Being Mother’s Day I thought a nice photograph of old mum from back in the day would be a nice gesture. This is a scanned photograph that I expect was made by my father’s mother Elvie Ruth Bonner (1901-1986) some time in the early 1950s. My parents married in 1953
so it might even be shortly after they were married – my older sister informs me this was the night our parents met. Mum was 15 and dad was 18 years of age.
Imagine if we lived in a world (again) without photographs. We’re so used to stopping time and capturing space on a two-dimensional object that it’s hard for the modern us to really understand the pre-photography existence of society. A normalcy where nobody, except the rich who hired painters, knew the face of their forebears. And only memory was at hand to remember the faces of our family across the excruciatingly slow amble of decades.
Images are now a ubiquitous part of everything we do and everywhere we travel. Images have saturated our lives and impressed our imaginations and motivations into a contortion unlike any time in human history. We’re the Gods of time and space – right now I have several instances of family history spanning half a century in my coat pocket.
So I still find this collection of old photographs passed down from my grandmother to be totally fascinating. In the way Rebecca Solnit’s book River of Shadows: Edweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West was a hard-to-put-down read on this very subject.