Tekla with the cowIt happens sometimes that you hold an old photograph in your hands and admire it. We hold it with awe  as if it is an antique thing, being afraid to damage it by accident, carefully gaze at it, some while with a magnifying lens.

Ah, this old photograph-“vignette of the old gist”, how dear you are to us, how many thoughts inspire you…

About fast flying life, about people, loved ones and not so much loved, about the objects surrounding us, favorite pets…

Look at this photo of Janko’s aunt Tekla with the cow. This is a young and beautiful girl with her feeding cow. Tekla is barefoot, so is her beauty, without shoes either. Photo is made in 1928, perhaps. Imagine, the young girl came from field work, is going to prepare the food for the cow as part of her everyday tasks. Life was not easy at that time. Everything was done by hand in those Slovak villages. People worked around the nature seasons. Spring is for planting, summer – growing and ploughing, autumn – harvesting time. Another word, it was endless cycle of physical hand work.

The photograph was evidently done at the door of the stable.

The other old photo from Janko’s collection is the photograph of Katerina, his great grandmother, photo was made in the photo studio at the turn of the 20-th century. The art of photographing has been developed tremendously since that time. Compare to digital photography of our days. Computer wonder, indeed!

Look at Katerina’s face. The photographer or camera-man, how we call him/her now, captures the image in a life-like form. Katerina is sitting so naturally in front of the camera, contended with what she did, how she lived, if there were any regrets, they are not shown on the face. The hands were lying in typical hard working woman’s manner, putting together in rest. The quality of the photo is Janko's Great Grandmother Katarinaexcellent for that period of time. The play of light and shadow captured the personality of her. It is an image frozen in time and space of a person who lived in another era, in another century. She speaks to us through the years, reflecting the memories of time past, of people long gone. But alive in memory passed down to us.

In this respect I recollect my student years’ fondness of Shakespeare’s creativity, my favorite Sonnet XXX:

“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:

The can I drown an eye, unused to flow,

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,

And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,

And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:

The can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er,

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.”

I invite all people who are interested in old photos, send us a few of them to publish in our Workshop, which is transformed temporarily into the Photoshop of Antique Masterpieces.

Listen to: Eduard Khil – Walking the Streets of Moscow

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