This is the 2nd in what looks to be a new series of blog posts about family photographs. I was recently with my 80 year old mother as she was going through boxes of old photographs, greeting cards, and other items, many of which belonged to her mother, who was born in 1908. With this in mind, many of the things in there dated back 70-100 years, including this stash of Christmas cards from the 1920s.
This particular photograph grabbed my attention, on several levels. First of all, it’s very small – it measures about 2 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches – and it has a sepia tone. Secondly, and most importantly – what is this person wearing? I was initially focused on the central figure, perplexed by it, but once I shifted my gaze to the girl, I realized it’s probably two kids dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. Are they dressed up for Halloween? Or for a school play? It’s hard to know, and to tell you the truth, I initially thought the central figure was supposed to be a cow, since this picture was most likely taken in Iowa in the early 20th Century (and because my grandmother lived on a farm). But the girl definitely suggests Little Red Riding Hood, so I’m going with the Big Bad Wolf theory.
For whatever it’s worth, neither of these kids, to the best of my knowledge, are my grandmother, and I know for sure my mother is not one of them – I’m not quite sure who these people are, but they’re from my mom’s side of the family, that’s all I know.
I also like this picture, because even though it’s just a family snapshot, it reminds me of some famous pictures taken by the 20th Century woman photographer Helen Levitt, including this one of three kids with masks, or this one with two kids wearing masks.