Saturday, May 13, 2017

4 Japanese Women

I keep looking at the 4 Japanese women in my new ambrotype. Who were they? What can I learn from this single exposure, this small moment caught in time forever.

Clouse up Japanese women ambrotype (1870-1900?)
Thoughts on the photo, some guesses.

-The older lady on the left seems sad, like she has given up on life for some reason. No family? No husband? A widow? She seems angry and resigned to her fate, looking down and away.
-The grandma second from left seems resigned to her fate, like she has suffered much in her life. She seems to have seen it all and has given up on things. She wears a ring on one finger, her wedding ring? The last memory of a lost husband? There is also some movement in the shot, like she cannot stay still. Is it some kind of old age shaking sickness like Parkinson's?
- The youngest women second from the right must be the daughter of the woman to the far right (nearest to her) and the grand daughter of the old lady. She seems suspicious and unsure of herself, not happy or content with her life. Did she eventually marry? Have children? Live through WWII? Die in the bombing? Hiroshima? Nagasaki?
- The last figure the older women on the far right and the possible mother of the young girl seems e frightened and suspicious. She stares at the camera/photographer with real fear. I have seen that look in the eyes of sex workers in Cambodia, the sort of scared beaten dog look. She seems the most vulnerable of the 4 women in the ambrotype, the most fragile. I can almost guarantee some bad things happened in her life that gave her that fear like, don't hurt me please expression.

I like to make up stories about my found Ebay photographs,. There are so many interesting faces for sale there, those faces and those stories inspire me to make my own photos, to record my own subjects and tell my own stories.

Note* The original sharp ambrotype has a beautiful tone and a more subtle and smooth tonality to it, than this rephotographed and heavily sharpened ( my camera movement) digi version. It has a very appealing light brownish sepia tone to it. This portrait seems so timeless. I hope I can do similar work of families across Canada.

Upate* I love this newly collected group work, it is probably my favorite wet plate image. One quality clear glass ambrotypes have over tintypes is a sense of DEPTH. you look through the glass at the image on the other side, there is something very special, very 3D. very real about that. With this Japanese image I feel I can walk through time and touch their lives.