30. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, NonFiction

Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued From the Past by Ransom Riggs, 384 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/24/2013

I am admittedly a huge fan of vintage ephemera (a quick glance at my Pinterest profile will confirm this), so it’s no surprise to me that I wound up loving this collection of “found” photographs. Ransom Riggs (of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” fame) is a collector of vintage photos, many of them dug up from antique stores and flea markets. Their original owners are unknown, as are their settings, subjects and contexts. The only clues to these photos are the inscriptions written on them by either the photographers or the subjects themselves. It is this juxtaposition of the visual and the brief hints of clues that make this an absorbing read. The book is broken up into multiple thematic chapters, such as “Clowning Around” and “Life During Wartime”. Most heartbreaking, however, is the chapter simply titled “Janet Lee”. An introduction and afterward by the author bookend this brilliant collection and bring it all together. Riggs exhorts us to save as many printed pictures as we can. In this digital age, these gems are becoming an increasing rarity. The images may fade over time, but they are never completely gone. Difficult to say the same for that file you accidentally deleted, right?

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