Friday, November 6, 2009

Sidewalk Photographs

I am sorting through some old pictures when I come across a sidewalk photo, taken in Edmonton ca 1944. Then another, and another, until I have half a dozen. I am looking for a remembrance picture to add to my Recollections, and the memories roused by these photos call out to be recorded.

I wonder about the practice of sidewalk photography, - is it still a viable business for anyone looking to augment their income during these difficult economic times?

Oh, surely not, I think - times have changed since these pictures were taken and the Rights of people are so easily offended now!!!

But in those more innocent and sensible days the sidewalk photographer was easily accepted, - even welcomed. When the camera snapped and the lens captured your image as you walked down the street there was a little excitement and a pleasant feeling of anticipation as the photographer handed you the chit to retrieve the picture - for a small sum.

Here are some of the photos taken with friends and colleagues as we window shopped during our noon hour, dreaming over things for our hope chests, spending precious moments looking for just the right greeting card, and occasionally on payday buying some article of clothing that had caught our eye. Paydays at that time were a pittance compared to today's generous wages. I made little more in a month than what is now paid for a day's wages, but prices were equally as small so it all evened out.

These were all dear friends. I am nostalgic and smiling at the memories the pictures bring to mind. And I say Up, up with Street Photographers, and mourn their passing.

They were special. 'They had almost no time to make a decision and they had to be prepared to snap the picture as soon as the subject came into focus and the brain signaled "NOW". A fine instinct for the perfect moment was never enough. The eye and the hand and the brain had to coordinate perfectly and without hesitation'.

Skilled street photographers developed the ability to compose and frame the image in their mind’s eye before they even raised the camera.

When we were on our honeymoon Charles and I were snapped on the street, coming from our hotel. I cherish the picture, - it is so unposed, so natural, and probably so typical...... I see I have a letter in my hand to mail, - probably to my mother. We were so very new with each other, and they were such entrancing days.

As sometimes days are now, almost sixty-five years later.....