March 6, 2016
On the left is most likely the mother of Isabelle Jinks - on the right is Isabelle (my great grandmother).
(Click on the picture
to see the change in photography in her life time)
I was a recipient to a rather thick book entitled 'An American Century of Photography (from dry-plate to digital)' courtesy of the Nelson Atkins Museum. Well, everyone that attended the photography club meeting last month received a copy. My first reaction was wow! My next thought was this will make a great press when I mount my pictures to poster board (hey, we were all thinking it). But now I find that I have really enjoyed reading it (only 2 more inches to go).
What intrigued me was associating the time line of photography with the lifetime of my great grandparents. While I can't say for certain, and based solely on the pictures in my possession, I have a general belief that Isabelle (Izzy, as my great grandfather most likely called her) had an interest in photography. How I wish that I would have heard or learned more about this from her (I was only 4 when she passed).
Born and raised in the town of Effingham, Illinois, home to the Illinois College of Photography, she had access to some of the best photography resources of the time. It is amazing to think that only 50 years prior to her birth was it even possible to capture an image, an idea occasioned by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and memorialized in the worlds first known permanent photograph in the Burgundy region of France. The whole of this was brought around the world to my great grandmothers home town. Pictured left is an early tintype of Izzy and most likely her mother. I came upon it when it was passed from my mother's belongings to me. For more on my great grandmother click here.
The worlds first photograph (1826-27) is held at the University of Texas at Austin in the Harry Ranson museum. The earliest photograph on my mothers side (~1891) is held in a shoe box of other photo's in my museum (the basement).
What is unique about the first photograph and Izzy's photo is that both were passed down from generation to generation until someone recognized their importance. One for the world and the other for me.
She no doubt never imagined that her great grandson would post her picture on something called the world wide web. She would have my hide.