Wordless Wednesday: Really. I have no words

An unknown family.  I found this photo in a junk shop and was so consumed with questions about it; I bought it. Who are these people? Which(if either) of the men is the baby's father? Is the woman holding the baby the mother? A nurse? A godmother? I almost certainly will never know!

An unknown family.
I found this photo in a junk shop and was so consumed with questions about it; I bought it. Who are these people? Which (if either) of the men is the baby’s father? Who is the woman holding the baby? A nurse? A godmother? The only thing I feel sure of is that the woman on the left is the baby’s mother.

What do you think?

Wordless Wednesday is a blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers.

34 thoughts on “Wordless Wednesday: Really. I have no words

  1. Absolutely nothing. I bought it here in Auckland, but have no idea if it was taken in New Zealand. I kind of think not. There is nothing on the back; a real mystery.

  2. I have found myself amassing quite the collection of vintage baby photos and often find myself wondering exactly what you do. Occasionally there is a name on the back of the card which is so nice to havet. Now Su, not to be morbid or cast a pall on this photo, but my very first impression was that it was a “memento mori”. But the standing man’s smile leads me to think otherwise. And yet the seated man’s face seems so mournful…..

    • There is definitely something terribly mournful about the seated man’s expression. The first scenario that I imagined was that the standing man and the woman in white were brother and sister. The seated man is the baby’s father and the older woman holding the baby is either a nurse, or perhaps the seated man’s mother. The woman in white and standing man both look Anglo-Indian, as does the baby. I thought it might have been a christening photo (in which case the woman holding the baby might be the god-mother). I’m probably totally wrong of course. I also wonder about the relationship between the two men? The power definitely seems to lie with the standing man.

      • Su, he looks like he’s about to made “walk the plank”; and the gentleman standing, is the one who is going to make sure he does it! 😦 Certainly NO happiness in the “seated” gentleman’s expression!

      • The power relationship between the two men is definitely the most interesting thing about the photo for me.

  3. I have no expertise (about anything, ever), but I find the clothing styles interesting and perhaps a clue to the people depicted in the photograph. The sitting man’s tie seems to be tied using a fore-in-hand knot, while the man standing looks to be wearing a full Windsor knot. Also, the standing man is wearing a vest, and the lady sitting (left) is wearing shoes that look similar to the styles worn in the 1920s. The lady sitting (right) appears to be a nurse, which would indicate that the couple were wealthy and both ladies hairstyles also appear popular during the period from 1900 to 1920 ….ish.

    Okay, I’m done with my inane blather now. A fun exercise, though … ☺

    • Wow! You are amazing; I would never have looked at the tie knots (despite being married to someone who is quite proud of his tie-tying abilities). I’ll have to ask the ‘other half’ if he knows anything about the history of the knots. Like you, I thought the clothes and shoes put them somewhere in the 1920s. Thanks for all your comments and help on this πŸ™‚

  4. It definitely looks like a christening photo – the baby is wearing a christening gown. You can spend some time wondering about the relationships, the date and the people. That is what photography about – telling a story. Great post. πŸ˜€

  5. I think that the older couple are the grandparents and the younger couple the parents. I don’t see the sitting man as mournful, just solemn.distracted. But it also could be that the photographer just caught him at a bad moment but the others looked great. Who cares about Grandpa? πŸ™‚

    • Hi Amy, I hadn’t thought of them being grandparents. The standing man doesn’t seem very old, but since Mustang drew my attention to his clothes, he does look as though he’s wearing a different “generation” of suit to the other man. Oh, I’ve just realised you’re saying the seated man is grandpa? I’ve pinned this photo above my desk and have been distracting myself from work inventing stories for these people. Such fun πŸ™‚

      • Yes, we could all write some great short stories imagining who they are and what the relationship is. Both women seem to be so adoring of the child that I think it’s grandmother and mother. Dad looks happy and pleased as punch. And grandpa just seems thoughtful and probably worrying about how happy Daddy is going to support the family!

        • What a great idea; back in the days when I fancied myself as a creative writer, I loved prompts like this. πŸ™‚

  6. I think it is the baby’s baptism/christening day. The lady with the white dress is the baby’s mother – the man seated next to her is the father. The lady holding the baby is the Godmother and the man standing is the Godfather or minister.

    • Thanks! That’s one scenario I thought of too – although it hadn’t recurred to me that the standing man could be a minister. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. πŸ™‚

    • Isn’t she just beautiful? If I still tried to write fiction, she’d be my heroine and I’d tell her story. Thanks for stopping by. Hope things are ok with you.

    • Hi Ed; I reckon he’s the dad too. I thought the man standing might be the woman in white’s brother. They both look quite Eurasian – especially the man. I know that the photo only captures an instant in time (and I’d hate to think someone would try to construct a story about me from some of the photos that have been taken of me), but there are so many story-telling possibilities in this shot. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  7. People back then were so serious… Gees… Not even a little smile… That’s a great find… I have a couple of old pictures I’ve found align the way & wonder who they are…

    • I just love old photos. I get such enjoyment from imagining those people’s lives. It’s kind of historical people-watching I guess. πŸ™‚

  8. I believe it’s a post mortem photograph which were very common at that time. The seated man is obviously the father (the child has a similarity in the chin especially to him), The standing man, offering him comfort may be a slightly older brother/ friend? … Seems to me that the younger woman may be the child’s aunt (sister of the baby’s mother whom I suspect pre- deceased her baby and is why she’s not in the photo) She has a sympathy as she looks at the dead baby but is not distraught. The clothing of the older woman suggests she may be the nurse. Here’s a link re: post mortem photograpy… Cheerio for now.

  9. Loved reading all the possible stories and then think of some of the people photos I took yesterday. If they were found 50, 100, 150 years ago what might people have made of them then!

  10. I’m sure the woman on the left is the mother. The baby looks like her. I also collected some old photos and always enjoy looking at the old dresses, hairdressing, furniture etc. and thinking about these people’s lifes.

    • Thank you; I believe she is too. I’m glad to find other people as fascinated by the lives of strangers from the past as I am. πŸ™‚

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