Friday, October 11, 2013

Photo Friday: Now in Color Edition (1950's-1960's)

Good morning!

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday, I was having the migraine-of-ages and spent most of the day in bed, watching season 5 of Grey's Anatomy, and reading The Whole Death Catalog (as much out of macabre curiosity for the factoids dedans as much as self-pity). I am well rested and feeling much better this morning with the aid of coffee and a good night's sleep! Why don't we round out the week with your Friday edition of other people's family photos?

This week's batch really impressed me for how many of the photos taken from 1950-1970 were in color! Other than a hand-tinted studio shot or two, there are precious few of my own family photos in anything but black and white before year of our Lord 1968. It's interesting to think of what a difference it makes, seeing the same scene from 1954, but in living, breathing color! I think these were probably taken from slides for the most part, but I think it teaches a valuable lesson about availing oneself to the best technology (especially when it's memory-preservation we're talking about!).

Great example, this first photo. A curly headed blonde shows off her three piece cowgirl ensemble...real Hopalong Cassidy licensed merchandise! I love the fringe, the bolo tie, and her hat cocked just so. In black and white, you'd be likely to miss all the little details of this domestic scene, from the pale yellow door and matching tile in the kitchen, to the red check of the tablecloth repeating in the hem of the kitchen curtain. I love the red framed photo of a soldier on the floor model radio in front of which our junior western enthusiast is posing. All these details could have been lost in the blurry sepia of b & w, but here they are, looking almost too fresh to be sixty years ago!

Told you it looked official! Here's the 1952 ad to prove it! (source)
Here's the cowgirl's kid brother, who has an official trademark television tie in fealty of his own to Tennessee hero Davy Crockett. Can you imagine the two of them running around the house, each in their respective outfits? I love that the mother has made do for cowboy boots with (much more practical) rubber galoshes, denim jeans tucked in for authenticity. How freakin' cute!

This family was no slouch when it came to snazzy dressing for special occasions, either. Here's a photo from Easter of two little ones dresed to the nines (how about the boy's Frank Sinatra hat, cocked way back on his head!) and the mother in a Kennedy worthy matching ensemble with one-of-those-hats-that-never-fit-my-head-correctly (le sigh). I love the teddy bear left bereft of life on the arm of the sofa.

See how much prettier in color! The satin of the mother's silver dressing gown, that gorgeous array of flowers, and the yellow curtains framing the whole shot. This could be a magazine cover!

 As said, the family that dresses chic together...see the mother's serious floral hat, which matches the floral shell top, and her neatly tailored gray suit jacket. The boys look like straight up little men. I never get tired of vintage children's clothes looking like tiny versions of adult clothes. I know it's probably easier to dress your modern sons and daughters in cloth stretch pants and little jumpers or t-shirts, and definitely more comfortable for the child in question, but knowing how to wear a tie at age 8 would make you more likely to wear one at 28, don't you think? Teaching children how to take care in their appearance at such a young age is probably how you get adults who know the power of a tie clip or a pair of pearl earrings to pull together an elegant look. Also, please, I want the mother's hat so badly.

This picture is just terrifying on about thirty different levels. Is it the children looking in the screen door, the one red eye, the oversized gloves? I just can't put my finger on what makes this picture so creepy instead of cute! I was just reading an article on Buzzfeed (I only rely on top-drawer news outlets, you know) the other day about how unsettling old children's costumes were...and this one would fit right in!

A much calmer look at the kids, not looking like they're about to murder someone. I love how the little guy on the right has his hands twisted up in anticipation at what will happen to Dick and Jane next. How about that couch pattern? (correct response: OHMYGODILOVETHATCOUCHPATTERN)

Another Easter Sunday with that same hat! I love the children's matching ensembles and the little baby wrapped up in hat and coat.

Last but not least, this was a photo from a wedding one of the kids participated in circa 1968-- I think it was around Christmas time, which kind of but not really excuses the COMPLETELY BIZARRE choice of bridesmaids' dresses! How about those red veils! They look like something out of The Handmaid's Tale. At least the bride looked beautiful (that's the point, right?).

Well, what do you think? Check out the whole stream here for even more photos-in-color! Did your family invest in color photography technology early, or are most of your parents or grandparents' snapshots in black and white? Have you seen any glamorous or gratuitous uses of color in vintage snapshots recently? Did your family dress to the nines for Easter when you were little? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll be back next week with more vintage tips and quips. You have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday! Til then.


  1. I have some colour photos of both sides of the family from the late '40s on. It really does make you notice little things that, in b&w, just wouldn't show up. Plus, it makes the mid 20th century seem a little more 'real' to those of us born decades later when everything was in eye popping colour.

    I'm dying over that mom's hat too! It looks as though someone piled little pink petals into a mountain on her head! People these days really should do better with their kids dress...but most of the adults can 't even seem to get beyond wearing pajamas out in public. As a society, we've gotten lazy and complacent and have lost respect for ourselves and how we're presented and perceived. At least there's some of us who still care enough to match our shoes to our purse to our hat to our coat to our brolly! People always tell me it must take sooooo much time to get dressed. I always point out that it takes the same amount of time to put on my dress and stockings as it does to put on their baggy tee and jeans. And my heels slip on just as easily as their flip, I have such high arches that flats are far more uncomfortable for me than heels.

    I love old Halloween costumes! They're so much scarier! I remember those Barbie faces from when I was little. You know, like the one in Alice, Sweet Alice? God those were scary...even before I'd ever seen the film...and they weren't even meant to be! But I think the little boy in the pic is kind of cute though. What's scaring me more than him or his lurky friends in the background is the step down outside that door! You could break a leg stepping off that! Whoa!

    1. Oh, I so agree! It drives me NUTS when people go "Oh, I just can't imagine the time it takes you to get ready in the morning" when all I've done is put on tights, shoes, a dress, and a hat. My makeup takes less than 5 minutes. There's definitely the care with which you chose your clothes and the way you look to account for, but you're exactly right, I'm sure it took the woman just as long if not longer to dress sloppily and do her hair in a ponytail.

      I wore one of those Barbie masks one year! Utterly terrifying. I wish I still had it! (ps Alice Sweet Alice is so freaking scary)

  2. We have a bit of both color and b&w. What I remember most is my grandpa taking pictures-and the blinding flash the bulb made. That is back when you had to switch out a bulb for every picture, I believe. I wonder what happened to his old camera?

    1. Ha, I've seen bulbs like that in the movies but never been the victim of one. That's interesting to think about!

  3. That cowgirl photo: not sure if that is real tile in the kitchen or the fake thin wall board stuff sold at that time. This house had it from the fifties, like paperboard with lino on top. Looked JUST like that. Cheap, pretty... washable. LOVED all the photos of how people dressed, so classy.

    1. Sharp eye, Karen! I hadn't thought of it being wall-board, but I bet it was! I'm dying over the mom in all these pictures--neat as pin!



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