Thursday, December 30, 2004

Who are you?

At the flea market on Christmas Day I picked up a box of glass plate negatives, about 80 years old. I had never seen glass plate negatives before, although I'd read about them, and wasn't sure whether I'd be able to see the pictures. But I was intrigued. I wanted to try.

I was able to scan the plates, and using Photoshop (which I'm not very good at) retrieve at least a semblance of the original photographs. I don't think the photographer was very good. Out of about twenty, at least half of them are hopelessly blurred. But never mind. They're a glimpse into a bygone world.

I also have a folder of old negatives, brought from the same stall. I'll get around to scanning them sometime, too, but it takes time and there are a lot of them.

In the meantime, here are some pictures to dream on. Who were these people, I wonder? All I can tell you is what you can see: the young man is very good looking, the baby is pissed off, and somebody got married. As for the others, your guess is as good as mine.


tinyhands said...

Those are awesome. The mix of traditional/western clothing (especially as in the group in #5) shows this was a very interesting time in Japanese history. Late-Meiji/Taisho by my uneducated guess. Extremely rapid westernization of thought, business/economy, government, and socialization. It must have been both fascinating and frightening to have been there. (Marius Jansen's The Making of Modern Japan is a lengthy but well-written history.)

It's probably worth spending a few minutes surfing the web for tips on glass-plate negative conservation, since they may be valuable some day.

Badaunt said...

Taisho 15 - I found it written on the box, very faded. That makes it... 1926, I think.

You're right about conserving them. I hadn't even thought about it. I just thought if they'd lasted this long they'd last forever. Of course they won't.

I've been looking for a date on the other negatives, which are also pretty old, but can't find anything. Maybe there'll be some hint in the pictures themselves... but I'm off to Okaasan's for New Year tomorrow, so won't get to those for a few days, at least.

tinyhands said...

Taisho: 1912-1926. Very cool.

Kadhine said...

Wow! (I've started reading your blog from the beginning =P)
I agree, the young man IS quite handsome.
This is very very interesting and eerie... Me likes!