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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

Picnic Expressions: 1953

Picnic Expressions: 1953

Interpreting facial expressions is a favorite Shorpy pastime, so herewith I present those of my family and friends for your speculations. Granted, some are influenced by the angle of incoming solar radiation. To the best of our recollections, this was a church picnic at Boyes Hot Springs, California. My father is at the left, my mother in the center looking at the camera, my sister propping her head on her hand, my brother over her shoulder. I'll let you guess which one is me, but as a hint he just might be the one who seems to be thinking: "I'm bored. Why can't I be home reading my comic books?" This snapshot, clicked off by a friend with my sister's Duaflex, benefited from one of those happy combinations of circumstances: nice sunlight angle and an exposure perfectly suited to the camera's fixed f-stop for Verichrome film (cropped down from a 2-1/4 square negative). Still, I rather think the shot is made by the lady who apparently didn't hear "Watch the birdie." View full size.

The Great Profile

I think I know why the oldest person in the photo is preoccupied and not looking at the photographer. When people get to be a certain age and they are told to sit on the ground, they may be able to get down, but they are not always able to get up (sort of like giraffes) so I think perhaps she was wondering how (and if) she would ever get vertical again and the actual picture-taking was not her main concern.

Who's the Fugitive

heading for the car?

Kodak Duaflex

I had a Duaflex, but I never got negatives as good as this. Guess I banged it up on camping trips and threw the focus off a bit.

OMG

How did Babe Ruth get in this picture?

Whining kid

At one point during the day, I got fed up over not getting enough attention, so I tracked down my sister with the other big kids and pestered her to take my picture. I'm about to eat a potato chip. I see I'm wearing my favorite shirt, last seen in the Clown Eats Boy shot. Also, notice the nice Nash in the background.

God, you were a cute kid !

Your expression is timeless! Much like your photos.

1937 DeSoto

The car in the background is a 1937 DeSoto. My father had one just like that one in the early '50s. The "ribbed" bumpers of that year were and still are very popular items for custom modified cars.

Our Surly Friend?

You can't fool me tterrace, that's you front and center. But I'm surprised to see Mvsman sitting so close to your father. Mvsman's been known to keep his distance.

Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life

This is a wonderful photo. It captures so much of the spirit, love and vitality of your family and your early milieu. Thank you for sharing it. The setting is just perfect.

Great Picture

Your sister is very pretty. You, on the other hand, should be extremely grateful that your wonderfully understanding family did not just pinch your head off and leave you there in the park.

"Jeez, take it, already!"

Is what you seem to be thinking.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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