June 23, 2009

Winnie the beauty

Vintage photos are a subject that I truly enjoy. Lacking old family albums of my own to page through (for the record though, some of my relatives like my granny do have older black and white/vintage pictures, hopefully one day I’ll have the honour of being the keeper of some of these wonderful snapshots in time), I’ve found that Flickr has become like a surrogate photo album of sorts.

Instead of my own great, great, greats aunts or grandfathers though, through vintage and antique photos of people one knows nothing about, it’s almost as though you can imagine anybody in an old photo to be your relative or friend. Perhaps that sounds silly, but if you think about it, ultimately we’re all distant relations, and the history of those who came before us is ultimately responsible for our existence in the present.

Recently I came across the photo below (on Flickr) and was absolutely struck by how lovely this dark haired young woman is. The Flickr user who uploaded it doesn’t know much about the photo other than that it was given to his mother by a woman named Winnie.

There’s something about the effervescent look in her young eyes, the gorgeously feminine style of her dainty floral print, ruffled dress and the quaint little purse strung across her chest that makes me think she would have made an incredibly cool older sister or cousin. Or perhaps she was the baby of the family, sweet natured as the day was long because of all the love she’d received from her large family.

{From her up-swept curls to her adorable outfit, Winnie looks like a woman with world of possibility at her fingers. I wonder what became of this stunning gal? Photo from Spysgrandson’s Flickr stream.}

In looking at photos of strangers from the past and imagining the lives of those who’ve never known (as I touched on in a post last week, too), we do more than keep their memories alive, we preserve the beauty of their souls through the joy these images bring our own.


  1. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL POST & PICTURE! I just did a post on vintage dresses! How I wish I had fotos like this of my grandmother, I have some of my mom, but not much..XOXO

  2. What a lovely, engaging smile Winnie has! You can't help sensing (and hoping) she had a lovely life too.

  3. I agree....I adore vintage photos and enjoy speculating about their lives!

  4. You are spot on hunny. I love old photos no matter who they belonged to. My favorite old photo I have aside from the ones of my grandparetns and such would be this picture of a lady and her husband in the 1940's it was a gift and along with it I recieved her wedding china from the 1920's.

    Gorgeous photo is that a really long pony tail or something else?

  5. Old photos like this are the most fun, I love snatching them up when I see them (sadly) at garage sales and what not. I like giving them a new home. :)

  6. Winnie was probably a woman who couldn't wait to travel the world. This one could have been one of the lovely gardens in Amsterdam. But thru all her wanderlusting she never forgot her high school friend at home who chose to raise a family. And always sent pictures home so her friend could live vicariously thru her too.

    (a picture is worth a thousand words, and we could write all sorts to old photos)

  7. i only have a very few and they are much loved and treasured indeed!

  8. Oh, I love this! She seems like a wonderful person to be friends with, and is breathlessly stunning.


  9. Hey Jess.. Great post!
    I also really love old family photos!
    A while back when i was at Grandmas i looked through some old photo albums of old family and she explained to me who the people were and how we were related and what not, i really loved the experience! it would be really cool to see the photos that you are talking about that granny has!
    Love, Katie

  10. @ Gyspyfox, thank you very much! I wish I was in possession of amazing snaps like this of my own relatives, too. (I'll be certain to check out your post on vintage dresses - one of my absolute fave fashion topics! - as soon as I finish this comment.)

    @ Nora, I agree, her smile is magnetic and was really what drew me to this wonderful shot.

    @ Landgirl, so do! I think I could make a full time job out of writing stories and/or poems based on the photos of strangers.

    @ Darla, thank you, sweet-heart. What an amazing photo to be in possession of. You're so lucky to have wonderful old pictures. (At first glance I thought that was her hair too, but after I looked at it a little longer, I realized it's the thin strap on her cute little purse.)

    @ Maggi, for sure, they are so much fun! I'm going to start doing that too. Not only will I help preserve history, but it will give me lots of inspiration for my own looks and for blog posts.

    @ Sher, Excellently said, I think that she looks like life was her oyster (so to speak), too. I would have loved to have hung out with her.

    @ Elena, indeed, there are few treasures more precious than the visual links one has to their own past.

    @ Cait, I couldn't agree with you more. Whoever Winnie was, she was a truly lovely and vivacious looking woman.

    @ Katie, you're so lucky that grandma showed you through her old photos! I know there's that genealogy book that someone (I think on grandpa's side) had put together in the 80s or early 90s, that used to sit under their coffee table at their old house, but I don't recall grandma going through it (in any detail) or her old snaps with me when I was a kid. Hopefully she will one day though!

    The photos of granny's that I mentioned used to be on the side table in her living room, but I haven't been to her house in so many years that I'm not sure where they would be now. I wonder if she'd ever consider bringing them up to mom's when she visits??? (Tons of love to you too, my precious sister!)

    Thank you deeply everyone for your insightful, lovely comments.

    Wishing you each a beautiful Wednesday,