Because of the way old photos look, we think of the past in muted sepia tones. We picture the people in awkward poses, smiling stiffly.
Here are color photos that shake up that image of the past. They are rare color pictures taken in 1913 by English inventor Marvyn O’Gorman. He used a simple technology called autochrome that involves glass plates coated in potato starch, which he used to take these amazing pictures of his daughter Christina wearing red in the British countryside. They upend our ideas about the early 20th century, making it hard to pinpoint their exact time period.
The poem is Girl in Red by Ranier Maria Rilke
“Sometimes she walks through the village in her
all absorbed in restraining herself,
and yet, despite herself, she seems to move
according to the rhythm of her life to come.
She runs a bit, hesitates, stops,
and, all while dreaming, shakes her head
for or against.
Then she dances a few steps
that she invents and forgets,
no doubt finding out that life
moves on too fast.
It’s not so much that she steps out
of the small body enclosing her,
but that all she carries in herself
frolics and ferments.
It’s this dress that she’ll remember
later in a sweet surrender;
when her whole life is full of risks,
the little red dress will always seem right”
I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.