The Photica Project:  Pronounced "Foe-Tea-Ka"

My wife and I were returning from an auction in Southern Indiana and we thought we'd break the long drive back home by stopping in an antique store in Scottsburg.  I found a couple of boxes of glass negatives for a reasonable price so I bought them not really knowing how much fun I was about to have.



Typically, you'll find a lot of non-smiling portraits and family groupings in the older glass negatives -- it's difficult for you to maintain a smile for the relatively long exposure times. 


This group of negatives did in fact have several uninteresting family portraits.


As I dug deeper into the collection, I found quite a few surprises.


I held this negative up to the light and all I saw was a man with a hat standing in front of a barn.  When I scanned the negative, I found a lot more.



Solders Are Grown On Farms -- The young man was obviously a soldier.  In fact, probably a new recruit.  A little research confirmed that these pictures were dated about 1916.  Since things were not going well in Europe at that time, it's likely this "Dough-Boy"  would find his way overseas.  (The US declared war against Germany in April of 1917)



-- There's little chance that I'll ever know what happened to this young soldier.  But after seeing this next picture, you can only pray for the best.




"Ready, Set, Go!" -- You look for dating clues in pictures.  Rarely, are they this easy.  The license plate on the car not only dates the picture, but identifies the state.  (Indiana, 1916)



The Harvest -- Southern Indiana farming was often an extended family or community effort.  I count no less than 13 men with a support crew of 6 women in this harvest.  Can you find more?



"When I was your age..." -- You know how your Grandparents tell you how easy life is today?  Consider this as your school bus.  Well, I suppose it's better than having to walk 4 miles to school every day -- up hill ... both ways!



Headless Horses -- The horse and buggy was a common mode of transportation around 1916.  Look at the horses.  The photographer forgot to tell them to hold still.



The Family -- Family portraits and group pictures don't have to be as bland as the picture at the top of this page.  I really like this picture.  Every time I look at it, I get a different connection.  At the moment, I'm guessing two brothers with Dad on the right and Mom in the doorway.  You can come up with your own version and it's just as likely as right.



Sunday Afternoon -- The people in this shot are dressed in their finest.  Look at the hats on the women in the background.



As you can see, there are a lot of clues in these images.  By putting them together and gather a few facts from history, you can begin to feel what life was like 80 to 90 years ago.