I keep the snapshots not for what they show but for what is hidden in them.I'm experimenting with wikification of my Nova Scotia Faces project, with the object of soliciting help from vernacular photography enthusiasts. This may turn out to be a mistake, but we won't know until we try, right?
Margaret Laurence, The Diviners, 14
I started putting items into Flickr in November 2005, one or two a day (see the set here, and for a really good time, try viewing as a slideshow), but that was simply too slow, or anyway that's what Gardner said. And it's all very well for me to give my readings of these gems, but it would be at least as interesting to hear what others have to say. Some people have added comments to the (more detailed, larger) Flickr versions of the images.
Bottom line: if you'd like to play in this territory, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll get Schtuff to issue you an Invitation to be a Participant/Collaborator, with powers to edit and so on. [In fact nobody ever did... and in retrospect that's not surprising]
To give you a jumping-off place, consider the possible tags and captions for this one...
These images are vernacular in the sense that they were primarily of interest to small numbers of people --immediate family and friends. Many were taken by professional photographers (and most are, in fact, meant to be portraits), though some of the most fascinating are 'snapshots', amateur productions which achieve a sort of eloquence via naive framing and selection of subject matter. Each is a bundle of details that might be decoded and turned into a story. Each is an undefended glimpse into the life of a real person or group of people. I poke fun at a lot of the subjects, but deep down I realize that I love them, and that, after 25+ years of looking at them, my own life is entangled with theirs, though our temporal existences mostly don't overlap. I rescued them from junk-store oblivion, and putting them up here breathes new life into their mostly-anonymous selves.
The categories below have gradually emerged as I made subsets of the photographs. Within any category, the order of presentation is tentative and provisional, and in a few cases I've included an image under more than one heading. I've found it VERY interesting to look through the corpus defined by these sets, and I continue to tinker with commentary and sequence.
Poor Alice G.
the little stranger
baby pictures and another presentation
rites of passage
beards and moustaches
posing for a photograph
the new car
the art of layout
Miss E. Woodward's album
what Naum knew: the Young album
Lizzie Ritchie's album
another Ritchie album
the Risser album
Alalia Stevens' album
Annapolis Valley apples
hats and another presentation
Nova Scotians at play
postcards from away
gone but not forgotten
tintypes more tintypes and still more tintypes even more tintypes
cartes de visite more cartes de visite and more cartes de visite
the tale of David Anderson Behie
Joe Wilner wilner continued and more wilner
20th Connecticut Volunteers
For the geographically curious, there's a fine map of Nova Scotia place names in pdf form (use the zoom function to see details). At some point I'll add links to surname geography work I did some years ago, which intersects in a number of interesting ways.