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Author Topic: looking back in time
Lima Bean
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Babbler # 3000

posted 26 June 2003 08:09 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What about the importance of remembering how things looked? Is a visual image as important as words written about what happened? We remember the dates and the names and some of the "plot line", if you will.

How valuable is being able to look back on what once was, even if only in a photograph or a painting, or something--what about when you have pictures of the same things, or the same places at intervals over the years?

Witnessing the destruction of the statue of Buddha and the fall of the Berlin wall has made me thankful to live in an age where photographs have been so freely taken and disseminated. If not for photographs, I would never have seen those things. Or very much at all.


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Meowful
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posted 26 June 2003 08:23 PM      Profile for Meowful   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree. Pictures are invaluable. Words alone are not sufficient because each reader gets a different "picture" of what they're reading. Even descriptive language doesn't convey the exact "look" of a certain person or thing... (Although I do love to immerse myself in a good novel...)

As far as family photos go...Without pictures we wouldn't know what family members looked like. Or be able to look back at ourselves and laugh! (That's Me! )

Nowadays we use a digital -- We never actually look at the pictures anymore, they are just filed away on the computer... (who ever gets time to download them all on to disk to get processed?)

[ 26 June 2003: Message edited by: Meowful ]


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
scrabble
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posted 26 June 2003 08:28 PM      Profile for scrabble     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I live in a strange pocket of BC's lower mainland that calls itself a "historic district." Most of the houses were built between 1870-1912, which is old for hereabouts.

The local archives are full of photos of the area from the turn of the century: white folks in their Sunday best, proudly arrayed on porch steps. We got a frisson of something or other when we saw those. The houses are still here, much as they were back then (minus stables). The little saplings you can see in the photos are now huge knobby ancient trees. But all those people are long gone.

The federal government in the affluent 70s hired students to photograph houses in the area for a whacked-out heritage project; these photos are neat, too. DrConway would looove those cars - I didn't see any Crown Vics, but the Thunderbirds! They were the size of Learjets!


From: dappled shade in the forest | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Meowful
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posted 26 June 2003 08:34 PM      Profile for Meowful   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just love those heritage homes. I'd love to get one and restore it...

We've been renovating our place (it was built in the 50's). All the cabinetry etc. is solid douglas fir, so we just stripped 50 years of paint away and voila! New kitchen!


From: British Columbia | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 26 June 2003 09:02 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Our house is one of the older ones in the city -- built in 1912. There were some older, but many fell victim to the cyclone of 1912, which leveled much of Regina.

Anyway, there is a cafe about a block and a half from here that has been in business for over 90 years, the Quality Tea Room, and they have a bunch of old photos of the neighborhood. I've glanced at them in passing, but haven't paid them much attention. We were waiting for a table to open up the other day, and the blond guy was perusing a photo when he realized it was our street -- and there was our house, the year it was built, sans ginormous pines, elms, etc. It doesn't look a whole lot different now.

Very cool.

(I also found out not long ago that most of the big old elm trees around here came from my great-grandfather's tree nursery...)


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Meowful
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posted 26 June 2003 09:07 PM      Profile for Meowful   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is soooo cool. I love history and historic buildings. I worked in a hotel for a bit... circa 1898. It was great, we gave tours, the rooms were set up in the period...
From: British Columbia | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 26 June 2003 09:34 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For some reason you people know all the cool projects and things. I'm jealous.

scrabble, I'm pretty sure some of those cars could make my Crown Vic shrink in mortal shame. Lear jets, indeed.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
redshift
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posted 26 June 2003 09:47 PM      Profile for redshift     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
worked on a renovation of the Balfour apartments in Regina 15-20 years ago. it had the first elevator west of winnipeg when it was built somewhere around 1910. the woodwork and craftsmanship was gorgeous.
what was really neat was that some of the elderly residents were original first occupants of the building. told some great stories, and made pretty fine cookies too.
love working on historical restorations, they reveal so much of the pride that people took in their work.

From: cranbrook,bc | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 26 June 2003 09:48 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I live in a strange pocket of BC's lower mainland that calls itself a "historic district." Most of the houses were built between 1870-1912, which is old for hereabouts.

I used to live in a somewhat similar neighbourhood of Victoria -- in a house designed a "heritage house" by the city, in fact. While living there I found and bought, in a poster store, a very detailed and painstakingly drawn aerial view of Victoria -- ca. 1889. Obviously this was an imagined view, even hot-air balloons being unknown in Canada at the time.

(At Christmas we gave my dad the new Historical Atlas of Canada, which features a number of these aerial views. There was apparently quite a vogue for them between around 1880 and 1914 or so).

It's fascinating -- you can recognize a surprising number of buildings. The old "birdcage" legislature stands in for the present-day version, which was built around ten years or so later. And nowadays "James Bay" refers simply to an old residential neighbourhood, but in this view it's there in its watery glory. Later it was filled and the Empress Hotel built on top of it.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 27 June 2003 12:55 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So, then what do you think of our newfound propensity for editing, touching up, or completely altering photos? I'm thinking in particular of a recent scandal involving a doctored photo of the war on Iraq, for which the photographer lost his job (I believe), and the almost completely falsified images of women etc. in magazines these days...

How valuable are images that aren't true, in a literal sense?


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 27 June 2003 02:25 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Images were never really "true". We just wanted to believe that they were. They're produced in part by an objective machine, the camera, but also guided by the subjective organism, the photographer.

Within a few years of photography's invention it was being used to create "ghost" photos (wherein a person, dressed all in white, would pose on the spiral staircase or parlour for only half of the exposure time). These photos were all the rage at the time, and many believed that they showed actual ghosts!

Now granted, inexpensive computers, scanners and printers, as well as software like Photoshop, has made digital tinkering faster, easier, better, and within reach of the average person, and so we'll see more of it, but lying with a photo is older than any of us is.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 27 June 2003 02:45 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Quite right. The USSR, of course, developed* photo-doctoring into a coarse art, but most every government cheerfully made use of it when it suited them. That supposed 'film' of Hitler dancing a jig upon being told of the conquest of Paris was a classic example -- made by simply looping a few frames of him taking high steps.

For that matter, governments also used the art of lying without photographs. I've read, I don't know where, that owing to wartime censorship, not a single photograph of a corpse appeared in any newspaper in an Allied country (Britain, France etc.) during the whole of the First World War. I imagine much the same prevailed in Germany.

But digitizing images makes it so much easier to make them contain whatever you want that we may be moving into a fundamentally different era. I don't know just what I think about this, though, or how to think about it, so I'll stop rambling.

* sorry...

[ 27 June 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 27 June 2003 04:31 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
worked on a renovation of the Balfour apartments in Regina 15-20 years ago. it had the first elevator west of winnipeg when it was built somewhere around 1910. the woodwork and craftsmanship was gorgeous.
what was really neat was that some of the elderly residents were original first occupants of the building. told some great stories, and made pretty fine cookies too.

Oh, the Balfour! Know and love it. Right across the street from the church we went to, Knox Met, which, incidentally, was built on the foundation of one of the churches destroyed in the Cyclone of 1912. You can still see pock marks from flying debris on the foundation.

My grandfather and parents knew some of the people who lived in the Balfour from church. When I was a little girl, my Dad brought some wild ducks to an old couple that lived there, and I went with him -- this would have been in the early '70s, and they'd lived there for ages. I remember the old woodwork, the chandeliers, the fancy elevator, the oriental rugs... It was like a palace, in my eyes.

Yes, fond memories of the Balfour. That, and I pass it on foot at least once a week on my way to the farmer's market. It's gone condo, I know a gal who bought a small apartment there.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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