Monday, September 29, 2008
Tea photo with history & mystery
My friend with the new shop recently bought a wonderful box full of vintage photos to sell. There are lovely ladies (and a few scary ones!), several dapper gentlemen, a little boy on a pony, and other terrific old photos that would be great to have on hand for "collage" art projects. So, I asked if I could scan them into my computer before she sells them, and she said yes. But I've gotten awfully attached to one of the photos, and if she cuts me a good deal, I'm keeping it. It is this black and white (but slightly "tinted") formal portrait of a family, and of course my eye went immediately to the teacups on the table. What's in those teacups? And if you double-click on this photo, perhaps you'll notice the shoes on the young woman at far left. Something about the angle struck me as odd, and then I realized it's probably a result of the old foot binding that was once practiced as a female beauty ritual. (Ouch.)
Few of the photos in the box were identified or dated, but the ones that were indicated they were taken in the 1920s, so I'm guessing that's the age of this photo as well. In the photo above you can see the cardboard matte surrounding the photo. In the lower left corner, it is embossed with the name Yim Fong Sun Chang.
I don't really know quite why I like this old photo so much, but I do. Sure wish I knew the story behind this tea-drinking family's photo. (And if it turns out this is simply the Olan Mills backdrop of the day, I will be sorely disappointed!)