Cherished Moments: On Sale for a Quarter
When you find an old photo in an antique store, do you wonder who the image is of?
Old photos, photography, black and white, antique store, Carolyn Porter, Marcel Heuzé
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Cherished Moments: On Sale for a Quarter

Next time you’re in an antique store, look for the box of old photos. Trust me, there is almost always a shoebox of photos sitting in some forgotten corner, filled with miniature black-and-white glossy prints stripped from the pages of a photo album.

Many antique stores sell these photos for a quarter; sometimes they are two or three for a dollar. Some may have decorative corners still adhered, others may be bent or torn. Some may have fancy scalloped edges, others may have trace fibers from the photo album paper. They rarely ever have annotations on the back saying who is in the photo, or where it had been taken. It is as if it was assumed the person looking at the image would always know who these people were.

It’s hard to imagine these moments — captured at a time when camera equipment was expensive and film processing was a luxury — were so easily discarded. What happened to these laughing, loving people? Were hearts broken? Were these images knowingly discarded? Or were these people simply forgotten by time? Sometimes I look at the photos and try to imagine the story unfolding in that moment: a brother is leaving for war; newlyweds are posing in front of land they will spend the next fifty years trying to tame; a father just learned his daughter was accepted to college; friends are enjoying a last outing before a cruel winter sets in.

What do you see in these images? I’d love to hear.