Friday, April 19, 2013

Mystery photo tells a story: but what story?

This photograph, loaned to me by several friends down the street, has been generally classified among Starr Bryden photographs, but I have some doubts whether Bryden took the photograph.  From what I understand, this photo was printed from a glass plate,  which suggests it was taken before Bryden arrived in the Texas Hill Country.
It shows a group on a picnic.  It's just some of the details which make the photograph interesting, as I suggest in the series below.  If you have any theories about the images, please let me know in the comments section below.
Click on any image to enlarge
The "Story Photo," probably on the Guadalupe River
near Kerrville, probably around
the turn of the last century.
Here are some of the details I see in the photograph:

Starting at the top of the group of people:
1. Woman is holding a man's hat
2. Woman is holding an apple
3. Man is focused on the apple

Moving to 9 o'clock on the group:
1. Man stares at apple, while
2. Offering a tasty treat to another woman

Moving to 6 o'clock in the group:
1. Man offers woman tasty treat while
2. Another woman notices the tasty treat,
3. In her hand is something -- a knife?
4. There's a woman's hat.  Is it the hat of the girl at 12 o'clock,
or the girl at 5 o'clock?  Meanwhile
5. There are a fishing pole and a shotgun leaning against the tree.

This woman, at 3 o'clock, appears to be the only
person in the photo not involved in the action.
But I wonder -- what is that thing to the left of the #1 above? 
If you have some theories about this photograph, I'd certainly enjoy reading them in the comments section below.  My own theory is the group posed this way on purpose, possibly to re-enact a story from literature or a play, but I haven't figured out what that story was.
You can subscribe for FREE to Kerr History updates by clicking HERE.


  1. Interesting...It seems like it might be significant that the woman with the fishing pole is wearing black, and maybe that is another apple on the end of her line. So possibly she is the source of all temptation, and she is creating a chain of obsession and distraction that starts with the 1st woman who took the apple from the line, like the story of original sin. In the words of Jimmy Buffet, "Some people claim there's a woman to blame";) That's Cool Pic.

  2. My word, Joe, your eyesight is wonderful. I missed most of the items you mentioned until you identified them. Great job!!!

    In reference to your question, could the round object be a large floating ball, attached to the fishing line, and being utilized in place of a cork?

    Also, could the other object be some type of lure?

  3. I love these mystery photos that you post.

  4. I know very little about photography, but I was wondering if the excellent photographic quality of this photo could have come from a glass plate.

    I have a few old glass plate photos, and the quality of the photos is very poor.

  5. Looks like some monkey business going on. Some tempting and some coveting.
    The water is interesting: Notice how calm and serene it is on the right, but at a higher level and not as calm on the left, like maybe there is a low dam or some rapids behind the group of people.

  6. The woman in black on the right is the mother of the 3 daughters. Daughter No. 1 is enticing the potential suitor with an apple, ala Eve in the Garden of Eden, while the said suitor is simultaneously interested in the younger sister by offering her something sweet. And while the potential suitor is involved with the two oldest daughters, the youngest of the three is taking it all in with her curious eyes. In the meantime, the mother is contented with her efforts.

    It looks like they are all gathered in the washed out stump of a cypress tree, an awkward spot for a "picnic".

    And yes, the water in the background looks strange. At the left of the image, there is something crossing the water. The water looks turbulent in that section, yet smooth as glass in the right section of the photo. The turbulence of enticements of the young on the left versus the serenity and confidence of the older (the mother) on the right.


Please remember this is a rated "family" blog. Anything worse than a "PG" rated comment will not be posted. Grandmas and their grandkids read this, so please, be considerate.



Related Posts with Thumbnails