Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Sepia Saturday challenges participants to see photographs in a different perspective at times. And some days, when the photo appears to meet the prompt exactly to theme, sometimes the meaning of the photos doesn’t. Or can’t. Or, has been lost. So often we see old photographs for sale on ebay, in antique shops, thrift stores, and even thrown into the trash, because they don’t mean anything to the current owner. Photographs are taken, shown to friends, placed into an album or shoebox or drawer, then to be forgotten by the person who took them in the first place. When they aren’t identified, it is especially difficult for descendants to figure out exactly what caught the eye of the photographer. My sister and I threw away probably a hundred photos of trees that our grandfather took on a trip somewhere, some time, with some people….but we didn’t know any of the details. Grandpa Jim liked scenery. Grammie Hennie liked people. The few photos we did save had a giant frame of scenery, with down in the corner or off to the side…a person. It was their compromise. :-)

So, as a “curator” of old photos, I seek out these lost treasures, the memories lost to time, and share them with you, all for our speculation and enjoyment. This week’s Sepia prompt shows blurry landscape. If I still had all those photos by Grandpa Jim, I’d share them, haha. But instead, I have a series of 14 5×7 photographs, from someone’s trip. To somewhere. To visit someone. The photos were not identified, but they were numbered. They may have been self developed as the weight of the prints varies. Some are on firm paper, others quite flimsy.

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I will pull out a few for closer examination, below. Click any photo to enlarge it.

An airstrip, small plane in the distance

An airstrip, small plane in the distance

At first glance, this is a picture of the tarmac at an airstrip. But, looking closer, there is a small silver plane in the center of frame.

Photo taken over the wing?

Hay making, horses used

This photo, taken over the wing engine of a plane I believe, shows a team of farmers collecting hay. The bales are large round ones, and to the left of the hay you can see a man, a horse, and in the distance more horses. There is also a man standing on the top of the main hay pile.

View out the window

These don’t look like American houses, so I’m guessing “European”

The view out the window, I suppose. Houses that do not look American. Hills rising in the distance. An electric cable right through the middle of the shot.

Great party

Look on the left wall, there is some sort of mural there

An image of a party or restaurant, unfortunately badly backlit by the windows. Looking to the left wall, there is a mural painted there. It shows a truck, a car and possibly a motorcycle, all on a road that appears to be along the edge of the world.

All the photos are intriguing because their meaning and origins are lost forever. Perhaps someone can identify the type of houses, or landscape. I’m thinking a military base, possibly in Germany, but that is a total guess. The slideshow displays the images in their numbered order, so that might tell us something about the progression of the person’s trip. But, just who was visiting whom…..we shall never know.

For more blurred memories and images, click over to Sepia Saturday. You will be happy you did!

Visiting abroad

16 thoughts on “Memories blurred with time

  1. Someone, some time, will recognise something in this series. Well worth rescuing and keeping in sequence.


  2. Fine Estate says:

    My favorite thing about an old photo is how each of them represents a series of questions…who, what, where? And how even the answers to these three questions don’t always answer the central question…why?

    Memories may blur with time, but the aura or feelings captured in photos such as yours, seldom dim…


  3. postcardy says:

    My favorite photos show both people and their surroundings.


  4. Deb Gould says:

    Lorraine’s right — somebody will recognize the “where” of these photos eventually…


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I do hope so! At least a location would help these images not be so lost.


  5. Rosie says:

    I. like your Grampa Jim, like to take pictures of scenery and have to force myself to take pictures of people. I do from time to time, unless they are small children, they usually complain about how they don’t like pictures of themselves anyway….LOL


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I can’t get my daughter out from in front of the camera. She loves it! :-)


  6. Great post. This is an interesting weekend of photos that celebrate the fog of memory. These look so similar to countless snapshots by servicemen, that maybe it is better to think of the set as one man’s memory of military life, preserved here on the internet. Time moves on, and nothing stays the same. Even memory fades like the sepia tones of old photographs.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Mike, you encapsulate the prompt in your phrase “even memory fades like the sepia tones of old photographs.” Lovely.


  7. kristin says:

    I like photos of people, with scenery or scenery. Do not like the ones with scenery and half a head in the corner.

    “Even memory fades like the sepia tones of old photographs.” that is quite poetic.


  8. Sharon says:

    I have may albums of my mother grandmothers holiday snaps. They don’t mean anything to me as primarily scenery. It has made me more aware of ensuring that there are people in my holiday snaps………..so hopefully they are more interesting to future generations viewing them.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I have found that the ones my mom just wrote a note on are much more meaningful than the ones of “pretty views.”


  9. mousleyka says:

    The US Army Air Force had several bases in Italy during WWII. The little plane might be a Fighter (P-51 Mustang?) – and if so, the field might be Foggia.

    Has a list of fields – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foggia_Airfield_Complex


  10. IntenseGuy says:

    The plane is definitely a P51 Mustang. I’m pretty certain this is Italy. The “soldier” would appear to have been a airman.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Ah, WWII makes him a US Army Air Corpsman then. Excellent!


  11. I was going to guess Switzerland..not sure why..if Iggy says Italy is most certainly is! I loved the series of photos..sent home to show a brother ( the pin ups) where he was at. :)


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