While I was undertaking February’s onerous task of organising the large and jumbled collection of Scottish family photographs, I came across a number of so-called ‘walking pictures’. So delighted was I with these spontaneous-looking images – like unexpected peeks into unguarded moments in my relatives’ lives – that I almost thought about giving them a separate category. In the end, I reluctantly filed them in their individual family folders, but not before deciding they should at least have their own chapter in my Scottish family story.
Most of us with collections of personal photographs from the last century will recognise the walking picture and may even been ‘victim’ of one. These opportunistic snaps were mainly taken in the 1920s through to the 1950s, before camera ownership was widespread. The business idea was simple: commercial photographers set themselves up on busy main streets or seaside resorts, catching pedestrians as they walked and talked and gazed around them. The walkers were often unaware of the camera pointing in their direction – at least until the moment when their wry smiles or looks of quizzical surprise were captured on film.
Read more of this post at my new family history blog: A Scottish Family Album. Better still, become a subscriber to the new blog and always get each new chapter delivered to your inbox on the first of the month!
The Incidental Genealogist, April 2022