Judith Kitchen: Family, Photography, and Fate

April 16, 2012 § 3 Comments

On his blog, Joe Bonomo interviews Judith Kitchen about her new book Half in Shade: Family, Photography, and Fate, and about what can be found in our old family photographs.  Great insight from a brilliant mind:

I see the family tree stretching backward and sense the patterns of immigration, the various individual hardships that add up to my own fairly easy American life. I see larger patterns of history, and the way my family did—and didn’t—participate in some of the shaping events of the last century. I see a tendency toward perverse individualism that, I now suspect, can be encouraged in a family like ours. And of course some photographs opened questions, hinted at, not secrets so much, but other lives that had their own fascinating trajectories. Most of all, I found lots of photographs that revealed humor—the sheer good spirits in which they were snapped. That honestly surprised me.

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§ 3 Responses to Judith Kitchen: Family, Photography, and Fate

  • sandrabranum says:

    Thank you for heping me see old photographs in a new light. We have photos that we waited too long to mark and now have no idea who they are, but now I can view them as a part of me and my heritage.

  • matt says:

    Sounds interesting. Yeah, fate is probably something better to write about when looking back, maybe the jokes/punchlines are more easily understood.

  • Lyn Fenwick says:

    Never destroy family photographs! After my mother-in-law’s death we found a box of studio portraits from the late 1880s lacking identification, My husband wanted to burn them, saying “There is no way now to ever identify them!” Guess what?! We knew they were his maternal great grandmother’s photographs, and using photo locations and research on ancestry.com I have identified nearly all of them. Too late I have contacted remote cousins only to be told, “Oh, we didn’t know who the people in the picture were, so we threw them away.” I enjoyed the post and prior comments, especially Sandra’s new way of looking at old photographs of her family. Save those old pictures and maybe someday some descendant will follow the clues to discover the image of a lost ancestor!

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