100 Days Project: making connections

100 Days Project: day 2, and already my interest in family history is seeping in. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

100 Days Project: day 2, and already my interest in family history is seeping in. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

I’ve signed up for the 100 Days Project – an exercise in creativity that involves doing one thing every day for 100 days. I decided to take randomly generated words and see what they inspired in me. Today (day 2 of the project), my word was sepia.

Of course that made me think of old photos and how I spend time looking at pictures of my female forebears in beautiful dresses and amazing hats — and wondering what those clothes really looked like — particularly  the colours.

Without the memories of those who remain, we will never know these things. But family history is a kind of exercise in “adding colour”. Not literally maybe, but by researching the lives of our ancestors, particularly the little details we often learn almost by accident, and the social context of their lives; we enrich the picture that we have of them.

I don’t think today’s exercise is particularly effective visually; I’m rubbish at hand-colouring images. But I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter. 100 Days isn’t just about product, but about process. About the way I think and the connections I make. And maybe I’ll learn to hand-colour old photos.


10 thoughts on “100 Days Project: making connections

  1. That’s a challenge! Funnily enough I found a photo of my mother today, sepia, and suddenly realised that I recognised the dress she was wearing. It is in my wooden chest and is a pale sky blue with navy blue embroidery. Like you, I would be hopeless at adding colour to the original photo.

    • Thank you Amy. I wish I had more photos of my family. I’m lucky to have been given so many from my partner’s. Our son will at least have a picture of life from that line.

  2. I love the connection you made between imagining the colours in a photograph and adding colour to the lives of the people who came before us through the stories we accumulate about their lives. Great visual!

  3. Greetings from a fellow sepia freak. I’ve come across several hand-colored photographs in my family collection recently, and I just adore them–your metaphor is so perfect. Also, you are so right that process, not product, is the important thing. I always love seeing a new post from you in my feed.

    • Thank you so much. Learning to enjoy process is probably the key lesson of my adult life and I’m ridiculously proud of myself for each little step on that road. 🙂

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