Not to be given away
Not to be given away - 028
Original photograph, 8 x 14 cm.
Bob - 15
Original photograph, 10.5x8.5 cm.
Dinah’s grave
Dinah’s grave note the flowers 3-
Original photograph, 6.5x9.5 cm.
Hills covered with pine trees
Hills covered with pine trees
Original photograph, 5x7 cm.
Mother – Taken at Jones Beach June 17 – 1956. I fell down + [?] took my picture – 923A
Original photograph, 9.5x7 cm.
Age 20 mo – 12 days
[?]v 9, 1924. [?] Age 20 mo – 12 days
Original photograph, 5x7 cm.
Just as I was
[?]p one Just as I was going in the Post Office to mail a package
Original photograph, 11x7 cm.
Texture 1
Original photograph, 6x6 cm.
Texture 3
Original photograph, 7x11.5 cm.
Dad Bruns Sleeping
Dad Bruns Sleeping - 60
Original photograph, 9x6.5 cm.
This picture was taken
This picture was taken first[?] where we [?] into the Ha[?] the lumber is lying around the yard. This is our family all but our eldest boy.
Original photograph, 11x6.5 cm.
This is Gladys
This is Gladys and the baby Lyod
Original photograph, 6x10.5 cm.
You know me
If[?] you know me you [?] the Valentine come [?] Our new address after Monday will be 926 Randolph. It is up to you to guess [?] that be hard/ As Ever Your Friends - 3
Original photograph, 7x11.5 cm.
In our yard
Mrs W. H. Tom x, W. H. Corn[?] x, Mrs. Tom[?]Corn[?] o, Tom[?] Corn[?] o, Haster[?] Corn[?] / Harry’s, Glyde[?] Corn[?] // Harry’s, Edmen Corn[?] /X Tom’s, Jean[?] Corn[?] /X Tom’s, Hyrtte[?] Corn[?] / Harry’s, Olive Corn[?] // Harry’s, Alma Corn[?] // Tom’s, Hr[?]w[?] Rassi s, Tom Kersmar[?]/X, Our Grandson in our yard
Original photograph, 13.5x8 cm.
Taken on farm
Taken on farm
Original photograph, 6.5x9.5 cm.
There is Today
There is Today 550T
Original photograph, 7x11.5 cm.
Texture 9
Original photograph, 6x5 cm.
Texture 10
Original photograph, 6x5 cm.
Texture 12
Original photograph, 6x5 cm.
Texture 13
Original photograph, 6x5 cm.
Day of Farewell
This is taken on our day of farewell here in Mt. Lake. Sam and his wife are not present. 2
Original photograph, 12x8.5 cm.
Hapkins[?] Reservoir
Hapkins[?] Reservoir. Where we spent Sun. July 4, 1926. X is where we went across to in boats.
Original photograph, 7x9.5 cm.
Jan. 10 1920
Jan. 10 1920 This was taken 50 miles east at Hubers[?] ranch near Del canlo[?] 3480 feet above sea level. J.F.Reely
Original photograph, 11x7 cm.
King and Queen
King and Queen Remembrance Rd. 19
Original photograph, 9x15 cm.
Marybeth Meatherholt
Marybeth Meatherholt after checking her airplane on our[?] Royal British Aircraft carrier June 19, 1957 n.y. Harbor 259D
Original photograph, 9x6.5 cm.
Pat Meatherholt Aug 9, 1955
Pat Meatherholt Aug 9, 1955 Queen Mary – n y Harbor waiting for mary lynn miller 378
Original photograph, 6x9 cm.
Me – Mrs. Harry L. Baldwin + Mrs Harry A. Baldwin
Me – Mrs. Harry L. Baldwin + Mrs Harry A. Baldwin I am long, lean & la[?]k and she is short & chubby Ha! Ha! Taken a few days ago. [?]7
Original photograph, 7x11.5 cm.
My girl friend Edna[?]
My girl friend Edna[?] D[?]s and her nephew. Miss Hamiltion and “yours truly” in front of “my happy house”
Original photograph, 10.5x6 cm.
My last years
My last years new coat! Nov. 1974
Original photograph, 9x11 cm.
Texture 7
Original photograph, 8x11.5 cm.
Texture 8
Original photograph, 9x9 cm.
Myself! This was take up at Sylvon[?] Beach too. It isn’t very good but it is the only one I have.
Original photograph, 10.5x6 cm.
Officers on Board
Officers on Board. H.W.S[?] “Rewown”[?] 1917 R.A. Harries[?]
Original photograph, 10.5x16.5 cm.
Paulline Meier
Paulline Meier, James Bork[?], Sala Oltman, Loren Cramer 4
Original photograph, 7x4.5 cm.
Pleasant Brook
Pleasant Brook Rapids on farm. Uncle Sam’s farm.
Original photograph, 7x9.5 cm.
“Our Wedding Picture”
“Our Wedding Picture” Edna 117
Original photograph, 9.5x7 cm.
Raymond’s graduation
This is on Raymond’s graduation day – from Hi school. He will be 19 on Dec 19. Now going to CCNY – nights – The snow is from Dec 26, over 5 weeks – it was our record snow – 28 inches. Feb 3, 1948
Original photograph, 9x12 cm.
Schmidts Cove
York Farm[?] – Flat tops Alabama – [?]iama – Liconderag[?] –flat battle ships Schmidts Cove 1947 15.00
Original photograph, 7x11.5 cm.
Texture #3
3 /
Original photograph, 5.5x8 cm.
Texture #4
Original photograph, 5.5x8 cm.
Texture #5
Original photograph, 8x6 cm.
Arabs and camels
Arabs and camels 1.00[?] 04
Original photograph, 6.5x9 cm.
Taken on stairway
Taken on stairway leads up tp the third floor and s[?] porch or pergola[?] as grandma[?] calls it – side of house. Uncle grant[?] – a man from Lodi who is going to N.D. with them[?] – Papa, aunt Agnus – grandma[?] and myself
Original photograph, 6x9 cm.
At the side of grandma’s house
At the side of grandma’s house aunt agnes grandma and I – That’s a leaf from a banana tree hanging over us.
Original photograph, 6.5x9 cm.
The golden gate
The golden gate at San Francisco looking in toward the bay. There are ma[?]h g[?] at the gate [?] have to be so far away to get a picture and can’t see them at all – The island you se in the distance has the state prison on it, no chance for escape. All the ocean lines pass there this gate to get in and out of San Francisco. 3
Original photograph, 7x11.5 cm.
They were called seal rock
They were called seal rock and are at San Francisco. We looked in the picture as this we were close but we must have been nearly ½ mile from them on the shore. There are a lot of seals on the rocks sunning themselves but you can’yt hardly see them without a reading glass or something. These are all the picures you’ll get until Edith sends my film up.
Original photograph, 7x11.5 cm.
Who[?] you recognize this as
Who[?] you recognize this as the nack yard of the memorial hall on the river bank, used to be a rubbish dump, [?] end of 5th St bridge and also back of old Magestic Theatre. Was pretty[?] this late summer after they got done and the shrubbery[?] [?] was green. 3.00 10
Original photograph, 7.5x11.5 cm.
The view
The view of the house from the lake side. G3[?]13227 POLAROID
Original photograph, 8x10.5 cm.
This is our oldest
This is our oldest [?] girl Margaret and Helen Jackson Olives girl [?]-2
Original photograph, 11x8.5 cm.
This is the picture of our house
This is the picture of our house 90 Ma[?] + Arthur[?]
Original photograph, 6x8.5 cm.
Texture #5
Original photograph, 7.5x5 cm.
Dad grave
Dad grave may – 1956 413A
Original photograph, 9.5x7 cm.
See the deer, dear.
See the deer, dear.
Original photograph, 9.5x7 cm.
This w my mother[?]
This w my mother[?]
Original photograph, 5.5x6 cm.
This isn’t very good
This isn’t very good but I guess it will have to do for today. 366
Original photograph, 9x6 cm.

Not to be given away

For years I have been collecting photographs, concentrating my search on vernacular photos from the early 20th century. I have used these images extensively in previous works. Recently, while rummaging through my collection, I turned to look at the back of the photo and in a light penciled handwriting someone had written, “Not to be given away”. How ironic. How many times had this photo been given away? Where did this photo come from? What was so special about the photograph? Looking at every picture, I became fascinated how people chose to annotate their photographs. The descriptions, the handwriting and the textures revealed an entirely new archive.

Some of the notes explain the photograph in detail, while others only have names or a sentence that might not even relate to the image. Other times, there is only texture, dried glue that once held the photo in an album or pieces of black paper that the photo was once secured to.

My interest has been typically with the photographs and the vernacular style but I now find the notes or the lack of much more telling. The writing becomes more personal, more authentic than the actual photograph. We take pictures to remember. We photograph our vacations, holidays, weddings, our children and everything in between. The photograph, since the mid-1800s, has been an important personal archive and we continue to live through them. Our immortality resides on flimsy pieces of paper or digital files that abstractly live in our computers and we expect our loved ones to carry us with them. At a point, we are no longer remembered and the photos we once cherished become simply an image.

By hiding the picture and only revealing the backs of the photographs, I hope that one can create their own imagery either by remembering loved ones, reviving a family photo archive or simply being inspired by the words to create entirely new images.

Je collectionne les photographies depuis plusieurs années, et plus particulièrement les images vernaculaires datant du début du XXe siècle. Aussi en ai-je intégré un grand nombre dans mes précédents projets. Récemment, en fouillant dans ma collection, j’ai retourné l’un de ces clichés pour regarder à l’arrière. J’y ai trouvé une inscription manuscrite, un léger trait de crayon : Not to be given away (Ne pas donner). Quelle ironie ! Combien de fois cette photo a-t-elle été transmise, pourtant ? Combien de fois est-elle passée de main en main ? D’où provient-elle ? Qu’a-t-elle de si spécial ? En regardant chacune des images qui composent ma collection, je suis devenue fascinée par les annotations que les gens choisissent de consigner sur celles-ci. Les descriptions, le tracé laissé par la main, les textures, tout cela m’a révélé des archives qui m’avaient échappé jusque-là.

Certaines notes décrivent les photographies en détail, tandis que d’autres ne consistent qu’en un ou plusieurs noms, voire en une phrase qui pourrait ne pas être liée à ce que ces dernières représentent. Parfois, l’envers du papier photographique n’est que texturé : jadis enduit de colle, puis inséré dans un album, il porte les traces de cette substance qui a depuis bien séché ou alors des bouts de ces pages noires sur lesquelles les clichés ont un jour été fixés.

Ces photographies, leur style vernaculaire ont toujours suscité chez moi un grand intérêt. Or, je suis maintenant tout aussi fascinée par les informations manuscrites qui se trouvent derrière elles. D’ailleurs, je suis parfois d’autant plus intriguée que ces informations brillent par leur absence, ce qui en dit souvent aussi long au sujet des clichés. L’écriture devient même quelquefois plus personnelle et plus authentique que l’image elle-même.

Nous photographions pour nous rappeler : nos vacances, voyages, mariages, le temps passé avec nos enfants et tout ce qui survient entre ces moments. La photographie, depuis le milieu du XIXe siècle, est devenue archives personnelles de prime importance, et nous continuons à vivre à travers celles-ci. De délicats morceaux de papier nous ont immortalisés, ou encore des fichiers numériques, qui sont emmagasinés dans nos ordinateurs, et nous espérons que les êtres qui nous sont chers préserveront notre mémoire au moyen de ces objets, matériels ou non. Et puis, soudainement, nous sommes oubliés. Dès lors, les albums que nous chérissions tant ne comportent plus que de simples images.

Ayant exposé ici l’envers de nombreuses photographies que j’ai accumulées au fil du temps, j’espère que chacun saura créer sa propre imagerie en regardant cet ensemble, que ce soit en se remémorant des êtres aimés, en ravivant avec ardeur le souvenir d’archives familiales ou en se laissant simplement inspirer par l’écrit. Ainsi naîtront de nouvelles images.