Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Sepia Saturday 55 : Seasonal Open House

The above illustration is entitled "Making The Empire Christmas Pudding" and it dates back some eighty years and was originally published by an organisation called "The Empire Marketing Board". The Board - rather like the Empire - eventually came to an end and its archives were incorporated into the British National Archives. The illustration forms part of the National Archives' contribution to Flickr's Commons initiative which means that it is freely available for bloggers to use for non profit-making purposes. Thus the illustration has a double resonance : it helps us here on Sepia Saturday celebrate the Festive Christmas Season, and it also celebrates the idea of images being freely exchanged for the delight of their content rather than their money-making potential.

Sepia Saturday 55 is special as it is a Seasonal Open House. The Linky List will remain open throughout the Christmas and New Year holiday period. If you have a Sepia Saturday (or A Sepia Sunday, Sepia Monday ...etc) post just provide a link on the list below. You can add as many - or as few - links as you want. The "normal" Sepia Saturday arrangements will return for Sepia Saturday 56 which will be on Saturday 8th January 2010.

All that remains is for me to wish all Sepia Saturday contributors an excellent and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. As Bing Crosby used to sing : "May your days be merry and bright, And may all your Christmases be sepia".

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Sepia Saturday 54

On my world tour of photographic archives, I have left my own island and sailed over to Norway. My feature photograph is a Cabinet Card portrait of the famous Norwegian violinist, Ole Bull. In the 1850s Bull left his native Norway and moved to the United States where he founded a colony in Pennsylvania which was known as New Norway or Ole Bull Colony. 

Before issuing my usual call for participation for Sepia Saturday 54, I am delighted to tell you that Sepia Saturday contributor, CeCe Moore, has had her blog "My Tangled Vine" nominated as one of the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs by Family Tree Magazine. You can add your vote by following the link to CeCe's blog. Best of luck to her from all her fellow Sepia Saturdayers.

The 20 or 30 Best blogs in the entire world contribute each week to Sepia Saturday. You can join them for Sepia Saturday 54 (on or around 18th December 2010) by adding a link to the Linky List below.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Sepia Saturday 53

Continuing my tour of on-line archives of old images, I have moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh (Luckily this is a virtual tour otherwise I suspect I would still be stuck in my car in the three foot of snow that has fallen on the M8) The above photograph dates all the way back to 1863 and shows the interior of Mar Lodge, near Braemar in Scotland. The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) website contains the following description of the photograph which was taken by Victor Albert Prout.

"The Prince and Princess of Wales first attended the Braemar Gathering in 1863. The event is held on the first Saturday in September to this day. Large crowds gather to celebrate their Monarch as Chieftain of the gathering where pipe music, dance and games make for a wonderful atmosphere. On that occasion, the royal couple stopped at Mar Lodge, the Highland residence of the Earl and Countess of Fife. The royals only stayed three days, but their hosts were evidently exhausted, as they are shown here slumped in the armchairs in their drawing room, soon after their visitors left".

This particular photograph is one of the NGS's contribution to the Flickr Commons project. This wonderful service provides a repository for old images for which there are no known copyright restrictions. After tip-toeing through the maze that can be copyright for bloggers, it is a delight to find a stock of images that can be appreciated for their interest and beauty rather than their money-making potential.

So like the Earl and Countess of Fife, sit back in your armchairs and flick through your old photographs and choose one of them to share with everyone else on Sepia Saturday 53 which will take place on or around 11th December 2010. Like the Good Earl himself, just sign up on the Linkey List below.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Sepia Saturday : Week 52

If you recall, last week I set out from West Yorkshire on a virtual tour of World Image Archives. This week I have reached Glasgow and I am stopping off at the Glasgow City Council's Mitchell Library, or rather its digital counterpart "Virtual Mitchell". My chosen image dates from 1939 and shows a group of shops in Kilmarnock Road. Several people last week asked about the copyright implications of using archive images in Blogs. Most collections will have advice on copyright issues on their sites and if not an inquiry normally brings a rapid response. In most cases public collections will be happy for you to use material as long as it is for a non-profit making site and the source is acknowledged. This was the case with "Virtual Mitchell" and I thank them for their co-operation.

Sepia Saturday 52 will take place on or around Saturday 4th December 2010. You can join in by posting your images and text and linking them to the list below.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sepia Saturday : Week 51

Having whizzed past its' 50th birthday, Sepia Saturday is now motoring towards its' centenary. I thought I would take us there by featuring some of the many archives of old images that are now available. As image collections throughout the world are digitized, a rich and fascinating collection of historic images is available to everyone. Our example this week comes from my local image archives - the Kirklees Image Archive here in Huddersfield Yorkshire. Whilst I am starting near to home, my visits to image archives over the coming weeks will take me on a tour of the world.

Wherever your images are from, why not share them on Sepia Saturday 51 which will take place on or around Saturday 27 November 2010. Share the image and share the story by adding your link to the list below.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 50

As most of you will know, I love old postcards and I, along with many other people, have used vintage postcards as the starting point for many a Sepia Saturday contribution. As a postcard lover, I have long been a fan of Christine H's wonderful "Daily Postcard" Blog, and I was really pleased when she became a Sepia Saturday poster some time ago. And, of course, I was thrilled to discover that her Sepia Saturday post last week featured a postcard which almost seemed to have been addressed to my dog Amy! On behalf of Amy, I thank her for the postcard, and on behalf of Sepia Saturday I thank her and all the other participants for keeping Sepia Saturday going for 50 weeks.

Everyone is invited to take part in Sepia Saturday 50. You don't necessarily need to feature a postcard nor to find one addressed to my dog. Whatever the image may be, just post it and link it on or around Saturday 20th November 2010.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 49

I'm back, and I'm glad to say that the automatic posting seems to have worked during my absence and Sepia Saturday is still alive and well and living in a memory near you. This first week back - and the run up to our 50th Sepia Saturday Call - provides me with an opportunity to welcome any new participants and try to answer some of the questions about Sepia Saturday that have been posed over recent weeks. So here goes :

Sepia Saturday is a Blog meme open to anyone who wants to participate. There are few, if any, rules and if you want to take part all you need do is to add a Sepia Saturday post to your blog and then link it to the Linky List that appears on this Sepia Saturday Blog each week. If possible try to link to the actual Sepia Saturday post rather than the Blog itself, but if you can't manage that, don't worry too much about it. Try to publish your post as near as possible to Saturday, but if you can't manage the exact day, don't worry too much about it (as you will have gathered by now, Sepia Saturday doesn't go in for worry).

The basic ingredients of a Sepia Saturday post are an image plus words. The image doesn't have to be sepia: the sepia part of the title relates to age rather than colour. Equally the image doesn't have to be particularly old: after all, what is old to a mayfly is young to an oak tree. It can be of a person, or a place, or an object, or ... whatever you like. All we ask is that it is somehow evocative of a memory or of a time. The words will help to explain why the image is evocative, but they can be as few or as many as you wish. 

If you are still in doubt, have a look at what others do, for it is the participants who make the rules and like all good rules they change and evolve all the time. When you have posted your Sepia Saturday contribution and linked it to the Linky List, try to return to this Blog and look at as many other Sepia Saturday contributions as you can. You will quickly find that we are quite a pleasant lot and we take pleasure in the memories and images we share with each other.

So, roll up, roll up for Sepia Saturday 49 which will take place on or around Saturday 13th November 2010. The image at the top of this post is taken from an old postcard of the seaside town of Bridlington on the Yorkshire coast. I remember this scene well from my own childhood, but what intrigued me most of all was the building on the left of the image with the prominent sign advertising "snaps". I have written on Sepia Saturday before about the great old seaside tradition of having photographs (snaps) taken on holiday, but if you examine the photograph very carefully (you will need to click on it to enlarge it) you will see that it is also advertising something that looks very much like "Snapets". I have no idea what there were, but I quite like the idea of snapets (or maybe the word was snapettes). So, don't forget, start posting your photos, your snaps and your snapets now and join in the great Sepia Saturday show.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 48

A Victorian Carte de Visite this week from the famous Hebden Bridge studio of C Westerman. There is something very engaging about this face along with its Mona Lisa like smile. Faces of all kind - pleasing or non-pleasing, old or older, sepia or shining colour - are all welcome on Sepia Saturday. Sepia Saturday 48 will take place on or around Saturday 6th November 2010. Just post it, link it and visit it. Easy peasy.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 47

This sepia photograph comes from a Victorian Cabinet Card and is of an unknown group. It comes from the studio of William Salmon in London Street, Reading and I guess dates from the last decade of the nineteenth century. It announces Sepia Saturday 47 which will take place on or around Saturday 30th October 2010. Whether you picture is of a group or an individual, in sepia or in full colour, of an unknown or of a favourite aunt - just post it, link it and let other Sepia Saturday enthusiasts from around the world enjoy it.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 46

This week's photograph is a Cabinet Card from the studio of W M Phillips of Oxford Street, Southampton. I have no information on the subject of the portrait, but the studio neatly fits in with my travels. By the time Sepia Saturday 46 comes around (Saturday 23 October) I will have already passed through Southampton on my way to join the ship that will take me across the Atlantic. Whichever side of the Atlantic you come from you are invited to join in with Sepia Saturday 46. Just post a post, link a link and enjoy.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 45

15th October : This post should have automatically gone up yesterday! It seems that I still need to improve my skills with the scheduled posting option!!! I will schedule the next three calls to go up earlier in the week. If all else fails people will just have to improvise.

We are having a short break from the normal style of Sepia Saturday announcements to accommodate my forthcoming holiday. If all goes according to plan this should be published on Thursday 14th October. I don't leave to go on holiday until the following week so it gives me a chance to fine-tune the system if these pre-prepared posts don't appear as they should. We don't actually leave until the following week (the 21st) so I will still be around in order to post my own Sepia Saturday offerings and comments on others until then. 

If Blogger is behaving itself, this is a call for participants to take part in Sepia Saturday 45 on or around Saturday 16th October. The rules - or rather the lack of rules - are the same as ever : use an old image (it doesn't have to be in sepia) to tell us something about yourself, your family or anything else that will interest or entertain us. Add a link to your post to the Linky List and then try and visit as many of the other participants as possible. Fingers crossed, let's hope it all works.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sepia Saturday 44

Another Room by Martin Hodges

Far off, in another room,
Faceless portraits draw the eye.
Coated in the dust of spent words,
Objects brave the chill of killed time.
This is the past. The impatient prisoner.

Far off, in another room,
Restless motifs shape the day.
In half remembered, stuttered chorus,
Crackled songs are cast adrift.
This is history, daring to escape.

When I read that poem by my good friend Martin Hodges, I immediately thought of Sepia Saturday and asked for his permission to use it on one of these weekly calls to participants. Martin, who has been a supporter of Sepia Saturday ever since it was first launched, agreed and I thought it would fit perfectly in this first of my "Holiday Calls".  Although I am not away on holiday yet, I thought it would be best to do a dry run with the pre-posted calls to make sure it is working (and, more importantly, to make sure I am pressing all the right buttons).  So this is the call for participants for Week 44 of Sepia Saturday which will take place on or around Saturday 9th October 2010.  You know the score by now, if you are taking part just leave a link on the Linky List at the end of this post. As Martin says in his poem, "this is history, daring to escape". Join us.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Sepia Saturday 43

Last week Joan over at Sempiterna Me told us a lovely story about the origin of her middle name Ivette. Like so many names, the name had been handed down within the family and adapted from that of her Uncle Ivan. It reminded me that, long before photography existed, most families would attempt to preserve precious family ties by something as simple as a shared name. My own son has Holroyd as a middle name, a name that has been in his mothers' family for generations.

Over the last 43 weeks I have been able to bring many of the names of the regular participants in Sepia Saturday to your attention with my weekly introductory remarks. However for the next four weeks or so I am going to have to introduce some changes as later in October I will be away on holiday. I intend to pre-publish the calls and (hopefully) get blogger to post them at the appropriate time. This, however, means that I will not be able to reflect on the previous weeks' posts. But, don't worry, the normal introduction will return as soon as I return from holiday. And I will carry on working through the long list of participants until I have featured everyone. More information about my absence next week, until then please join in with Sepia Saturday 43 which will take place on or around Saturday 2nd October. Just post your post and link your link and let us know your name.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Sepia Saturday 42

There is something about a school photograph. Something timeless and placeless about the faces, the expressions, the look of carefree mischief or stern self control. Change the clothes and change the hairstyles of this photograph featured by Jo in her wonderful Sepia Saturday post last week and it could be 100 years ago, 50 years ago, or now. It could be old Scotland or Nova Scotia. Down the ages and from every part of the world those same young faces have stared into the camera, captured for ever in their youth. 

Sepia Saturday 42 will take place on or around Saturday 25th September. You can post any type of photo you want as long as it moves us backwards and allows us to remember things that should never be forgotten. Simply link your post by signing the Linking List below.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Sepia Saturday 41

The Internet has allowed us to do so many things, but perhaps the most fascinating, the most intriguing and the most intellectually liberating of all is the ability it gives us to trace connections. It sits each and every one of us in the greatest reference library ever established and provides us with a team of indexers. lexicographers, and research assistants to help track down the most obscure connection. The result are usually such as to make you give praise at the shrine of Saint Alan Turing that you were born in the digital age. Take for example the old sepia shot of an American couple featured by Southwest Arkie in her Sepia Saturday post last week. An old photograph - "worn by toil and sunk with years" to quote a poem written on the reverse of another photograph from the same collection - can provide connections to people long dead and event long forgotten when in the hands of an expert sleuth like Southwest Arkie. Tracing all these connections provides a great source of pleasure to both the writer and the reader : which, I suppose, is what Sepia Saturday is all about.

So Sepia Saturday 41 is now open for business. Connect up to us on or around Saturday 18th September by leaving a link to your Sepia Saturday post. Share the images and share the pleasure.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Sepia Saturday 40

This lovely photograph of Great Grandfather Ashby with Audrey Bull was submitted to Sepia Saturday 39 by Frogmum. It went up rather late (or it might have been an early submission for SS40) so many of you might have missed it : if so you can have a closer look at it by following the link to Frogmum's flickr page. The old photograph has had some re-editing and retouching and, despite its age, it has a delightfully fresh feel about it. I, for one, look forward to seeing more of Frogmum's Sepia Saturday contributions.

On Flickr, on Blogger, on Wordpress or wherever, it matters not. Keep those Sepia Saturday contribution coming in. Sepia Saturday 40 will take place on or around Saturday 11th September 2010. Just post a post and link a link.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Sepia Saturday 39

The ability to click and enlarge is often a vital attribute for Sepia Saturday posts. These old photographs of ours not only contain a wealth of detail that can be examined with the precision and care of an archaeologist, the older photographs often require careful scrutiny in order to distinguish essential elements. Last week's delightful post from Patricia Felmy (Stories, Yarns and Tales of Olde) was a perfect example. The post had pictures of two young ladies, dressed almost identically and taken in what appears to be the same studio. You needed to click and enlarge to realise that they were two quite separate people, Pat's Great Grandmother Mary, and her Great, Great Aunt Elizabeth. Like so many of out posts, we got some added bonuses with the images : in this case a recipe for dandelion cordial.

If you have anything you would like us to click and enlarge, why not submit it to Sepia Saturday. Just link your post to the Linky List below. Sepia Saturday 39 will take place on or around Saturday 4th September 2010.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Sepia Saturday 38

What is it about old photographs we love so much? It is their ability to transport us back through time. It is the way they offer us an insight into people and places. It is the way we can analyse them, divide them up into invisible squares and ring every last drop of detail out of them. Leslie Ann (Ancestors Live Here) gave us a great example of this latter attribute in her post last week. Her photograph was taken in the house of her grandparents and Leslie Ann took us on a tour of the room and its contents. It was almost like one of those early computerised books where you could click on an object and it would tell you more about it.

Sepia Saturday Week 38 (around and about Saturday 28th August 2010) gives you an opportunity to travel through time, get insights into people and places and analyse to your hearts' content. All you need to do us to put together a post based around an old photograph (it doesn't have to be sepia) and add a link to the list below. Everyone is invited along.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Sepia Saturday 37

Last week, the delightful Marilyn from New Zealand (My Magpie Collection) gave us a Sepia Saturday post which featured her grandfather (George Richard Parsons).  There was a wonderful sepia photograph, a full and fascinating account of his life, and as an additional bonus, even his pastry recipe. It was a classic Sepia Saturday post and one which I very much enjoyed reading. But I don't think I have come across one I haven't enjoyed in all the weeks I have been hosting Sepia Saturday. And remember, the photographs don't have to be sepia : as I said to someone last week, sepia is a state of mind and not just a colour.

The recipe for our continued pleasure is an easy one. Just post an old photograph, tell us about it and add a link to the post on the list below. Sepia Saturday 37 will take place on or around Saturday 21st August. Everyone is invited.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Sepia Saturday 36

The twin worlds of Sepia Saturday and vintage postcard collecting frequently overlap. Many of the old family photographs we feature in our Sepia Saturday posts are in the form of postcards. This reflects the service that was provided by most photographic studios in the early twentieth century - the provision of prints with postcard backs. When this service went into decline - brought about by the abatement of the postcard collecting hobby, the increase in postage rates, and the growing popularity of home photography - it would be almost a hundred years before things like Facebook arrived and personal photographs would, once again, be shared to such an extent. 

But mass-produced vintage postcards also provide us with plenty of images to set our Sepia Saturday compositions in motion. Old postcards tick all of the Sepia Saturday boxes : they are old and they provide a pictorial rail from which we can hang so many stories. The place, the time, the message, the recipient - all provide fare for Sepia Saturday speculations. Sepia Saturday participant dakotaboo provides an excellent example of how the two worlds overlap in his Vintage Postcard blog. My illustration this week is taken from last week's post and shows a Judge postcard of Hastings.

Whether it is a postcard or a carte de visite, a cabinet card or a dog-eared snap, it is always welcome at Sepia Saturday. SS 36 will take place on Saturday 14th August. Just post an image-inspired post around that time and link to it in the Linky thing below.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 35

My apologies with getting behind with everything of late. I resolve to be a better person from now on. To start the process, let me put this call post up early for a change.

A new name appeared on our list of contributors last week - daylily - but it was a post from a Sepia Saturday friend, Queenmothermamaw. Qm3 has launched a new blog and taken on a new persona, but the posts are just as fascinating as always. The picture featured was a perfect sepia shot of a stream which could have been taken 70 years ago. In fact it was taken last week and digitally converted into sepia. Let nobody think that this is cheating : most sepia photographs were chemically converted into sepia in order to give them that aged look of respectability. Digital conversion is merely a new take on the old process of chemical conversion, and as someone who has done my share of the latter in my time I can tell you it is a lot quicker and a lot less toxic (I can still remember buying my first bottle of sepia toner some forty years ago and being made to sign the Poisons Book by the chemist concerned!).

So in asking you to join in with Sepia Saturday 35 (Saturday 7th August 2010) let me merely remind you that your images don't have to go up on Saturday (although if the post is earlier than Saturday try to make sure it is a link to the post and not to the blog) nor do they have to be in sepia (just an image with some history and some words with an explanation). All you have to do is to add your name and a link to the Linky List below. And enjoy.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 34

In her Sepia Saturday contribution last week, Cheri Daniels (Journeys Past) wrote about how pleased she was that the "less than perfect" compilation of shots of her father as a young baby was not thrown away. The resulting picture let us see " the developing and fading of tears, and the work it took just to get this busy little guy to sit still!" I so agree with Cheri. We get used to seeing perfectly posed and perfectly focused vintage photographs : the ones that were saved and framed and treasured. But so often it is the technically less than perfect shots that capture reality - show life as it really was.

Sepia Saturday will be open again this week - Sepia Saturday 34 July 31st 2010 - and everyone is invited to participate. Just post an old photograph and tell us what it means. Add a link to your post on the list below and include a link back to the Sepia Saturday blog. Good shots, bad shots, sharp shots, soft shots - show them to the world with Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Sepia Saturday : Week 33

Last week we gained a new member to our little circle - gibknitty who runs the delightful Urban Muser Blog. The link went up fairly late so those who didn't see the post - which included a photograph of her mother and her aunt - will have missed the interesting comment she makes about the importance of listening to the stories the older generations of our families can tell about the "old days". "And although sometimes our own busy lives get in the way", she writes, "I vow to keep making time not just for new memories, but to revisit the old ones before they disappear". There is a lot of truth in that short sentence and I for one look forward to reading about some of those old memories in her contributions to Sepia Saturday in weeks to come.

Sepia Saturday 33 is almost upon us. Simply incorporate an old photograph into your post and link it via the Linky List below. Don't forget to mention the Sepia Saturday blog and visit as many of the other participants as you can. Make time for some of those old memories on Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sepia Saturday : Week 32

Whilst we still have many new participants taking part in Sepia Saturday, the number of people taking part each week seems to have peaked, which - in many ways - is a welcome thing. It means that the project remains manageable : when you come to visit other participants you are not faced with an impossibly long list. You can take your time, read the posts at your leisure, and make comments that are meaningful rather than superficial. Feedback on comments often opens up discussion which adds a new dimension to creative blogging.

I got into one such discussion last week with Tattered and Lost whose blogs feature - amongst other things - ephemera and vernacular photography. We talked about how you embark on an adventure when you begin to bring one of these old photographs to life, and how a good writer - like T&L and, indeed, all of you - can incorporate the reader in the process of discovery.

The intimacy of small numbers is nice, but we could always do with just one or two more. So why not join in with our Sepia Saturday adventure this week and open up a new discussion. Sign up to the Linky List with a link to your post.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sepia Saturday : Week 31

We all have images of those we have known and loved engraved into the very fabric of our minds. In these images our children are always young and carefree, our parents always proud and protective and our grandparents always wise and loving. And then we find an old photograph which, with a seismic shift, alters our whole frame of reference. Here is a parent acting the part of a young child, here is a grandmother looking young and vibrant with beauty. 

I was reminded of this last week with the delightful post by Ticklebear which featured a picture of his grandmother relaxing on the family porch. Ticklebear commented on how strange it was to see his grandmother at rest, far from the role of ever-active matriarch which she undoubtedly took on later in life. This ability to almost travel through time is yet another aspect of these old photographs of ours.

It's time-travel time again so sign up now for Sepia Saturday 31 (Saturday 10 July 2010). Everyone is welcome, just post an old photograph and say a few words about it (it doesn't have to be sepia). Sign up to the Linky List either before or after you post : the only rule is that there are no rules.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Sepia Saturday : Week 30

Sepia Saturday poster Leena said last week that she might be seen as a "peculiar bird" coming, as she does, from far away in Finland near the Russian border. Exotic, yes, peculiar, never : I reply on behalf of all other Sepia posters. If you have not looked at Leena's Blog (Joensuudailyphoto) do so : there are some wonderful pictures and delightful descriptions. But the thing you will notice most of all, is that if you go back a generation or two, people always look the same whether they are in Europe or America, Cleveland Ohio or Cleckheaton Yorkshire. Sepia really is a great leveler.

It is time to start leveling again and Sepia Saturday 30 will take place on Saturday July 3rd. If you are taking part add your name to the Linky List below : either a generic link to your Blog if you join before the post is up or a specific link to the post after the event. Exotic birds from all over the world are welcome.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 29

You know what it's like when you buy a new car : until you bought that particular make and model you hardly ever saw one on the road, but all of a sudden they are everywhere. I am beginning to get the same feeling about using the Internet to gather and study old photographs. At almost every turn I come across new sites and blogs that use old photographs as their central theme or as a means of stimulating comment or debate. But unlike the situation with the new Austin Metro, the knowledge that there are many others out there doing what Sepia Saturday does gives me a feeling of great joyousness rather than mild jealousy.

Tony Zimnoch and I grew up in the same northern town at about the same time. We knew the same schools, the same shops and the same dance halls. No doubt we knew some of the same people. But we never actually met until the back end of last year, having discovered each other through our mutual interest in blogging. Indeed, it is Tony you need to thank - or possibly blame - for my range of current blogging activity, because until he became a follower of my News From Nowhere blog, I had been blogging for the exclusive enjoyment (?) of three friends and a dog. By following Tony's endlessly fascinating blog, I discovered just what a creative process blogging could be - and I also discovered a world populated by friends.

In his Sepia Saturday post last week, Tony told a fascinating story of how he discovered a photograph of his mother on a Facebook site devoted to old photographs of Halifax (the town we both grew up in). It was a photograph he hadn't seen before and for me it just seemed to sum up what a magical experience photographic hunting can be. I can't retell the story any where near as well as Tony told it, so if you haven't read his post, read it now.

My holiday and the broken routine means I am a little late in putting up the Sepia Saturday call this week. For that, apologies but, better late than never, here goes :  roll up, roll up, roll up for Sepia Saturday 29. SS29 will take place on Saturday 26 June 2010. New sepias and old sepias are equally welcome. Just sign up on the Linky List and start your photographic hunting expeditions.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 28

I am full of apologies tonight. My first is that this call is going up so early - the sun has hardly set on Sepia Saturday 27 and here I am pestering you to take part in Sepia Saturday 28 (19 June 2010). My second apology is that I will not be able to take part in Sepia 28 myself because - as I mentioned last week - we hit the road first thing tomorrow morning and we will not be back until the 20th June. And because I have been so busy trying to remember what I need to pack, my third apology is that I have not had time to do my normal tour of Sepia posts. On my return I will visit all the blogs and catch up on the Sepia 27 and Sepia 28 posts.

But I have managed to have a quick look at quite a few of the Sepia 27 posts and I have to say what a pleasure it is to welcome new members to our little group. Reading first-time Sepia poster, Natasha, - see Today's Gift - I was struck by the way we all delight in the same mysteries, the same types of observations, and the same unanswered questions. They are all part of the joy of old photographs, and Natasha's investigation of the photograph of the woman who is probably her Great Grandfathers' sister sums up the process so very well. Our usual warm welcome to new members joining in with Sepia 28 and welcome back to all our old friends. New or old, all you need do is to link your Sepia 28 post using the Linky List below. I look forward to seeing all your posts on my return home.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 27

I always find when browsing through everyone's Sepia Saturday posts that my eye gets caught by a picture for no other reason than it is a great picture. It is not that it is old (which it usually is), nor is it that it is accompanied by a fascinating explanation (which it invariably is), it is just that it is the kind of picture that proclaims (in bold upper case) LOOK AT ME. One of my oldest blogging friends, Larry Burgess, had such a picture of his Uncle Kenny on his post last week, a picture which makes you want to find out more about Kenny, who Larry quite rightly says, looks so cool in this shot. Larry is one of the Sepia group who has set up his own blog devoted to his Sepia Saturday posts - Larry's Sepia Saturday - if you've not seen it yet, it is well worth a visit.

I will be away most of next week, so be warned, I will be putting up the call for Sepia Saturday 28 before the sun has set on Sepia Saturday 27 (well, if you live in the Tonga Islands that is). But whenever the call notice goes up, it says the same thing : come and join us at Sepia Saturday and bring along your images that proclaim "LOOK AT ME".

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 26

I have often noted how our American posts on Sepia Saturday frequently tell the story of great population movements. Not satisfied with migrating from the Old World to the New World, within a generation or so, families will load their possessions into covered wagons or old Model T's and move from Virginia to Ohio, Ohio, to Kansas, and then Kansas to California with a courage and determination that can only be admired. This contrasts with the situation here in Britain where, on a fine day, I can comfortably walk from where I live now to where my great-great grandfather Joseph Burnett was born over two hundred years ago. But such stereotypes are always flawed, as I was reminded by the lovely post by Cindy on last weeks' Sepia Saturday. She used a photograph of her great grandparents sat outside the "home place" land which is still in the family today. The old house may be being torn down but the land remains and it is the land - and these old photographs of ours - that soak up the memories.

We will be having another round of memories this week on Sepia Saturday Week 26. Sign up on the Linky List below and share your images and your memories.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 25

IT is often said that old photographs are a window to the past. This is of course true, they help us to get a feel of past times like no other medium. But just as you can sit and gaze through a window and see more and more the longer you look, these old photographs can provide layer after layer of hidden information. And it often is the process of scanning, enlarging and preparing for publication that pulls the shades aside and allows you to see so much more. Sepia Saturday blogger Nancy (My Ancestors And Me) alluded to this process in her excellent post last week ("Two Bits"). She spoke of how she eventually was able to date the photograph of her barber grandfather by the date showing in the calendar in the background (if you haven't read Nancy's post, read it for the superb quality of the writing just as much as for the photographic investigation).  

Information in the foreground, information in the background - whatever the old photograph, it is welcome on the Sepia Saturday Blog. Sepia Saturday 25 will be on Saturday 29th May  2010. Post your post and sign up on the Linky List below.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 24

In his excellent Sepia Saturday post last week, CrazyasaCoolfox spoke of tangible history. He was referring to a small corner chair which featured in a couple of old family pictures and which still exists within the family. Such objects that are handed down are tangible history : physical things that provide a direct link to the past. The pictures we feature in our Sepia Saturday posts are also examples of tangible history : objects that were once lovingly handled by distant generations and carefully saved and passed down from one generation to the next. They were saved and shared because it was felt that they said something important. They recorded times of joy or triumph and occasionally times of sadness and loss. The fact that we can still share these emotions today is witness to the tangible nature of photographs as historical conduits. To see what tangible history will be shared this week take a look at the people who are participating in Sepia Saturday Week 24 (Saturday 22 May 2010). To join in the fun simple put a post together based on an old photograph and sign up to the Link List below.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 23

The "sepia" in Sepia Saturday is a general evocation rather than a defining classification. When Kat and I had the idea for Sepia Saturday we wanted a site where old photographs of whatever vintage provided the prompt for memories and musings. The word "sepia" was redolent of the photographic past in the same way that we hoped the photographs featured by all the many contributors would be redolent of a spread of decades and a spread of cultures. I always find that some images can proclaim a particular time in the same way that popular music can. As I look at the magnificent mix of images featured by all the Sepia Saturday contributors, I sometimes have an  imagined soundtrack playing along. With some pictures you would have the plucking of a pioneer banjo, with others the excitement of an early jazz band.  But with the wonderful pictures featured by Anita of the negativespace blog over the last couple of weeks it is the sound of Sinatra and the Billy May Orchestra. The photographs have the 1950s running through them : the sophistication, the modernism, the hope and the sheer love of post-war life.

You can keep my imaginary soundtrack playing for another week by signing up for Sepia Saturday 23 which will take place on Saturday 15th May 2010. All you have to do is to put up your post and then link by using the following Linky List.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 22

We are up to Week 22 of Sepia Saturday and, although by now a number of patterns have emerged, the delight of S-S remains the diversity of approach. Some people post long carefully researched pieces, others short, snappy insights. Some tell of people, others tell of houses or even bridges. Some limit themselves to just one photograph, some use a whole series of photographs to tell a story. A fine example of using a series of photographs to tell the story of a person was the post last week by Sean Bentley in his Eff-Stop Local Blog. Posts of this kind are a delight, it is like paging through an old family album.

Whether you tell it long or short, fat or thin, up or down, tell it on Week 22 of Sepia Saturday which will be on Saturday 8th May 2010. All you have to do is to link your post via the Linky List below (either before or after the event) and the rest - as they say - is history.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 21

I remember, years ago, coming across a school history textbook which, whilst covering all the usual bases in terms of nineteenth and twentieth century political and social history, illustrated the names, places and events with reproductions of postage stamps. I thought it a wonderful approach because it reminded readers that these great events did not take place in isolation, but were fused into the lives of ordinary people. I like to think that our Sepia Saturday efforts are a bit like this. You can look at these slightly faded photographs of ours and see faces from the past : but look again and you see those faces within the context of great economic, social and political movements. Those movements shaped their lives and, inevitably, they have shaped our lives too. That multi-talented blogger John Hayes of Robert Frost's Banjo has recently been featuring a series of Sepia Saturday photographs of his father during his time in the American Civilian Construction Corps in the 1930s. These posts and these photographs are a perfect example of what I mean. Pictures of faces which have not only been touched by their own unique personal history, but also the history of their times. 

Week 21 of our Sepia Saturday adventure will take place on Saturday 1st May 2010. What historical events will be reflected in the faces of the photographs featured by our Sepia Saturday posters? Call back on Saturday to find links to all the posts. Better still, join in the Sepia Saturday project and add your own link to the list below.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 20

It has been one of those weeks and all my blogging efforts seem to be running late. But here, at last, is the call for Week 20 of Sepia Saturday which will take place on Saturday 24th April 2010.  My picture this week is taken from the wonderful post in the Roots of Home blog last week. We are used to Sepia Saturday being used as a vehicle to trace the history of people : great aunts, favourite uncles and far distant grandparents. But writer and photographer "Sun Dance Hill" turned the Sepia Saturday spotlight on a building : the wonderful house in Southfield, Massachusetts which used to be her family home. The post proves that timber, bricks and mortar can encompass life just as successfully as skin and bone. To participate in Sepia Saturday 20 you can write about people or buildings, places or memories : just sign up and start remembering.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 19

All on board for another jolly Sepia Saturday ride. Sepia Saturday 19 will take place on Saturday 17th April 2010. If you are new to this malarkey all you need to do is to post an old photograph and say something about it. The photograph can be one week old or 150 years old. It can be of your Aunt Nellie or Queen Victoria. It can be in luscious sepia or vibrant colour. What you say can be in prose or verse, English or Chinese or Lithuanian. You get the idea - our posts reach back to the past, they connect to times gone by. I am not saying this very well, so let me quote from one of the entries from Sepia Saturday 18. The lyrical Nana Jo (A Nana's Journey) was writing about her collection of photos and objects that belonged to her mother-in-law, Oma. I am sure many of you read her piece and the final paragraph which said :
"Now, today, handling her things, they feel like small indrawn breaths waiting to gently exhale. There is the hush of life in them. They proclaim a comforting stillness, utterly old and forever new. They are both silent and eloquent; mute and yet they speak. They beat with the pulse of Oma’s story".
To me, those words just seemed to express what Sepia Saturday is all about. So, sign up to the list now or wait until your post is up and then add the link then. Let your posts beat with the pulse of someone's story.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 18

Sepia Saturday is back after its Easter break : Week 18 of our backwards looking photographic blog will take place on Saturday the 10th April. It seems that some people posted a Sepia Saturday entry last Saturday and then worried that they might have "broken the rules". Again I should point out that the only rule for Sepia Saturday is that there are no rules. Our photograph to accompany this call for posts comes from the last Sepia Saturday entry of the truly magnificent Willow. Willow has been supporting the Sepia Saturday project since it was first started and therefore deserves a big vote of thanks. But I am including this image because it reminds us all that without the photographers; without that legion of enthusiasts with their Box Brownies and their Folding Agfas, there would be no Sepia Saturdays and far fewer memories for us to share. 

Use the following form to sign up before you post or sign up after you post, or write your shopping list on. 

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 17

Roll up, roll up for Week 17 of Sepia Saturday. Based on the widespread, major, sophisticated consultation procedure that we carried out last week it would seem that most people prefer to enter their link after they have posted and thereby enter a specific link to the Sepia Saturday post rather than the general blog.  Some people however still want to provide an indication that they intent to post, in which case they might like to leave a comment announcing their intention to post and then a link to the specific post. Alternatively they can add a link to their blog whenever they want or alternatively ...  they can do whatever they like. Sepia Saturday is that kind of anarchic thing.

My clip from last week's postings had to be this picture from Leah's wonderful post "Leather-Booted Great-Grandpa" which you can find - if you've not already seen it - on her equally wonderful blog "The Weather In The Streets".  Week 17 of Sepia Saturday will be on Saturday 27th March 2010 so sign up / comment / do nothing now if you intent to participate. And a word of advanced warning - following an equally thorough consultation process, I have decided to skip a Sepia Saturday over Easter and therefore Sepia Saturday 18 will be on Saturday 10th April.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 16

It is a bit like when you first get married - multiplied by a factor of thirty-odd! I well remember the mixture of joy and slight bewilderment as I was suddenly faced with a whole new family tree with its complex stories and strange inter-relationships. It takes time before you realise that Auntie R was the sister of Auntie M whose daughter used to be married to David B and not David J who is from a different part of the family altogether. Well, with Sepia Saturday you have a whole forest of family trees to delight in and I, for one, am loving the process of discovering each and every branch. Take Barry, for example, who is introducing us to his family via a splendid sepia family portrait taken in 1890. Each week he takes one of the members of this family group and tells their story - and what wonderful stories they are. Other people have a more haphazard approach to Sepia Saturday, jumping from branch to branch and tree to tree like a genealogical spider monkey. The beauty of Sepia Saturday is that whatever approach you take is fine : the enjoyment is just as much in the variety of approaches as in the subject matter itself.

Sepia Saturday 16 will be on Saturday 20th March 2010. Over the last few weeks it has become apparent that many participants are signing up to the list after they have posted and this enables them to include a link direct to the post rather than the the generic blog. I must confess - as a leisured reader of Sepia Saturday posts over a number of days - I find this approach very useful. Perhaps people can leave comments as to which they prefer before we issue guidance. But even if we issue guidance, that's all it will be : there are enough rules in life without Sepia Saturday adding to the stock.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 15

One of the things I like most of all about our joint Sepia Saturday enterprise is the way in which a common starting point - an old photograph - can lead to so many directions of travel. For some it is the story behind the photograph, for others it is a tone-poem of memories. And for others it is a magnificent ride through great chunks of family, economic and social history - like a blog-post equivalent of "How The West Was Won". My chosen photograph this week comes from last weeks' Sepia Saturday contribution by that  ever-resourceful and always entertaining blogger, David M Lynch (The Silver Fox). In "Sepia Saturday - Heroes and Villains", I loved the description of the way Joe Korsak Sr married not just Aunt Josie, but the entire family. In a way that is what we do with our Sepia Saturday posts, we share our families and their rich and varied stories. Week 15 of Sepia Saturday will be Saturday 13th March, so feel free to sign up and share your family - share your history.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 14

Is it just me, or do other people agree that our Sepia Saturday posts are getting better and better? I find myself looking forward just as much to reading all the other contributions as I do to putting my own together. This is just as well as I will not be able to post myself this week - we will be out of the country until Sunday - but I will still be able to read all your contributions. Contributions like the one from first-time Sepia Saturday contributor, Vicki Lane, who told the story of her grandparents with two fine photographs and some very well chosen words. The ability to tell a life story with images and words seems to me to be what Sepia Saturday is all about. Week 14 of Sepia Saturday will be Saturday 6th March. Please sign up to the list so people can find your blog and your contribution.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 13

Once again, thank you to all those who took part in Sepia Saturday 12. Sharing our family histories is becoming quite compulsive and we know from  all the comments and e-mails we have received that everyone seems to be enjoying all the weekly posts. Sepia Saturday 13 will be on Saturday 27th February so please sign up if you are taking part. Our sepia picture to accompany this call is taken from the Sepia Saturday post of British writer and blogger Martin Hodges and his Sepia Saturday post last week "Twins".

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 12

Welcome to Week 12 of Sepia Saturday. Thank you to everyone who made last week such a success : we had a record number of participants and one of the best collections of images and memories we have had since we started. Sepia Saturday 12 will be Saturday 20th February and once again we are asking you to sign up if you would like to participate. Could we also remind you to include a link back to the Sepia Saturday Blog so that your readers can easily check out other Sepia Saturday entries. As an illustration for the weekly call for posts we are going to feature one of the images from the previous week. We will try and work our way around all the participating blogs over time. This weeks' illustration is from Mouse's fabulous Sepia Saturday post "My Wild Irish Rose".

SEPIA SATURDAY 12 : 20th February 2010

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 11

Welcome to this call for posts for Sepia Saturday Week 11 (Saturday 13th February 2010) - the first Sepia Saturday to be hosted on our new dedicated Blog. Most of you will be familiar with using these dinky-linky things, but if not, they are quite easy to use : if you are joining in the fun this week, simply enter your name and the URL of your blog in the box below and press enter. Please try to include a link back to the Sepia Saturday Blog in your post so that your readers can then discover the other posts, and please try to visit the blogs of as many of the other participants as you can. If you have not joined in before the rules for Sepia Saturday are fairly straight forward - the idea is to share our old photographs (they don't have to be sepia). They can be used as a springboard to whatever you want - family history, local history, poetry, prose or whatever - or they can simply be shared with the briefest of descriptions. In order to allow maximum flexibility, there is no weekly theme on Sepia Saturday : the overall aim always remains the same - to share our collective history. A slightly more verbose statement of aims can be found in The Sepia Saturday Manifesto.

Let's hope that Sepia Saturday goes from strength to strength in its new home. It would be really useful if regular players could give the launch of this new blog publicity on their existing blogs so that we get as many participants as possible.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Manifesto For Sepia Saturday


1. We belong to a favoured generation: the first generation of the digital age. Whilst our ancestors have valiantly attempted to preserve their own unique history in scraps of written narrative and faded and creased photographs, we have the unique ability to fix these memories for ever as our legacy to future generations.

2.  Scanning, blogging and digital storage provide us with the means of preserving the past, but we also have a duty to preserve the stories and images of those that contributed to our society as we know it. Whilst we can leave to academic historians the task of documenting the lives of the rich and famous, we believe that the most remote second-cousin and the most distant of maiden aunts has made a unique contribution to the lives that we lead. Each one of us has a duty to help preserve the stories of these builders of the modern world.

3. Whilst images alone are fascinating documents, images with words - be they simple half-remembered names and dates or gripping narrative histories - are even better. The synthesis of image and words provides the most effective insight into the past.

4. "Sepia" is an alliterative convenience rather than a descriptive criterion. Let our images be in sepia, in black and white or in full colour : what matters is the message and not the medium.

5.  We recognise that we have not only a duty to share our past but also to ensure that it is effectively preserved. Whilst images printed on photographic paper and words written in old notebooks fade with time, they have proved, in most cases, remarkably resilient over time. Perhaps one of the greatest dangers facing the millions of digital images and the endless pages of computerised words we produce today is that they can so easily be lost by the pressing of a wrong button or by the hacking of a troubled soul. We recognise and we accept our responsibility to back-up and securely save.