Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sepia Saturday: street photography

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt photograph is of an itinerant photographer.

ITINERANT PHOTOGRAPHER IN COLUMBUS OHIO (1938) : LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (via FLICKR)

Among my mother in law's photographs is one of her and her sister Violet Buckley in about 1943, probably taken by a street photographer.

Marjorie and Violet about 1943

Stella Violet Sullivan (1914-2005), known as Violet, was the oldest daughter ofArthur Sullivan (1891-1975) and his wife Stella Esther Gilbert Sullivan née Dawson (1894-1975).

Violet had five siblings:

  • Lillian Mavis Sullivan (1915-2009)
  • Arthur Stanley Sullivan (1919-2014)
  • Marjorie Winifred Young née Sullivan (1920-2007)
  • Royle Lawrence Sullivan (1926-2009)
  • Gwendolyn Phyllis Sullivan (1933-1935).
Violet married John Arthur Buckley (1908-1958) in 1938. In 1960 she married again, to Stanley Norman James Spicer (1909-1990).


In 1942 Violet was living at her parents' house at 9 Bowden Street, Castlemaine. Her occupation on the electoral roll was home duties.  Violet's husband had enlisted in the Australian Army on 27 February 1942. He was discharged in March 1946.

About 1941 Marjorie left home in Castlemaine to live in Melbourne, where she found a job as a weaver. In 1943 she was living at 59 Osborne Street, Williamstown. Marjorie married in 1944.

This photograph of the sisters is from those years when street photographers operated. It was sometimes controversial and banned in some places, for example Newcastle, New South Wales in 1942.
PHOTOS IN STREETS BANNED (1942, December 8). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167573927

Sepia Saturday blogger Scotsue described her experiences of street photographers in the 1950s.
This  week's Sepia Saturday photo prompt awoke my  memories of  seaside holidays and the photographers who plied  their trade along the promenades,  taking snapshots of people strolling by - hence the term  "walkies"  - as opposed to the current trend for   "selfies"!  
You paid money and either collected  the photographs later at  a kiosk, or could arrange for them to be posted home to you - just hoping they would arrive and this wasn't  what we now call a "scam".  We often did our best to dodge the photographersand not get caught by their hard sell.  
I was interested to read how the system worked and amused by the idea of dodging the street photographers. It reminds me of the photographers on cruise ships and in shopping malls taking pictures of children with Santa Claus.