Forgotten Moments of Someone Else's Past

About a year ago, I bought some albums from a local market. They were full of photographs with lovely handwritten notes by the side and neatly arranged. They were falling apart and surrounded by other albums and loose photos in a big plastic box. I don't know the lady who owned them, or what her name was, but I was drawn to the images of her, her friends and mother on their trips. I have kept them and not known how to use them.

I have repeatedly got them out, flipped through and put them back again unsure of how I was going to use them.

Following the passing of my grandfather this year, myself and my family have spent a lot of time going through his old photographs (something he loved to do with us), sharing them with each other, and trying to place them by the people in them and the time they were taken. This is what prompted me to get out the albums I found on the Market, determined to not let them go to waste.

I decided to try and cut into some of the photographs and make them into a series of work. They were forgotten albums that ended up on a market stall in Huddersfield and I want to try and bring the forgotten subjects of the photographs back to life. They were once loved images, cherished by the people who took them and those who were in the photographs. 

We don't know their stories, what their names were, what lives they lived. But we have a small snapshot into their lives many years ago. Photographs are a record that someone once lived a full life, and somehow the fate of these records have ended up in a strangers hands.

I am working on to the original photographs. I want to stay true to every mark, smudge and tear and crease in what I see as a precious object.  I want to turn them back into something cherished that celebrates the moments in the lives of these strangers, that were important enough for them to record in a photograph. 

Before I cut into them, I am scanning them to keep a permanent copy before they are altered, along with the original notes in the album. I want to show the originals alongside the altered versions. Eventually I would love to create an archive of the images.

The series has already expanded and alongside the original two albums I am now collecting images from other unknown families.

The Families so far

MED - The woman who owned the album always referred to herself in the notes as MED. They are generally dated in the 50's and the majority are of holidays and day trips with friends and her mother. MED was an artist herself and there are many of her with her art groups and attending exhibitions. I think the family were based in the Darlington area. This album started the series, after finding them on a Market stall in Huddersfield. 

Elsie - The majority of the photos (which were loose) were of a lady called Elsie. The dates on the photographs are in the late 30's/early 40's. 

Margaret and Robert - Small selection of photographs of Margaret and her husband Robert. Unknown dates

Walsall - 1930's. Small collection still attached to the album pages. 

 

 


41 & 42.jpg

Walsall

Brierley Hill, 1933

 Walsall, Brierley Hill, 1933

Walsall, Brierley Hill, 1933

37 & 38.jpg

Walsall

Brierley Hill, 1933

shot with knife 150dpi.jpg
7.jpg

Margaret and Robert

Unknown date

 Elsie and Alice, Rhosneigs, 1938

Elsie and Alice, Rhosneigs, 1938

Rhosneigs Alice and Elsie 1938.jpg

Elsie

Elsie & Alice, Rhosneigs, 1938

 Elsie, Upper Hill, 1930's

Elsie, Upper Hill, 1930's

Upper Hill.jpg

Elsie

Upper Hill, 1930's

Alice, nannyi and Elsie 150 watermark.jpg
Mrs Alice Smith, Nannyi, Elsie Saunders.jpg

Alice, Nannyi and Elsie

Late 30's

 Chaddesley, 1938

Chaddesley, 1938

Chaddersley 1938.jpg

Elsie

Chaddesley, 1938

ladies swimming Rhoseneigs 1938 150.jpg
Rhosneigs 1938 3.jpg

Rhosneigs 1938

Mothers 80th Birthday, 4th March 1960

Mothers 80th Birthday Lunch 4th March 1960.jpg

MED

Mothers 80th Birthday Lunch, 4th March 1960

Ventnor May 1956

Ventnor May 1956 6.jpg

MED

Ventnor May 1956

Hazel, Alice, Gladys, Mother, MED

Hazel, Alice, Gladys, Mother, MED.jpg

MED

Hazel, Alice, Gladys, Mother, MED

Ready for the opening of the 1961 exhibition

Ready for the opening of 1961 exhibition.jpg

MED

Ready for the opening of the 1961 exhibition

Ventnor, May 1954. (This is the original owner of the album)

Ventnor May 1956 7.jpg

MED

Ventnor, May 1956

Gwen & Hilda Craster, Northumberland, August 1953

Gwen and Hilda Craster Northumberland August 1953.jpg

MED

Gwen & Hilda, Northumberland, August 1953

September 1953

Sept 1953.jpg

MED

September 1953

Scotland, September 1954

Scotland Sept 1954 2.jpg

MED

Scotland, September 1954

Scotland, Sept 1954

Scotland Sept 1954.jpg

MED

Scotland, Sept 1954

No annotation

No annotation.jpg

MED

No annotation

Ventnor, May 1954

Ventnor May 1956 3.jpg

MED

Ventnor, May 1953

With Daisy, Jock, Rob and Amy, Easter 1962

With Daisy and Jock, Rob and Amy at Northallerton Easter 1962.jpg

MED

With Daisy, Job Rob and Amy, 1962