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The hidden clues in old photographs
Looking at old photos can be totally fascinating and absorbing, but often clues to the past can go unnoticed.
Here I have presented two photos of REM (Thomas Reynolds) both photos were taken around 1930, and show REM at his usual pitch, outside the National Gallery in London.
The photo above was published recently in WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE magazine.
Unravelling the past is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle; things like period clothing can tell us a lot about social status.
It’s easy to look back on old photos and imagine we’ve come a long way since then, but have we really? Sure things have changed, and we wear different clothes etc. but the main thing is that we are essentially the same.
There was a very good reason why pavement artists produced relatively small works, in comparison to the massive chalking’s of today; also, unlike today’s artists most were self-taught, with little or no formal art education. Pavement art was a folk art invented by poor people as a means to make a living, or keep their families out of the workhouse.
Pavement artists where often only one drawing away from the poor-house.
Related blog: Ruined by War (1935)
Written & Researched by Philip Battle