I’ve always been fascinated with old photos, especially candid shots. There’s something about capturing an imperfect moment, a moment that would have passed without note or notice like thousands of others before and after it that creates an astounding, accidental significance. Someone – a friend or even a stranger – chooses to point a camera, pop a flashbulb, and immortalizes a single point in time.
Prior to practical photography toward the middle of the nineteenth century, only those who could afford to hire a portrait artist – or at the least caught the eye of one – would ever see their own likenesses anywhere other than a mirror. Of course, paintings or sketches can hardly be considered candid – usually requiring hours or days of sitting while the artist considered the best lines and angles. The early days of photography were much the same with those first cameras requiring up to an hour to capture an image. So much for the action shot.
Thankfully, the process was much improved early in the twentieth century. Cameras became less cumbersome and more affordable. It wasn’t long before George Eastman’s, box camera – the “Brownie” became a household item – capturing black and white images of baby tushies and humiliating teenagers everywhere.
This was all fantastic – but it was the introduction of color that breathed life into candid moments in a way that humanity had never experienced. Suddenly, what had barely seemed more than distant stories of far-away places were right there in living color on the pages of Life Magazine and National Geographic. Kodachrome documented the twentieth century in a way that no other time in human history had been documented.
It wasn’t just exotic places or politicians or beautiful starlets who came alive in glossy images. We documented our homes and families in detail. We pointed and snapped at birthday parties, first steps, first dates, vacations…it was so vital not to lose any of those moments that we placed negatives in fireproof safes along with our money and jewels. How many of you had that aunt or grandparent who lived in fear of not getting the shot. My own grandmother was known to force family members to reenact poignant moments she missed the first time around…after all, no one’s going to know they were actually little Susie’s second steps, right?
Those vintage photographs are my inspiration for this week’s Throwback Thursday. I looked through our stock to find a few pieces with just the right tone. For instance, take a look at this pink quartz cocktail ring. Not only does the soft pastel pink bring vintage photos to mind, but the sleek style makes it a hit with our customers! As far as vintage hues go – I knew I had to include this awesome gold toned stretch cuff with opaque teal beads. Finally, I chose a deep purple crystal cluster necklace. This would provide the perfect contrast to a summer frock in peach or white!
Sadly, Kodachrome is no longer being produced. Digital photography is more efficient, not to mention, more accurate. It’s true that the colors are more precise, and you can’t beat digital for a crisp action shot. So, why is it those old Kodachrome photos seem to have more soul? Maybe, it’s because in the looking back, memories aren’t truly accurate either. Like those old pictures, the edges tend to soften and some colors pop more than others – but that’s as it should be. After all, at the end of the day it’s the quality of the light that really matters.