Over a century old photographs a family treasure that almost was lost forever

May 04, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

My personal historical discovery of photography on my father's side of the family tree

J.Lüdemann Atelier DortmundJ.LüdemannOne of my ancestors early 1900. The photographers artwork on the back of this historical photograph was common in these days. This image has been with my family for over a century now, back of plates artwork and graphic design J.Lüdemann Photographisches Atelier

On my latest trip back home to Germany, "my fatherland in the old world", I decided to work a little bit on our family tree. Before I go further though, I have to say that I love where I am from. It is where my roots are, where my family is and my heart belongs. As for my choice of living, I prefer the land of opportunity and free, where the American Dream is alive in the sunny state of Nevada and Las Vegas as my first choice as a home from home. Traveling back and forth, I have plenty of time to think while traveling by plane and my thoughts mainly spin around the same subject.

How precious life is, how every moment counts, how I don't like to waste time, how important it is to make the most of it. And oh so much more, but I don't want to bore you with my thoughts.

I find a lot of fulfillment in my photography, documenting moments in life that will never return. I emphasize on being creative, having fun and producing stunning images. Also it is a huge learning experience and gaining more knowledge with each day, each session and each edit.

Photography has been around for many centuries, even before the camera obscura, there were signs of interest in photography. The development of this art, from it's baby steps on, would be another post on my blog. So, let's move on to my actual subject of this post.

I was in Germany, working on my family tree and foraging through boxes like a maniac, looking for certain images I had seen in the past, when I grew up, there was an album in my grandma's draw. In 2013 my parents had a lot of water damage from massive rain floods and I was almost ready to give up, when I found the oldest photo album in our families possession, half destroyed in a laundry basket drying. I was devastated to see this and almost in tears. I slowly opened the album and inspected the photographs. The vintage images survived!

Remember when we started printing pictures at home on our inkjet or laser printers? Let me tell you this, if those images would have been printed on poor quality paper, they would have been none existing by now.

The photographs I found are over a century old and the quality is amazing!!! Considering what these images have been through.

So I did my best to clean them as gentle and good as I could. And to prevent further possible losses, I decided to scan them in order to have digital copies and I archived the original images in a safer spot.

Edmund Risse, historic photograph from ca 1885Edmund Risse HofphotographMy ancestors, parents of my great great grandfather at the end of the 19th Century in Germany Gruenderzeit; in the years of the rapid industrial expansion ca. 1885. These images have been with my family for over a century now, photography by Edmund Risse. My main focus of this post shall not be ignored though, I would like to take your attention from the actual photographs and look at the back which is actually next to the picture. The amazing artistry and graphic design with all the detailed information about the Studio.

Felix Schaetzke Photographisches Atelier BochumFelix Schaetzke Photographisches AtelierThis image of my great great grandparents (Jugendstil Epoche) art nouveau was photographed ca 1900, it shows the front and the back of the photo plate. These images have been with my family for over a century now, photography by Felix Schaetzke. Back of old German PhotographsBack of old German PhotographsThe photographers artwork on the back of historical photographs. These images have been with my family for over a century now, back of plates by Carl Beste and Edmund Risse. It also states that the original plates will be archived with the studio for reproduction and enlargements. Too bad that some of the studios do not exist anymore.  As I am in the process of re-branding 7o2 Photography to Alexandra Mona Photography, I am very intrigued and challenged by these oldies. It was an amazing experience re-discovering these historic photographs. Researching the photographers and studios, brushing up on family and photography history. These images enriched my life in a way that I can not describe. The impact they had and what I will cherish in the future from this, to me it is a priceless find.

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