Now-a-days with the amount of digital cameras and smart phones that are available, there is no end to the amount of photographs that are taken each and every day and then posted on the web. However, back in the ‘good old days’ things were very different. I imagine that cameras would have been a luxury item only owned by well off families and newspaper reporters. As for smart phones…need I say more?
I don’t know exactly when street photography as such began and I don’t know if anyone really knows the answer to that question. I’m not one to read books or search the internet researching the how’s & why’s, I just enjoy street photography for what it is….getting out and photographing everyday life.
One thing I do like, are the old street photos from the years gone by and seeing how things were back then. The people, their surroundings, what they were doing, wearing….etc. Sometimes there will be an article in the local newspaper accompanied by a photograph taken from that time back in history showing a village or town scene with buildings which still exist today.
It’s little thing’s like that that make me appreciate the art of street photography, even if back then it wasn’t exactly street photography as we know it today, but nonetheless, at some point in history a photographer has taken the time to get out with his/her gear and capture a certain moment for everyone to see in the years to come.
The vintage photograph I have posted here is that of a butcher’s wagon with the butcher, his assistance and a small girl waiting to be served. Again some photographer has for whatever reason taken the time to shoot this street scene so that we today can understand a little bit of how life was back in the days. Was the photographer a friend of the butcher?, were they taking the shot for a newspaper? or just a street photographer like we are today? To that question we may never find out the answer but I am very grateful to them, whoever they were, for capturing this moment in time.
This photograph was printed on the back cover of a book about the history of the Scottish town of Motherwell, which was on sale at a heritage center I visited with my family while on holiday in 2010. It was my actually my mum who noticed the book and took it from the shelf to have a quick look through the pages. You can imagine our surprise when she closed the book, took a look at the back cover and said…well almost shouted… “oh look…it’s my daddy!”
Yes, the young assistant or ‘butcher’s boy’ as they were called back then, was my grandad when he was about 15 years old, which dates this photo to around 1925. Needless to say we bought the book and when we got home the box of family photos came out and my mum found the original photo, or at least a copy of the picture, which I’ve scanned for this post.
This is the only picture I have of my grandad this young, all the other photos we have of him are from the 60’s and onwards when cameras were more affordable.
Now you know the reason why I am so grateful to that unknown photographer and I hope that maybe, in another 90 years time or so, one of my ‘shots for the future’ will make some someone else as happy as that photographer did our family.
Dedicated to my grandad, Hugh (Hughie) Fraser.