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From an online auction.

Is it just me, or is the name “Undertaker’s Wives Club” a poorly thought out title for a social group? I mean for any group at all? It doesn’t have a ring of cheery conversation and bonhomie, does it?

The unusual name emblazoned at the top, certainly makes for a highly desirable, collectable image. That is especially so with the stunningly beautiful female subject. The hand tinting and the industrial landscape background add to its desirability, not to mention that it was taken in one of the most famous NYC dance clubs of the 1920s and 30s.

I have two Savoy Ballroom photos in my collection. They have the same background featured, with the year and the event names changing in each. If anyone can tell me what is depicted in this back-drop, I’d be very grateful to hear from you.

The auction for this stunning image is still ongoing. I’ve bid to my maximum and so now must bow out. I can see it going for up to $100 or more.

It is always fun to see how other people use photobooths to record special events or to just have some fun. As a result of the threatened closure of the Flinders Street photobooth, I’ve found out a lot more about how Melbournians have used this booth and how important it has been in their lives.

A particularly fun set of images came to my attention recently. Lanie and her husband have been collecting booth images for sometime. She continues the story –

Every year on 4 January, or close to, we get a photo at the Flinders Street booth. It’s our anniversary. The collection of black and white photos marks so many milestones. Footloose young sweethearts, my bulging belly pregnant with our first child, then babies and children emerge in the photos, as the years progress. There have been 9 photos so far… I hope dozens more to come!

You can see some details from the above strips, below. The second one down is of Lanie’s husband, kissing her belly when she was 6 months pregnant with their first child. Speaking of which, I have another pregnant belly photo to show you very soon.

 

USA 1960s

Hello little girls, with your wonky mummy-cut fringes! I love your complementing striped tops. You are working so beautifully together to compose these photos. Your mum and dad must’ve been so thrilled with them!

The strip of these two cuties came from a photo album in which the following three snapshots were found.


A Christmas with a new baby. Is it a boy or a girl?


It’s another girl. What an extravagant Easter!


The girl holding the jug of hooch and the pipe is presumed to be the mother of the three sisters. I wonder if this was just a dress-up game or were the costumes for a party or Halloween? Either way it is a fabulous precursor to this little history of girlhood.

USA, early 1970s

In this strip of photos, on a first glance, it looks like an older girl is trying to corrupt a younger one. That is until you see that, if anything, the younger girl is doing the corrupting. In reality, despite the tie-less, pigtailed, schoolgirl look of the lass on the left, these two are probably the same age and well past the stage where smoking could be deemed to be quite so “naughty”. I’d say they were both in their twenties, or do you think they are younger than that?

If it were not for the fact that the cigarette is so perfectly formed and obviously not a hand rolled one, I’d think they were indulging in a joint, rather than a ciggie. I love the fact that the act of sharing a fag in a photobooth is so amusing to them both. And using a cigarette holder? How sophisticated, (or not!). I feel like the mirth is such that there must’ve been a reason for it. Could it have been induced by the fact they swiped the holder from a pretentious employer or older relative?

The way the girl on the right is blowing smoke directly at the camera, in the second shot, is nicely caught and the look of glee on both their faces makes me want to join in with the gag.

Isn’t the girl on the right stunningly beautiful, and all the more so for her beaming smile?

This was an incredibly generous gift from my friend Ted. He has sent me some magnificent strips over the past few years. This one surpasses them all! Thanks again, Ted!

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.

Often there are instances where one might have an inkling that a photo of two people could be that of siblings but with no positive proof, it remains just that – an inkling, a guess, a supposition. For some reason I feel certain that the women here are sisters, despite the differences between them. If not sisters, they look to have had a long and close friendship. I feel joy and hope when I look at this photo. At this age, I want to be able to take a similar photo with one of my besties, with whom I have shared a photobooth on more occasions, than with anyone else.

I love the intimate pose of these two – their shoulders overlapping and heads touching. From the lady on the right we see a gentle tilt of the head towards her companion. This emphasises their closeness and suggests to me that she is the more dependent one in the relationship. I also love the way their smiles are so genial and welcoming. They are genuinely warm and unforced, and their eyes have followed suit, inviting us to enjoy the warmth of their relationship.

This photo is undated but the style of clothing and jewellery suggests to me it is from the late 1950s or early 60s. What looks at first glance to be a brooch on the lady at the left, is actually a very lovely and unusual means of fastening her jacket. You can just see the other part of this clasp at the far bottom left of the photo. She is also wearing some tasteful earrings which are too indistinct in the photo to guess more about them. I am assuming the pansy shaped brooch to be on the dress or jacket of the lady on the right. However, it is on an unusual angle if it is on her clothing, and yet it seems to sit too high to be on the breast of her friend, where a brooch would most likely be placed, for it to be hers. Another question for me is, are those leaf shapes to the left of the sparkling pansies, part of that same brooch or another one altogether?

As always there will be things that you will notice that I have missed. I love to get your thoughts and feelings, so please leave a comment.

Ray Parker 1981. He was probably aged 21 or 22.

These are the last two images I have of Ray. We have seen him develop and grow from babyhood to adulthood in 134 frames. Happily for me, you have taken him to your heart as much as I have.

Included in this large lot of photos was one three-photo strip of a middle aged lady, called Millee. (Below) Her name is written in the same hand writing that appears on the backs of most of the images of Ray as a teenager and adult. I have no doubt that these photos are definitely part of the family collection.

As no mother appears in any of these strips, perhaps Ray grew up without a mum? Whether through divorce or death or perhaps through a dislike of having her photo taken, she is an absent figure. So perhaps Millee was the important motherly figure in Ray’s life? There could be a resemblance to Ray in her features. She could be his mother, I suppose, but to me she looks rather too old to have been a mum to a 16 year old in 1975, when this photo was taken. She could possibly be an aunt or Ray’s grandmother? Perhaps a nanny or housekeeper to Ray’s father?

It is likely that we will never know the full story, but if someone who recognises Ray stumbles on this blog, you will be the first to know.

Millee 1975

 

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