Everything old is new January 9, 2006Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.
Some web entrepreneurs are trying to capitalize on vintage views of the world as it was several decades ago. Perhaps it is the country becoming more wistful and nostalgic for simpler days, but I have come across several interesting sites and they actually have a big picture application to teachers.
One site hosts photographs belonging to an unknown family. At least the web owners claim it is an unknown family. They specialize in sharing found objects on their site including detailed photographs of a guitar case laden with stickers and full of miscellaneous items. You can purchase clocks, mugs, and more with images of this family. On a similar note, a friend of mine has a relation who is starting a business of making tableware with vintage, public-domain, images. Many of the shots are from old movies that have been enhanced only slightly.
The same site has a collection of Hand Knits for Young Moderns. They captured these images from the covers of a stack of knitting patterns they found. I mentioned in a previous post that old film and found images are taking a place of interest in the Internet world. I theorize that this is because these images shift us out of the present and demand that we use our full observing potential when looking at them.
In the young moderns, for example, we look at a couple and note that her make up is a little more exaggerated than we are used to and that the postures are awkward and ungainly. We also look at the setting, the clothing, the accessories, and make note of any unusual atmospherics we can perceive. We shift out of the year 2005 and are looking at the world of 1965 with different eyes. Perhaps we laugh; perhaps we wonder. After spending a while looking at these items we might end up thinking about how the future will perceive our own time.
It is the idea of intense observation that I have tried to bring into the classroom. In one lesson, a Social Studies teacher was looking for some great writing prompts for a unit she was doing on the Civil War. I found a great site with images from the Civil War organized chronologically by the Library of Congress. I asked the teacher to pull out several images that might have told an interesting story. The students then could use the image to illustrate a story or a diary entry from a young soldier in the war.