I love old photographs! They aren’t ephemera but they’re usually made of paper and as such they fall nicely into the subject area covered by this blog. Photographs often begin life as someone’s treasured keepsakes and are passed down through the generations. Sadly, at some point, the people and places that meant so much to the original owner may mean little or nothing to the individual who inherits them 80 or 90 years later. More often than not these albums, snapshots and cabinet cards end up in a shop, mixed up with hundreds if not thousands of others, waiting for adoption by some nostalgic collector like myself.
Initially my interest was in old photographs of Victoria, BC and of soldiers and battlefields of the First World War. However I’ve broadened my horizons in the past couple of years and I’m now on the lookout for any interesting image that captures my imagination. I especially like the high-quality black & white or sepia photographs of the late 18th and early 20th centuries.
I’m a big fan of Historypin and if I can pinpoint where a photograph was taken I will pin it on that site. If the photo was taken at street level you can superimpose the old photo over top of a modern Google Streetview. Fascinating stuff! I’ve already pinned well over 100 images to Historypin and you’ll find them all on my profile page (my profile name is Fort Victoria).
I’m also a big fan of Flickr. I’ve had an account for years but I’ve only recently begun posting old photographs and pieces of ephemera. Flickr has a great community of fellow enthusiasts and contains more than 5 billion photographs! There are groups for almost every interest and one that I’ve found very interesting and helpful is called What’s That Picture? It’s a group for posting mystery vintage (pre-1946) photographs for identification of people or location. So far I’ve posted 4 mystery photos and the group has a 100% success rate.