Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
They were photos of strangers, of weddings and funerals, family vacations, backyard forts, and first days of school, all torn from once-treasured albums and dumped into plastic bins for strangers to paw through: communal graves of a sort, the anonymous dead shuffled into ersatz families of the unwanted.
Miss Peregrine author Ransom Riggs shares a scrapbook of vintage photography with captions that make the reader laugh, smile, cry, and reminisce about “the good old days.”
Random personal factoid: I enjoy genealogical research. As such, I’ve run across my share of old family albums, with cursive captions scribbled on the back of Polaroids and those random shots thrown in there where you wonder who it is in the frame and why the picture was taken. The author of this book makes a hobby of finding old photographs that tell a story, either on their own, or with accompanying captions, and this is a collection of some of those. I LOVED looking at the old photographs, reading the captions, and getting a glimpse into these people’s lives and the way things were. Riggs included some pretty hilarious images (an elderly couple with a “Just Married” sign taped to the man’s back, for instance), as well as ones that touched the heart, including a whole section of wartime photographs, and a series about a little girl named Janet Lee.
My problems with this book? First, it was too short. I want more pictures! In fact, I may have to start (yet another) hobby of my own and go on a vintage photography hunt myself. In the meantime, you bet I’ll be writing captions on the back of photographs that I print out from now on. Also, in the digital version, it’s a bit difficult to read some of the captions due to the decreased page size; I would have liked transcriptions for each of them, instead of just a few.
Overall: Awesome book that looks into the past and shows the power of photography to tell a story and incite emotions.