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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Patty looks to me like the epitome of the swinging sixties. The pale pink lipstick, the heavy eyeliner and probable false lashes, the sunglasses perched jauntily on her beautiful, raven, back combed hair, all suggest a go-getting 1960s girl about town. What I love about this photo is that surely this would have been Patty’s image for a very short period of time? I can imagine all her future incarnations, as styles of hair and make-up changed. She would have been blown about on every new trend, as an example to her clientele of what was “in” at that moment. Maybe she was the creator of some new styles herself, working hard on the professional competition circuits?

Pat looks to be in her trainee uniform and has a chain around her neck with a pendant that spells out a word, which I cannot make out, even with a close zoom. No matter, that too was a very trendy look at the time.

Maybe Patricia is still working?  This item comes from a large lot of similar licenses that were sold on eBay recently. All had photobooth photos of different styles attached. Given there were so many together, I would imagine it came from the records of the Division of Licensing in the State of New York. It is a peculiar thing that in the USA, so many of these documents are allowed to make it into the public domain. I am not complaining, as I love these wee slices of history, but maybe Patricia and her cohort wouldn’t be so thrilled.

This is Harold who has been separated from an incredible series of photos showing him ageing gracefully from his teen years to late middle age.  These photobooth photos are just a small selection of the series.  You can see the rest by clicking here.

Harold S. Chambers at one time lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan and was an assistant superintendent of schools in Saginaw for 6 years from 1939 to 1945. He then became a full superintendent in Kelloggsville and later Godwin Heights (until 1953). The above photos were taken in the 1930s, the top three in Detroit and the bottom one on another day, at an unspecified location.

These photos were carefully preserved by Harold, or his wife. What happened to the family and how did these and the other photos get separated from them?

Maybe good, hardworking Harold never married and had no children. He was involved in school surveys that resulted in recommendations for school building construction programmes.  Maybe he is remembered in one of the schools he helped to build? Dapper like my Grandpa, of the same era and with the same curly hair he had, I feel very fond of Mr Chambers. I hope he is remembered fondly by someone other than a day-dreaming stranger.

This middle aged lady, looking dowdy and severe could well be dubbed an archetypal old maid, bitter and shrivelled, typecast as a sad lonely old thing. Popular imagination is less likely to explore the possibility that she could just as easily be a hard working mum, with no time to spruce up for a picture, that may have been a spur of the moment indulgence.

I see her as neither of the above options. I am going to dub her a spirited independent woman, who made her own way in the world. She worked hard against many obstacles but persevered and succeeded. Although unmarried she was not in any way wanting. She was constantly surrounded by friends, nieces and nephews who appreciated the uninterrupted time she was able to give them. She was adored by her siblings and friends as she was able to step in to help them at a moments notice, an integral support to them all. By the relative freedom of time in life, she offered opportunities to friends and family that otherwise would not have been open to them.

This is not a portrait of my Great Aunty Kit, (but it could have been), it is a description of how valuable her life was, how loved she was, despite the fact she never married or had children. She may have been typecast by society, as most unmarried women once were, but the reality is that the contributions of these women were as big as they were unseen. RIP Aunty Kit, you are still loved and remembered despite your departure so many years ago.

These business men, chomping on their cigars, showing off their success, seem to have disappeared as a type, at least from Australia. I remember (and loved) the smell of cigars smoked by guests, before and after my parents’ dinner parties in the 60s and 70s. I cannot think of the last time I saw anyone with a double maduro or smelt the aromatic waft of cigar smoke.

There is still something appealing to me about this particular vice.  Smoking a cigar  has a chunky, masculine, bravura that now represents a very different age; a time in which men were men and women were mainly pissed off, but hey, who doesn’t romanticise the memories of childhood?

This is another great photomatic that just got a bit too pricey for my budget. I normally buy them for US$10.00 or less. This one went for over $60.00. I envy the owner. Indeed, I do.

13 July 1996, St Kilda, Melbourne

Yet another group of pictures from my favourite photobooth at Luna Park, which continues my chronological photobooth series.

This is me and a friend with her child. She initially gave me permission to use the image on the blog but then changed her mind, so I pixilated the faces to keep her happy.

I quite like the mystery of this image. It has the feel of a missing person or wanted poster. It is slightly melancholic and sad.

 

More and more, when I am shopping for old photobooth photos, I look for ones that appear in a context that gives me more information about the person than a single photo might. I was thrilled to find this beautiful and unintentionally funny letter written by Cathy Prindler to her favourite teacher Mrs McConnell. I am guessing she would have been 11 or 12 years old, as she is about to enter a junior high school in the USA, although the very 1960s back-combed, mini bee-hive “do” looks like it should belong to an older girl.

The letter has been glued to an album page and at some point cut out of its home, possibly for selling. It is another item made melancholy by the fact that it has parted ways with its owner through death, accident or neglect.

Listing titles in online sales are often funny, sometimes completely wrong, sometimes overly flattering or in this case, just plain insulting. This poor man was listed as Big Nose. Written on the back is the date, 3rd of August 1939, with the place name Nantacket (sic) which I believe is how the place name Nantucket, is pronounced.

Nantucket is an island 30 miles (48 km) south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States. It looks to be a very pretty place for a holiday which means this is possibly a souvenir of a vacation. Big nose or not, this guy has a friendly and appealing face, as does his happy partner.

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