Friday, February 12, 2010

Are you listening?

Some of my best friends are phantoms. This boy, for instance. I don't know who he is, but the photo speaks to me. Volumes. I've had this photo forever. It reminds me of my dad who made the first crystal radio receiver in Forest Grove Oregon, when he was a lad.

What is he listening to? It's blowing his mind, whatever it is. Or forming it. I like his button up shoes. The oriental rug. The doily on the table top. And that radio, with the Bakelite knobs, and the speaker horn-thingy.

Do you have old family (or otherwise) photos that stir your imagination? What do they say to you?


Kate Higgins said...

In my family's albums, there is a photo of a Sturgeon my granddad caught in the Snake River in Idaho. The fish was in an old buckboard wagon drawn by two draft horses. The tail of the fish draped out of the wagon by about 3 feet. That means the fish had to be at least 20' to 24' long. I always wonder how they caught it and what they did with that fish. It was my favorite picture to look at. Needless to say, I was never fond of wading in that river.

steven said...

richard - that's such a great question and i have to say that one of the revelatory features of blogging is coming across people like yourselves who have candid images of a time long past. i have stiffly posed family portraits that tell little of the joys, sorrows, the real moments of their being. this is such a cool and rich photo. steven

Protege said...

I am so with you on this one! This is a very intriguing photograph. Look at his little hand holding onto the chair as well. His facial expression gives away the fact that he is very intense about the whole experience.
I have never been taken by a photograph (yet), not in this way at least. I have been shocked and enticed perhaps.
But I have been completely mesmerized once in my life, when I gazed at this painting for the first time. It spoke to me then and it speaks to me every day, when I look at it as it hangs next to my bed.
Have a lovely weekend,

Julia Kelly said...

I love that little photo-great to see something candid and not so posed from that era! Is he someone in your family?
I have three photo in my stairs of my great great uncles- who in their teens, left Minnesota and the family farm, to be cowboys in the West- my favorite is one of them standing with his horse, rifle in hand, and cowboy garb! I am the one in my family to go the farthest West- apparently it is in my blood!

storyqueen said...

"Some of my best friends are phantoms" Wow, is that an great opening line for a book or what?

I find the photo kind of haunting.


jesse joshua watson said...

I have one question that trumps all my others. How the heckfire did they get a little boy to sit still enough for an old timey photo?

A mermaid in the attic said...

My mum and dad have a gorgeous old leather bound photo album, with thick card pages decorated with flowers, and gilded windows in them to place photos in. It came out from Glasgow with my grandfather almost 100 years ago, and has many beautiful pictures...but I don't know who they are, there are no names on them at all. They are mysterious relatives/ancestors whose stories have been lost.

Soozi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Jesse Watson said...

Wow Kate. I want to see that photo. No kidding, wouldn't want to swim in that river.

Thanks Steven. Yeah, I do think the photo has that rare capture of a moment of mystery.

Thank you Zuzana. "Mesmerized" says it just right. I love your Pre-Rafaelite (?) painting. What longing and anguish. A heart wrenching image that embodies some universal fears and loves. Beautiful.

Julia, the boy in the photo is not from my family as far as I know. I would love to see your cowboy picture.

You are right,Shelley, that would make a great opening line. And this photo has indeed haunted me for years.

Jesse, I think the boy was "mesmerized" by the newness and magic of voices over the air.

Mermaid, I love old photos that have such mystery and unknowing. And yet, I always want to know more about the people in them. What were their loves and sorrows? What were their dreams?

whitewitch said...

Oh, yes! One such photo was a family picture taken during a pilgrimage on a mountain whose name I could no longer recall. In the pic my brother, mom, and I were huddled close together all smiles, while my father crouched in the far corner, his eyes scanning the overcast sky. Looking at it brings to light some realities which all of us know well but would not dare discuss or ponder on. Pictures do say more than a thousand words.

stunted male said...

thanks for being provocative. i've always had that question in my mind but never bothered to ask others as well. i always wonder why people stare a certain way at the camera in old pictures, like a famine has struck or something

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Thanks Whitewitch. Are you real or are you an ad?

Stunted Male, are you a robot?