Monday, September 13, 2010

The American Photo Album

On my last trip to my old Kentucky home I discovered an old family photo album from the 1800s. The cover is sculpted out of leather a with gold leaf details. Inside each page is a thick matte framing a daguerreotype portrait. On each page is a shakely written name labeled by my Great Aunt Fanny and often corrected by my mother. I guess Fanny wanted to make sure after she passed someone would be able to identify all the people from our family tree, little did she know my mom was actually paying attention to her elders.

Daguerreotypes are the oldest photographic process. I imagine when these portraits were taken a photo was something special that maybe only happen for many of my relatives once in their lifetime. The outfits and posses and hand painted color in these photos is stunning. I wish in the digital era we would occasionally put as much thought into our portraits as our relatives did many years ago.