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The relationship between the observer and the one being observed is perhaps beyond reasonable comment. Especially, when we are not part of the process, i.e. reality, the exact moment the photograph was taken. Maybe this is also a part reason  for what gives us so much pleasure, when we look at photos taken by others with people other than ourselves in them.

It gives us time to “study” a scene, a fleeting moment, to linger over the smallest detail. In reality, when the picture was taken this detail could have escaped us. We can, at will, take a small thing and make it into a bigger one, “see “, i.e. imagine things we think are important. We attribute something of ourselves to what is already there. Here is where the magic of photography starts. You can become an “observer” of one type of reality, yet be part of a different one, all the while, remaining within your own self without changing anything that is obviously in front of you. You can fill in the blanks or not. We can create an imaginary life out of somebody else’s experience. The ultimate vicarious living tool. Let me show you what I mean here.

The young man in the photograph above, obviously, holds a ribbon bound diploma in his hand, and is dressed in a double breasted blazer. He could be a graduate of a college or a private boarding school who is finally sitting at home holding his most prized possession in his hand. This moment was carefully preserved for posterity. The chosen place was the garden, not shown in its entirety, so as not to take away the importance of the event. The chair was taken from the house or gazebo as it is made out of wood, and certainly was not meant to be outdoors for long.

Look at his wonderful lace up pair of boots of black calf, a rather expensive accoutrement but fitting for a young man of his social stature.

boots2Not dissimilar to the lace up boots in our reality shown above. Would this young man go to a private university? An Ivy League school perhaps?  Shown below is what he could be wearing next.

sadddle shoeA shoe called the “saddle shoe“. This shoe was a vestige of the 1920’s and 1930’s, and was worn by students all over the country. In its finest form, as shown here, in different kinds of leather, perhaps made as a custom shoe by one of those great American Shoe Manufacturing companies like Nettleton, Hanover, Florsheim, Bostonian, or any one of the smaller firms from Massachusetts, like FootJoy or from the state of Wisconsin.

I let my mind wonder, and thought about the seventies when the rage among college bound young men was the desert boot, named after footwear developed in England during the Second World War, an icon like the one here with the crepe sole.

walkover chukka desertbootsHow did we get to talking about shoes here? Observation right! Now, I am trying to observe and comment on another reality with the photograph below.

Have a look at this band of brothers. Can you see their father’s face, or their grandfathers? Look at their stocky stature and their dour expression on their faces which might be due to being squeezed into their “Sunday” suits. Supposition yes, yet they all express their social individuality around their suits, i.e. the extension or the cover over their skin. Notice the different shirt collar of one the brothers (bottom left), the tie-pin on the tie (top right), the pin on the jacket of number two on the top right, and the pocket watch chain displayed by the young man on the bottom right. Did you notice the choice of dark and light colored ties? Now, back to the feet! The same style shoes for all? Yes, standard fair for all business attire. Who would be the lawyer? Is there a carpenter here? Who is the bureaucrat? The same questions one might ask meeting a person in an elevator.

These were the days of the best attire, reserved for the most important occasion. A presentation held dear for a future moment, for an another time in another reality. What are you creating today?

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