Photographs transport me. They just do.
Even a photograph of myself at a (much) younger age takes me back and I remember details I haven’t thought of in years. Decades, even.
The way the metal cover on the radiator in our dining room warmed me as I sprawled on it while waiting my morning turn for the one bathroom that served nine people.
The rhythm of setting the table for dinner every evening and someone dashing off to fetch my dad from the train station at just the right moment.
The rocking motion that soothed both me and my newborns while I nursed them in the middle of the night.
The triumph of my daughter when she learned to ride a two-wheeler.
Looking down from the height of my seat in the stadium and picking out my son as the gowned graduating class processed in.
And when I look at photographs of history, imagined moments in the lives of people who lived long ago spring out of me. I just can’t help it.
My Avenue of Dreams series is set against the backdrop of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. While 1893 seems like a long time ago, and it is, it was well into the era of photography. Images abound of that world’s fair. When I look at them, I see my own characters, particularly Charlotte Farrow (The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow) strolling those grounds and gasping in admiration of the triumph that the fair brought to Chicago.
Here’s a link to some great photos of the buildings of the fair while under construction and other amazing tidbits I hope you will enjoy. Think of Lucy Banning (The Pursuit of Lucy Banning) on the planning committee of the women’s exhibit hall, and Charlotte Farrow as she had to face the terror of the Ferris wheel to come to terms with her past.
• What’s the oldest photograph you have seen in real life?