Shooting for the Future

    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.

    vintage-street-ca-1925The 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.




    1. Esther | | Reply

      A very nice and touching story.
      When I look at Vivian Maier’s pictures, it is what I feel. She took tons of shots and it was the everyday’s life… Nowadays, how many people in Chigago, where she was living a long time in her life, would recognize in her pictures a grand-father, a mother ?
      If you want to know more about her, please have a look here :

      • Mister G.C. | | Reply

        Thank you Esther.
        I read your post on Vivien Maier. Very interesting. I love that shot of the guy snoooooozing in the newspaper kiosk. A great candid.

    2. Tina | | Reply

      That’s a beautiful story Grant and I’m sure it made your mom very happy. Pictures are so powerful, not just because they capture moments in time that can never be experienced again but also because of the emotions that they pull out of us.

      One time my cousin was at a flea market in Manhattan. There was a table set up and there were a bunch of photo albums for sale. My cousin assumed that the man in the photos had died and the guy who was selling them came across them in an estate sale or maybe that he was related to the man in the photos but didn’t know him. Anyway, my cousin really considered buying them because when she was flipping through the photos, she saw that the man had a really amazing life. He traveled. He went on these interesting adventures. Nothing out of this world extraordinary but she said it was fascinating to experience a complete strangers life through photographs.

      • Mister G.C. | | Reply

        Thank you Tina.
        Your story about the photograph albums has rekindled an idea I add for the group but we had so much to get on with in the beginning I thought I’d keep it until we were looking for something new to do. I didn’t even remember about it when I was writing my post.
        I’ll think it over again and put the idea on the admin group.

    3. Just Ard | | Reply

      Grant as I was reading through I thought you were using the photo to demonstrate why we shoot street, to record the moment of the everyday folk. I always use this argument that we only have paintings and photographs of Royalty or the Gentry.

      Then to my surprise, the story, and what a lovely story unfolded. I couldn’t help thinking how your Mum felt when she saw the photo of her Father, and for you to see that photo of your Granddad.

      We have a very big range of books of Old Cardiff, which I believe have also been published of so many other Cities around the world and they are great to sit down and read. They show how the City was over the years, but to read one of them and see your ancestors must be fantastic.

      I thoroughly enjoyed this post Grant, so different to what we normally read in Street Blogs, and something so personal, that shows how Street can be a joy to so many.

      • Mister G.C. | | Reply

        Thanks Wayne.
        Well I’m really pleased that I managed to write my post in a way that you never really knew the whole story until you reached the little twist at the end. I’d been writing that post over and over again in my head while on the road, thinking how I could keep it short & sweet but eventually leading up to the point of the post.

        Good to hear you’ve got those books on ‘Old Cardiff’…’re gonna need them ;0)

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