details. This image was taken circa late 1880s or early 1890s. This young woman is of Canadian First Nations culture and is a relative of our family on my husband's side.

Woman, First Nations Culture, BC, Canada, prop. DG Hudson

The young woman in the image above lived in a simple time, in the country away from the Big City. She is dressed as suits the interior western culture and her time. She wears a Canadian maple leaf pin with pride on her scarf. Taking a photographic image during those times was a big event and having a portrait done meant you wore your best or neatest clothes. Ceremonial clothes would have been saved for band (tribe) events. These are practical, durable, no fuss clothes. The plain rough wood background accentuates the portrait.

The no-nonsense hair style shows a no-nonsense woman who could out-fish most of the men, and lived to be the ripe old age of 96 or so, still sharp in mind. It is said that she sang to the fish, calling them. Birth records were sketchy during the late 1800s and in smaller towns and on native reserves were kept at the local church. She married a First Nations man who came to the Nicola Valley in British Columbia, a man who led the First Nations posse of four men who tracked and captured Bill Miner, a disreputable outlaw and the first train robber of Canada. 

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References:

Billy Miner, 'gentleman' outlaw:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Miner

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18 comments:

  1. Both intriguing photos - and stories.
    Thank you. We have no photos of anyone from a generation earlier than my immediate family - a loss I feel strongly.

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    1. Luckily my MIL saved photos from her family. There was also a newspaper photo of the posse who caught the train robber. I missed out on many events in my family since I left the US for Canada when I was 20 -that's a loss I have had to deal with.

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  2. A fine portrait of the First Nations woman.

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    1. I agree with you Bob. She was well respected in her community, never drank or smoked. We have one or two artifacts that she made and gave to my husband: a deerskin covered cushion and what is called a 'crazy quilt' using a colorful maze of fabrics.

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  3. I loved reading the history of your husband's ancestor! That's so cool! I didn't realize he was First Nations.

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    1. Yes, he has his Indian Status, and belongs to an interior band. His mother's side of the family is extremely interesting.

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  4. I love the goose that looks like he's honking specifically at the top girl. If I've learned one thing about geese it's that those things are little aggressive jerks. This captures that perfectly. Almost whimsically.

    Also, yes, that woman looks tough as nails in the best way possible. Strong, but not uncaring.

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    1. Geese also like to hiss - especially Canada Geese, but I still like their honking when they fly over in formation. What I liked about the historical portrait was that her daughter said the woman in the photo used to call the fish by singing to them in her native tongue. She always caught something, usually lots.

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  5. Great piece! I have thought about these points when looking at the photos of others, especially if they are older, but I have not given much thought to the hundreds and hundreds of pictures I take of my child all the time and what little details to the side or background may be there as little gems for the storyteller in all of us, looking for those details that make a great story!

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    1. Backgrounds and other things in photos sometimes surprise us, especially if we focus on the main subject.Glad you could drop by Julie!

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  6. It's nice to look at the details of photographs, and also imagine what's going on in the minds of the subjects.

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    1. That's the nice thing about images, they freeze the moment now, so we can enhance our memories in the future.

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  7. Kids and animals in one photo seems like a can't lose combination. I rarely seem to capture natural candid photos of people, but I don't take many photos anyway. I probably should.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Yes, you should, Lee, you'll like looking at them at some point.

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  8. Would appreciate a recommendation of a book about the First Nation in Canada, to compare with our Native Americans. I heard the term for the first time in a mystery series set in Canada. Your explanation was intriguing.

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    1. I'm not an expert, loverofwords, I only know a bit about British Columbian First Nations, and I checked on Google for 'books on First Nations in Canada'. There are many that are resource based, and there are some written by First Nations authors.

      In BC, and especially Vancouver, we have a large population that emigrated from India, who are called Indian now instead of the old term East Indian, and this was always confusing to many. We also have the Inuit and Metis people who are also considered First Nations yet have their own unique history. The Inuit live in the far north, the Metis mostly in eastern Canada and some Prairie provinces.

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  9. I love the story about your First Nations relation! But then, I'm a Wild West buff. Also, such a true statement about tribal clothing being saved for certain things. That was also true down here. Frequently the photographers going around capturing images would work to convince the Natives to wear their ceremonial clothing for the images, making people think that's all they wore.

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    1. Glad you liked it. This lady practiced the old ways. I never got to meet her but heard much about her. Her daughters and sons were all upstanding members of the band. One daughter married a chief, and many of her grandkids now help run the band which is in the interior of BC. We have a deerskin pillow she made, the beaded purse she received on her wedding day and a crazy quilt she gave hubs when she was still living. Thanks for dropping by Shannon.

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