There is something about printed photos that appeals to us on a basic level. It is the “oh-I-want-to-see” effect. If one person whips out a photo, everyone near by wants a glimpse. Each photo offers a glimmer of another place and time.
The photo shown today depicts a studio shoot at the Speech and Hearing Institute, Health Science Center, University of Texas at Houston. The catalog number for this photo is P-3736. The photo is dated 4-11-73.
One of the problems with a date like 4-11-73 is the month. Obviously 73 is 1973, but the month could be April or November. The photo cannot be dated with complete certainty.
Photos contain many clues that provide information about the people, places and things in the photos. For example, the camera gear, hairstyles, and clothing tells a lot about this image. If you look closely, you can see a hearing aid in the child’s ear.
What we cannot know is why is the technician filming the child and woman? Are they mother and daughter? Why is the hot plate perched on the edge of the sink? Is that a real kitchen or a studio kitchen. Finally, what is in that mixing bowl that seems to fascinate the girl.
Printed photos may be flat but they feel 3-dimensional as though we could peek around the corner. Sometimes it is what we can’t see that is as intriguing as what we can see.