Published on June 16th, 2013
Some photographs have a presence that grows as they enlarge. This photograph was scanned from a 6cm x 9cm film negative made by my grandmother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986). I have absolutely no idea at this point who this family of children are and why my grandmother photographed them. But WOW, what an interesting study in poverty.
Three key children in this random composition that I find fascinating at the boy on the left, the boy on the right and that little boy with the entirely disturbing furrowed brow standing in front of his older brother. And I’d probably even include that older brother. It’s only when you can pump this up in size that justice can be done to these faces and characters… a 600 pixel jpg on a screen comes nowhere near that objective.
This website uses an opaque layer to subdue colour and contrast so that also depletes from the picture that you see.
I can’t help being haunted by who these children were – how they lived, where they lived, what children they raised and what wars they fought and perhaps died in. They’re most probably dead. But some of them may still be alive. This is a photograph in need of their story.