Recently, I’ve begun collecting old photographs. Trips to antique stores or fairs turn into hours of ruffling through bins and boxes of black and white photos. I like to imagine that I am collecting their stories along with their images.
Sometimes they have captions scrawled on the back in a cursive’d hand.
Sometimes they are in mats, long removed from their frames.
But each and every time I pick through these forgotten fragments of so many different lives, I can’t help but be sad. Our lives are so fleeting that it takes no time at all for our mementos and memories to become obsolete and meaningless. Who were these people? I want to know about their relationships, triumphs, struggles and pain.
This picture I recently acquired and is my favorite so far. There is a message written on the back which reads:
Brother August in World – War 1914-1918
One can assume this was written before a “one” was required on that title. But I can’t help but wonder which one was Brother August? Which side were they fighting for? Where was this taken? Did they ever make it back home alive? This are all questions I want to ask this picture but I know I will just have to settle for their silent, stoic stares in reply.