Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Family Portaits

I have been scanning lots of old family photos and slides lately. Some of them I have never seen before.
It's a strange process, discovering and rediscovering captured moments.

In the earliest photos the subjects are so aware of the presence of the camera, presumably amateur photography is still a relatively alien technology. The earliest photos are incredibly staged and posed and you get the feeling that their breath is held for the camera, however these are the most historically significant as they are documents of survival. And despite their posturing the images betray truths about their subjects and environs. The negative spaces.

Some of them show my mum as a baby in Germany, the name of the town scribbled on the back (approx 1946). In others she is walking down a dirt path between two rows of staked vegetables, she has a crown of leaves on her head and a small wicker basket in one hand. She looks like she is about five or six years old, and from this I deduce she must be in Israel. Then a handful from Paris.  Then Australia, familiar imagery of St Kilda, photos of her family infront of their house. The suburbs look like they are radiating heat, even through black and white.

The photos I like the best are from the 60's. The family had finally settled in East St Kilda, Melbourne.
There are slides of family portraits infront of large spiky palms.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne