Toronto. You really do have a time machine – its your camera or smartphone! Really! Think about it. For example, if someone didn’t have a camera, Carol would never have known what her great grandmother (her father’s grandmother) looked like, or that she was an aspiring thespian. Less than a decade after 1900, Martha Julie Austin, as she was named when born about 1849, was photographed in costume as a character in what looks to be a Shakespearean play. Carol’s great grandmother Julia lived to an age of 80, dying in the fall of 1929 at Bury St Edmonds in England.
A few years after 1839, when the negative – positive process was announced, it became possible for the average soul to purchase a print of a famous person, event, or just a workaday scene. For the first time in history, almost anyone could have a likeness done at a reasonable cost. Before 1839 you had to have some wealth to afford the cost of a unique painting, even a miniature. And the larger the painting, the greater the cost.
Once photography thrived, and technology and invention enabled a decent half-tone process, illustrated books, journals, newspapers, etc. became commonplace (there was a broad overlap with woodcuts of illustrations as well to capture distant events, people, celebrities, etc.).
For future generations, be sure you take your camera/smartphone with you and record everyday scenes at work and at play, people important to you, special events, ceremonies, etc. Some day when you have departed this existence, others will discover your efforts and be thrilled to see what it was like in years gone by. You can help by making an eye-friendly print of selected images rather than relying on future generations being capable of reading today’s media and file formats.