Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Alan really has me thinking about faces these days and what the person was thinking at the moment the photo was being taken. Have you ever taken a face out of context and then tried to imagine what was going on? The prompt image this week is a tight shot of a face alone, and so that made me decide to ask this question. “What was going on?” just based on the face. Click on the face to see the full image.

Faces 5

Just call me…. *

Faces 3

My parents are just… **

Faces 1

Watch out, I’m holding a… ***

For more faces that may tell an interesting story, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Facing the sepians

* Unidentified people, photographer Wasson, 351 N. Water, Decatur, IL

** Johnie & Lola Ryan, Beulah & Harald, no photographer information

*** Lillian J. Lebo, 1919, The Rembrandt Stuidos, Decatur, IL

15 thoughts on “Faces

  1. Mustang.Koji says:

    You pose an interesting question indeed. I always wonder. We are looking at a mere fraction of a second of their lives, aren’t we.


  2. Brett Payne says:

    It’s very hard to imagine, particularly if we never knew the people.


  3. tyrogers6200 says:

    I always wonder what they were thinking about. Did they have the same worries that we do today? Were they thinking about paying the bills, getting the laundry done, going to the bar, does my butt look big in this dress, etc. etc?


  4. Wendy says:

    The first photo seems very modern with that plain white background. And why is dad smiling in photo #2? Doesn’t that go against the grain of the day?


  5. Sharon says:

    I like the way that you have done this post. Very enjoyable.


  6. postcardy says:

    Fun way of showing the faces in and out of context.


  7. Alan BURNETT says:

    Indeed every picture tells a story : now my mind is busy filling in the rest of these three stories you have started.


  8. Kathy says:

    I loved the smile on dad’s face in #2. What was it made him smile? Or could he just not help himself because he was always smiling?


  9. Three very interesting groups. Very much like Alan’s post too, where the closeup changes when seen in context. The jolly dad in #2 is wearing a Maple leaf pin. Canadians?


  10. dave mason says:

    On Mrs Marvel : I look overall and check my first impression. Then I look at the parts, eyes first. There is challenge, perhaps even anger and amusement too. There are no lines on her forehead and no real laughter lines round her eyes. There are more pronounced lines on the lower part of her face. Her mouth raises slightly at her left, expressing irony perhaps. Her lips are held tight and thin, showing strong control and perhaps disapproval. Her jaw is firm with a determined set. She has some tiredness around her eyes but determination too. It is a small ‘appropriate’ decorous smile with her mouth but her eyes are not smiling, there is some fear there . . . . .


  11. Antony Davis says:

    I think she looks rather mischievous. She wouldn’t stand for any nonsense or pretentiousness and would be quite cutting and severe if she came across it. I think if you went to her with a problem she’d give you sound, firm, useful advice, underscored by humour. Young kids would like her, be a bit scared of her, but definitely like her and she’d like them back for their honesty, simplicity and fun.


  12. kerbey says:

    I agree w/ the two above posters on that woman. But how old is she? She looks 60, so she is probably 35, lacking Neutrogena and such at the time.


  13. Bob Scotney says:

    Just call me Mother, I’m sure. Bit the bow on the girl in the last photo is frightful.


  14. IntenseGuy says:

    Lillian Galloway nee Lebo (1913-1955) lived in Macon, Macon County, Illinois. She was the daughter of Chester Owen Lebo (Find A Grave Memorial# 102297480) and Nettie Mae March. She was the wife of Wilmer C Galloway. Macon is about 10 miles south of Decatur.

    The 1910 US Census lists the Ryans, John, Lola, Bealuh, and Harold living in Harristown, Macon, Illinois. Harristown is about 8 miles due west of Decatur. A Ryan descendent owns Find A Grave Memorial# 5126565 which shows Lola Ryan (and she is not the woman in the top photo).

    Find A Grave Memorial# 5126563 shows John Ryan and his family – and Harold is a match.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Very interesting. They must all three have known someone who collected these photos. I believe they came from the same lot off ebay. And, as always, Iggy, you amaze me. Thank you for your research! :-)


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