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Old Mar 31, 2004, 7:33 AM   #1
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Default CHALLENGE: 3/31/04-4/6/04 "Good Old Days"

Ready for some fun? Let’s warm up our scanners, grab the oldest photos in the family album or steal them from friends or neighbors, then scan them into our computers. Do only necessary enhancements such as contrast and sharpening. No cropping and no damage repair because it takes away possible clues. If the photo shows discoloration or is toned such as with sepia, make sure to scan it in color.

Post your photos without a single word. We don’t want to know who, where, what, or when. Let’s sharpen our observational skills, seeing how much we can tell about time, place, people and things by just looking at the picture. Continue being silent in your own thread(s) until the last couple of days of the challenge when you should divulge all. We can babble in other people’s threads, but mum’s the word in our own.

Some of us may have mystery photos, the kind with stories that died with their owners. Go ahead and post them. Maybe one of us will recognize something or come up with such a fabulous lie that you’ll decide to keep it as your own.

There’s a caveat to this exercise. Family photos can represent sensitive areas in a person’s life. Read over what you’ve written before hitting the submit button because:

(1) We don’t want to make disparaging remarks about man or beast. (Describing someone as “plain” is simple truth; saying the person is “ugly” is hurtful.)
(2) Value judgments concerning living conditions are also a bad idea. (“Poverty” is fact; “What a dump!” is disparaging opinion.)

Nag: begin subject line with “Good Old Days”




Here’s a photo such as none of us is likely to have, but I wanted to share it with you because it’s so “readable.” It’s by Jacob Riis, the photo-journalist who wrote How the Other Half Lives, a late 19th century book showing immigrant and tenement life in New York City. The picture was taken in 1888 on Mulberry Street in an area known as Bandits’ Roost, a place where some of the worst of the city’s criminals congregated. But are criminals the only thing we see? Yes, there’s an assertive stance to the men in the foreground, one of whom is holding a stick of wood that could be used as a club, but look again. The man on the far right is nattily dressed, but the man with a stick is wearing rougher and not well-fitted clothing. What does this say about both the individuals and the group? Notice the women leaning out the open windows, then peer farther into the background. Is that a child dressed as a man? Laundry is slung between the close buildings, but it’s almost entirely bed linen. Where is the clothing? The pavement style also speaks of an era and, by the by, that it must have just stopped raining. Clues are everywhere in this photo. To my eye, it’s filled with hints of dreams that struggle to sprout in a wasteland.
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 8:01 AM   #2
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Barbara: Very interesting idea. Looking forward to seeing what people come up with.

Gil
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 8:12 AM   #3
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Yes, this sounds like fun!!
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 10:02 AM   #4
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aack! i can't post in my own thread! how harsh.....lol i'm not sure i can do that.......lol
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 10:36 AM   #5
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Great idea. Now, to find some old pictures!
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 11:16 AM   #6
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L'il Poobah, do you have any old pictures? lol - I mean, older than your mom and dad (who are probably my age...)
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 12:59 PM   #7
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lol.....my "old" photos of me at least....are in color...and i think my old photos of my parents are in color..not sure....have to ask my grandparents if they have any lol
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 1:19 PM   #8
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Of COURSE the pics of your parents are in color! And your grandparents were probably born early 40's? Try great grandparents! But, really, all grandparents are great.
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 1:24 PM   #9
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wait a minute...did it say anywhere that the pictures had to be b/w?
lol
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Old Mar 31, 2004, 1:40 PM   #10
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You have to post the oldest photo you can find that also might have information in it that "says" a little more than just "here's a house," or "that's a portrait of someone." As mentioned in the description of the challenge, it can be a friend or neighbor's old photo. Just don't take anything off the Internet...like I did with the Riis photo.
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