Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scary Santa and other images from the past

Scary Santa

Inspiration comes in spurts, some quite minuscule, often set aside and forgotten before there is time to act on them. For years, I have enjoyed going to antique stores, only to lose myself in some sort of trance and disappear for hours. I often find the stacks of old photos, especially the formal studio portraits to be particularly fascinating. Today, I felt the need to get away, so I headed to my latest favorite nearby antique mall. While wandering, I found an old photo of a child sitting on Santa Claus's lap. The photo seemed to have been placed on a table haphazardly as if accidentally left behind by someone browsing the mall. The face of Santa Claus struck me as almost horrific. I remembered how my younger son was terrified by Santa Claus when he was quite young, often being reduced to tears when asked to sit on Santa's lap. I wonder if this is how Santa Claus looked to him?

These old photos seem haunting to me for several reasons. I wonder how they became separated from their families and what were these people like. History and what life was like in the past are subjects that I often ponder. I want to start collecting some of these photos but then, what would I do with them? Today, many tempted me besides horrific Santa. This little boy in his very adult style coat struck a cord. He seems to be swimming in this coat. The photo is labeled with the studio name, Hildreth, Longmont Colorado. Will I find inspiration in these photos?

little boy with hands in coat