Monday, May 27, 2013

The Dead Do Talk

I started hunting around in junk stores/antique stores when I was in college and having a fairly rich personal legacy of family photos that my great grandmother taught me to value, it would pain me to see old photographs in these places...no one left to care for them, treasure them, or wonder about them.  When ever I came across old photos of African Americans I always felt a strong urge to rescue them.  My first encounter with this I've never forgotten.  I was a junior or sophomore in college and found a photo of 5 children, siblings, dated in the 1800's.  These African American children were born 1400 miles in the interior of West Africa.  They were children of African American missionaries.  The picture was 25 dollars which I had just gotten that morning from my mother to purchase a textbook.  I was really really torn.  I walked out of the store saddened but knowing I needed the textbook which I did purchase.  A few days later I had gotten paid and went back to the store only to be told that someone came in a few hours after I did that day and purchased the photo.  Although I've resisted buying most photos because I have wonderful old photos from my own family, that is the one that haunts me to this day. 

So a few days ago I see my favorite junk store posted some old photos on their fb page and I went with the intent of buying some old rusted bells and "looking" at the photo that I wanted...well after I saw it up close I knew she had to come home with me, but Tony, the store owner, was not willing to break up the set.  Everybody wants the Black woman he said but they go together, they were found together and you have to take the set for the full story, so I did.  And it did make sense and although I don't know yet if they will find themselves as part of my textile art or not, I did hang all 3 of them in the studio.  Take a look and overlook the shaky photography...



The one at the bottom has the last name "GRANT" and they were found by a mother and daughter in a family trunk with items over 100 years old.  They had not a clue as to who any of them were or even if they were family at all.

5 comments:

  1. My mother's mother was a Grant. My friend Terry is married to a Grant. I always wonder when I see an old photo like this. My mother's family was mainly from Pennsylvania.

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    1. oh my word! wouldn't this be a major freaky coup if these were your or Terry's family?!!!! The intials are on the photograph of the one identified...I'll let you know what they are after I come home from the studio on Tuesday or Wednesday. The photos where found here in Louisville, but the trunk/photos could be from anywhere.

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  2. We ARE kindred spirits...old photos speak to me too! I can hardly bear to leave them when I see them in a store. I, too, am saddened by the fact that they aren't cherished by family members. I'll be anxious to see if they appear in some of your art pieces. I'd like to see how you would use them.

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    1. I'm going to enjoy them hanging around...I'm curious to see if I'll use them too :)

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  3. Fascinating... I can see why the picture from so long ago still haunts you... This strikes me as an odd collection. Any dates to go with? will you make up a story or two to make sense of them?

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