Saturday, January 26, 2013

They Were "Us" . . .

These color photos of the '30's and 40's (clickable) just emerged from the Library of Congress.

Haunting.  Haunting.  Why should color from the past - make it so much more real?

The anonymous people, our ancestors, battlefields -  were always 'then' . . . the 'past' . . .  a strange 'before now' time . . that peered from black and white photographs.  And now this.

Why does it affect me, so?   Perhaps because the same sun that colors our lives, now falls on their faces, on their shining hair, on the fields they plow.  It is a world of blood, sweat and tears.  No longer just a black and white recording of others in a strange other time.

It's unsettling to see these wraiths as no different from me.  After all, they lived so long ago . .  . in that less nuanced world .  . that static two-dimensional world where ghostly images drift.  And they are probably gone - vanished into that gauzy black and white world.  Surely different laws reigned over their lives, than do mine.  But no,  I am now disabused of the notion that  I am more 'now' than they could ever have been.

Truly.  I am moved and amazed at the difference that throwing the palette of common daily life across the past, makes in my perception.

Thank you, Laura.  You should have seen it in color.  Click for a very poignant song.



Rev. Paul said...

Color does make them seem a bit more, well, real. Strange, isn't it?

threecollie said...

I saw a long, long series of photos once of Depression era photos. Of farms and small towns and cabins in the desert. They left just such an impression.

Stephen said...

Oh, yes, different laws did indeed reign over their lives. Far fewer too. Nicely written.

LauraHinNJ said...

"You should have seen it in color"... ever heard that song by Jamey Johnson? It's country, but I was reminded of it with this post, Cathy. Have a listen!

Cathy said...

Rev. Paul,
Yes. Real. So interesting that color makes such a difference in my perception.

Those images move us. Something about those lives, the human journey, frozen in time

Ah, yes! In many ways - a simpler time. Thank you. I needed to put it in words.

I'm headed to Google :) I'm reeeally backward when it comes to popular music. I don't know Jamey Johnson, but I think I'm about to be introduced.

Cathy said...


Thank you.

I'm going to link to it.

Beautiful. Truly.

Jonna said...

Thanks for the link. My first impression was that these were from movie sets, but it takes only a second to know they are real. Haunting.

Anvilcloud said...

For now at least, the world keeps on, with or without us.

Cathy said...


And tell you what. You want 'haunted' ?
Have you watched that Jamey Johnson video - In Color?

Haunting and so, so poignant.



Interesting take you've got there.

Yes, 'for now' . . .

. . . but of course, the 'now' is where we experience it. It's just so haunting to remind ourselves that those ghostly images also experienced the world exactly as we do. It's the passage of time . . the fact that now isn't forever, no matter what the zen masters say about the 'eternal' now.

troutbirder said...

Very insightful. And I agree. Of course, having been born in 1941 I remember some of the color around me...;)

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy said...

Ah Troutbirder!

Welcome to one who made the transition, like Dorothy in The Wizard Oz - from black and while to glorious living color ! :)

My hubby and I were hatched in '43 and '46 . . kind of the cusp.

Larry said...

I love those old photos and the color does add another dimension. I'm a fan of old films too.

Cathy said...

Hey Larry!

Then you must love Casablanca - one of my favs.

Funny about aging. The older I get, the less ancient those pictures become. Hmmmm . . .