Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The mystery collection........... part 3 a working day

The last in the series featuring an unknown collection of photographs from the beginning of the 20th century.

Now I am always fascinated by pictures which challenge you to uncover their secrets.

They are usually ones where there are few clues to where they were taken with no date and often shed no light on the identities of the people who stare back at you.

And that is pretty much what we have here from a collection of images which belong to David Kennedy.

The originals were 4 by 5 glass negatives and date from sometime around the end of the 19th or the beginning of the 20th century.

Some are of street scenes, others of men and women at work and include a fair number showing life on board a selection of working ships.

They range from causally posed scenes to ones where the photographer has caught his subjects fully occupied and perhaps unaware that they are being photographed.

And amongst the collection are some which open up the world of work in a town somewhere just across the Channel.

Now I say that because at least one picture carries references to Belgium and in particular the towns of Nieupoort and Ostend and intriguingly to a number of restaurants which in the fullness of time might yield some more information on the location of the pictures.

But that aside they capture perfectly a group of people going about the daily routines of work.

A man trundles a cart accompanied by two dogs and given the umbrella covers the top of the cart and his white coat I wonder if he is out selling ice cream.

Of course that is bordering on a heap of speculation, but I am on firmer ground with the working boats and what might be a water tower.

And lastly there is the building with its posters advertising a host of different things including that word Telegraaf which Google Translate tells me is Dutch but is more equally Flemish or Belgian Dutch which fixes our photographs in the northern part of Belgium.

Of the three this one interests me the most.

Our photographer has caught one of those quiet moments perhaps during the midday lunch break when only the dog is out in the heat of the sun.

Something has been going on and I guess will do so again as the open cellar doors and the nearby wagon testify.

But at that precise point in time nothing stirs save the dog, which just leaves us to focus on the posters and in particular that one high up on the wall advertising some long gone event.

Alas I doubt that I will ever know what it was

Pictures; by courtesy of David Kennedy

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