Pictures of Strangers

One day at work, I found this picture in a book…

We all shared some small chatter over how cute it was and unfortunate that someone had left it in this book.  But we didn’t know who it belonged to and we had more work to do, so we decided to resign it to the trash can. Just as I was about to drop it in, an employee remarks:

“NO!  Don’t throw it away!  Can I have it?  I love old photos.  My entire fridge is covered with other people’s photos I have found in various places.”

o. kaaaaaaayyy

After my co-workers and I shared a few odd glances, I sheepishly handed it over.  Personally, I thought it was odd and downright creepy that this guy had a collection of complete stranger candids that he fondly gazes upon as he eats his dinner every day.

Weird, right?

Photos are so personal; candids especially. True candid shots (I think) capture people in their natural state. It’s not posed or arranged. They capture authentic emotions, a snapshot of a certain 10 second moment in their lives. That’s a real person/people after all. With real lives and real problems. Somebody’s kid, mom, friend.  So personal.

But.  I have always enjoyed looking at old photos of times gone by; especially strangers.   I feel privileged for the opportunity to gaze upon their 10 seconds in time. I am enchanted by their faces and the thoughts of what might have been happening at that very moment in their lives.  Were they miserable? Was it hot? What happened after this shot was taken? What was going through their head at the time? Did they love their life? Who were they?  Did they have a secret?

When you put it that way, maybe it’s not so creepy after all?

So.  I’ve decided the next time I find a forgotten photo left behind by its past loved ones, I think I’ll take a different approach. Maybe we can have an employee caption contest set up in the break room? Or what about making it into a huge piece of framed art that you hang in your family room?

I especially like this last photo … I think it may have been photoshopped (not sure?) but it would make for an AWESOME conversation starter at my next dinner party don’t you think:

{ majority of photos courtesy of one of my fave tumblrs  }

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5 responses to “Pictures of Strangers

  1. Having been a teacher, I used old photos like this for a number of purposes. Students would have to write stories about them. We used them to advertise something and they had to write the four parts of the ad. When I taught yearbook, I would use these photos for students to practice writing captions. Lord, they hated writing captions. “Can’t we just put the picture in without saying anything about it?” No. Old photos like these are wonderful.

  2. The picture you found in a book looks like happy! It gives us the feeling of Thanksgiving or another warm family event! Like the idea of hanging amongst your family — how random and interesting!

  3. It’s kind of interesting to imagine the stories behind the pictures. However, I am not sure I would hang a bunch up on my fridge.

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