Happy Almost October Smithies! As you probably already know (especially if you were at the last meeting), this month's book club pick is Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. We warned you that it was weird. We warned you that it was creepy. And you didn't believe us until you flipped through the book itself and saw all those strange photos that the author included. Photos like these:
Basically, photos that are super mega creepy and will haunt your dreams for years to come. So where did Ransom Riggs even get these pictures? Where did he come up with this idea?? WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING??? Let's talk it out.
Part of what Ransom Riggs does is called found photography. Found photography, by definition (according to Wikipedia) is "a genre of photography and/or visual art based on the recovery (and possible exhibition) of lost, unclaimed, or discarded photographs." But where do you even get old photographs like this? Well, they are kind of everywhere when you look hard enough. There is an abundance of them in antique stores and thrift shops. And you can usually find them at flea markets, and yard and estate sales as well. Oftentimes you can buy who big packets of them in antique stores for $5 or less. They don't have a lot of value (unless they are old tin-type photographs), but there are people out there who collect this kind of stuff. People like Ransom Riggs. So all of these photos above, and the ones in the book, are real photographs taken way back when. Riggs was actually encouraged by his agent to use his collection of photos for a book, from there he compiled a narrative that forms the backbone of Miss Peregrine's Home of Peculiar Children. So, the entire thing came from a bunch of creepy photos that Riggs had been collecting!
Since Miss Peregrine's Home is stuck in a time loop in 1940, we could safely assume that if they were using cameras in the story, they would have probably been Kodak Brownies. Invented by George Eastman in 1901, the Brownie basically revolutionized the way people took photos. It was easy enough for the common person to use to take family photographs, but well made enough that Ansel Adams used it to create some of his now famous black and white photos of nature at it's finest. The Brownie was actually his first camera, given to him by his father on their first trip to Yosemite.
|Ansel Adams, Monolith, The Face of Half-Dome|
|The oldest known photograph in existence, by Joseph Nicephore Niepce|
Anyway, I should probably wrap this up. I have been rambling about photography for long enough. But! If you want to know more about the book, about the history of photography, or about the creepy history of post-mortem photographs, just check out some of the links below. And I will see you all next Thursday on the 2nd!