Monday, 3 February 2014

Seeking Nostalgia on Cat Street


Lately it seems I've been seeking nostalgia.  

I've started a collection of scratchy, old French 78 RPM shellac records that I love listening to on my equally old and scratchy French gramophone.  The idea of digging through boxes of old photographs and postcards or finding a shelf of vintage cookbooks makes me giddy.  Perhaps it will pass, probably when I run out of space.

Wherever I travel, I research the local flea markets and garage sales, any nook and cranny where I may find treasures.  God love Hubby for indulging me.

I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is about an old photograph that pulls me in and makes me want to own it.  I think it starts with the sense that a moment in time is being captured.  Following that, I feel a wistfulness that perhaps the person in the photo passed away and that's how it wound up in a box of old photos:  given away by accident or worse, by heirs who saw no value in keeping it. 

I pull myself out of this swirl by imagining that it was once a treasured possession for someone in the past.  It's a little bit of an emotional storm.

In Hong Kong recently, I poked around Cat Street, always a gold mine of quirky vintage goodies even though some of them are overpriced for the tourist trade.  I found some intriguing black and white photos and some 2 1/4" transparencies that have lost all their once vibrant colours over time and faded to a cheery pink.  After a bit of negotiating, (natch) they were mine.  

Who are the people in these images?  Are they still alive?  What were their lives like and how did these photographs manage to end up in a dusty old box of photos on Cat Street?  

I wish I knew...



Heather Robinson said...

Beautiful to see and so beautifully written. I too love to try and create the stories behind the specific moments in old photos. In the future, there will only be digital dust left behind!

Gustia said...

Thank you. You're right, printed photographs are becoming extinct. Maybe this is another reason why I buy them. It's an urge to rescue them.

Heather Robinson said...

Just like the vinyls. And oh how glad I am that you are!

Jeanne Henriques said...

I am right with you Jennifer, I collect them as well. If ever a picture could tell a story..these would be them. Cat Street is a fab place, I recall a long meandering walk trying to get there and once I did I realised it was well worth the visit. Here's to us Jennifer…may we collect many more and perhaps strike on a remarkable story as we do. Warm wishes from Saigon… xx

Gustia said...

Hello Jeanne, so glad to meet someone who can be mesmerized digging through a box of old photos. So many stories, so much romance, so much heartache! Now that the world has gone digital we'd better get a move on.