Vintage Tuesday: 1900s Photography

vintage photography collectionIn the last two weeks I’ve went to a local flea market, Marche Aux Puces a few times and without fail (and not intending to buy any) brought home with me a few pieces of vintage photography to add to my collection. Victor scolded me while he was waiting for me to go through the piles and piles of photos this one storefront had, saying “why do you need more?” and it really struck me. Vintage photography beyond just being wonderful to look at and good for admiring it’s beauty, should in theory be meaningless if you don’t know the people or even what landscape is in the photo…however that’s not the case to me at all. I find each piece has its own draw and reason why I’d like to own it. Not to mention as a photographer I like the idea of preserving vintage photography on top of when I see what poor conditions some sellers keep it in I  feel a little like I should ‘rescue’ it.  Beside the two points I already mentioned – there is actually a ton of other reasons why I like old photography so instead of just showing what photos I choose to buy I thought this time I’d share why below each to give more context why I pick certain photographs.

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Landscape photography is harder to find when thrifting so anytime I find it’s almost always an immediate buy each time. I prefer landscape photography over portraits in fact, but it’s wasn’t common pre 1950’s for people to take it unless they were professionals The left appears to be a lake, and there is an anomaly in the photo between the waves that I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is – and it’s definitely not damage (enlarge and have a guess in the comments if you want because I still have no idea).  The right is from 1958 and appears to be Niagara Falls. 

vintage photography 1900s montreal (10)Never really fond of wedding photography but I was struck by the detail on her veil and the crowd around them. Plus I am a sucker for square photos being a long time Holga fan.

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One of the first ones I was drawn to while searching through the piles was this blurry group shot due to its distinct character. Normally I avoid bad photography but this blur of wedding guests or church goers or snappy dressers is very intriguing to me. 

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Is it bad if I say I bought this one because she’s wearing a swimsuit and/or no pants? She has a wonderful rueful expression on her face and a part of me really needs to know what she’s doing up there on the post.  The left over tape is a negative but the quality of the seller’s photos in general was really poor – not shown a lot of love.  

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Children are another one of my favourite subjects when it comes to vintage photography. Something about the black and white, style of clothes and often weird expressions combined that I find unnerving. Nothing beats a spooky photo of a child. This photo is just a really nice shot but I like how the over exposure also makes her look like she only has one arm.

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Finding double exposures give me great joy, I don’t have many but slowly I want to build an entire collection of just interesting double exposures.  This shot almost looks like a nice view of a lake and boat until you realize the sky has waves on it.

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The stoic stance and hair style are a must. When it comes to men I am all about a good moustache but I love finding good fashion and hairstyles of women.

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1928 at a parc I can’t put my name on but I am sure I’ve visited myself here in Montreal (who knows what flight of fancy that is). The 1920’s was a great time for fashion, you don’t find many from that time period, 1940’s-1950’s are more common.

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Small photos and square photos are some of the photos I am always tempted to buy, this one was developed to be exposure only in a heart shape which makes it’s 1×2 inch size even more precious. The first non standard developed photo to my collection.  

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Although extremely over exposure what Canadian can say no to a photo of a hockey team? Secretly hoping there is someone famous in the photo who will make it worth the big bucks, lol.

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Sailor hats and an ass joke – men are always boys aren’t they?

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Patterned paper I believe is from 1940’s during the popularity of art deco movement, I buy almost any I can find because I love the detail. This is my creepiest children photo from the set.

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A postcard style photograph from around the 1920’s of what appears to be an all boys school. This photos has amazing details, I included a close up of their faces so it’s easier to see the details as I downsize the quality of my scans for the website.

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Sometimes I just pick up group photos or Sunday church day photos because you can see a slice of life. This photo is also TINY, it’s 1×2 inches.

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Out of the all the photographs this is the only one not likely taken in the Quebec area, love the palm trees and beach lounging.  

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A nice family shot framed nicely and Amélie style hair.

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Another landscape this time of a bridge. No dates but I’d love to find out. 

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A postcard style photo of a young girl at fake comunion. Creepy I think, also her outfit is pretty amazing. Not so great is the color job some previous owner tried to do on it  but still had to have. 

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Another postcard photograph with the back as well so you can see what they look like. Some people love this vintage style of photography but I usually don’t buy unless the photo is striking or outfit justifies it. Let me know what you think about postcard style photos, I just don’t find them as charming. 

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A horse and the note on the back are what drew me to this. Very pleasantly surprised that this was taken on St. Denis street.  

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I wasn’t sure about this 1940’s  photo but I picked up anyways because of the lightening developing detail error or camera error. It looks like bad photoshop. 

That ends all the photographs I purchased this month for my collection, in total $8. Next time I go to  Marche Aux Puces I’ll have to make sure not to bring Victor so I can spend more time going through all the photographs uninterrupted. Hope you enjoyed the look into my collection and the various tones of brown they have all turned. I almost color corrected them but I enjoy the authentically miscoloured hues. One change I did make was trimming them to be a uniform shape, but some of these have the most darling boarder. Let me know if you prefer one or the other as I’ll likely shares others in the future.


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