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It is Anzac Day here in Australia, in beautiful New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga. It is also commemorated in Papua New Guinea and Samoa. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all from those places “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”.

Today a new centre to honour our contribution to campaigns on the Western Front was opened by our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The Centre is named after General Sir John Monash, “who led the Australian Corps with outstanding success on the Western Front in 1918, including the famous 4 July 1918 victory at Le Hamel”. It is located at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux in France.

Having a laugh, France 1944

I do not have any photobooth photos of Australian soldiers in France but I want to share some to represent all the people who fought far from home in any war, at any time. I feel very privileged to own this group of World War 2 era photos, taken by American soldiers somewhere in France in 1944 and 1945. They evoke very melancholy emotions, which are at once full of admiration at the sacrifices made and the courage it must’ve taken to fight, while at the same time they stir a deep, deep sadness and dismay that we are still fighting senseless wars and killing our fellow men, women and children.

Above is handsome Lawler. Both images are dated 1944 and were taken on different days in France.

This is Brice or Bruce. 1945 France.

Above are two more from the same group, also probably taken in France. I know nothing about the uniforms or even if they are all in uniform. I don’t know what the pin on the lapel of one soldier indicates or if the hat Lawler is wearing indicates his rank. I hope some of the details will be filled in for me, by you.

From a French Seller

With that grimace and those watery eyes, this boy seems to still be suffering the agonies he experienced in the tattooist’s chair. What a face! I imagine this was his attempt at trying to look like a tough guy. I think he needs more time to perfect his mannerisms for that role, don’t you?

His tattoo is a panther, I think. Or some other type of big cat. Given the heights of tattoo art these days, this is a rather underwhelming effort. I wonder if he added to it or even had work done over it?

photoboothSerbiansParis

I purchased this half strip of photobooth photos from an online seller based in Serbia. On the back is written Paris 17.12.66.

I was particularly attracted to this strip due to the broad, mirthful smiles on all three sitters but particularly by the  lady on the left’s expressions. I love the way her glance moves towards her friend in the second shot. There is something so cheeky and appealing in her two poses. I love her!

Once again, I also find some sadness in the fact that these photos have been lost to their owner. Death, broken relationships or accidental loss could account for it. The vicissitudes of life sadly toss us about and of course, it is no different for photos.

photoboothJollyHockeySticksFrance

Jolly hockey sticks is a humorous British expression used to describe a woman or girl of a high social class who is enthusiastic in a way that annoys most people.

Some further explanations –

Used as an exclamation
(In imitations of speech associated with a type of upper-class English schoolgirl) used to express boisterous enthusiasm or excitement.
“Hurrah and jolly hockey sticks! The Royals are once again out in force for another season of one-day events”

Used as an adjective
Denoting or relating to a woman or girl having a boisterous or hearty manner regarded as characteristic of a type of upper-class English schoolgirl
“I know she’s dreadfully jolly hockey sticks, but she does mean well”

Isn’t she just the epitome of this expression? Can’t you just imagine her off for the hunt with a pip-pip, toodle-ooh, or toodle-pip? She looks to be a terribly, terribly British upper-crust old gel, don’t you know? But by George, by golly and by gosh, it is beastly that this good egg isn’t a Brit at all. Poppycock, I hear you exclaim! And alas it is true. This photo and the sitter come from France.

photoboothFrenchDiva01

photoboothFrenchDiva03

In the above photos, the sitter looks as glamorous as a silent movie star. As her headdress doesn’t fit with her outfit, I am guessing she is trying out a bridal accessory, possibly to see how it worked in a photograph? Below, without the intricate head-piece, she looks less of a star but very much an elegant woman of the twenties.

These photos were taken on 25 November 1929 at a Photomaton studio in Paris. They came in their original folder which shows the prices you would’ve paid if you had chosen to make enlargements. There is only one photo missing from the strip of six, which would have been cut at the studio, in order that one would stand upright to fit the paper frame.

I cannot work out what the numbers beside the listed countries represent, as they cannot be the price in local currency. Taking Les États-Unis (USA) as an example, the equivalent set of photos in the 1920s would have cost ten cents, not $2.25 or 225 cents. France is listed on the back with 72 beside it, while the price on the front is marked as 6 francs.

The name of the shop or department store that is stamped in purple at the bottom front of the folder, I am unable to make out. I can find no record of anything other than a, now defunct, café at 26, Boulevard des Italiens.

photoboothFrenchDiva02

photoboothFrenchDiva04

photoboothPhotomatonFolder02

Outside of folder.

photoboothPhotomatonFolder03

Inside of open folder.

1929

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