There are four on the album page. Two appear to be professionally-taken shots, outdoors: one of our grandmother, holding a bouquet of flowers and dressed semi-formally, the other with her arm linked in Matthew’s, with Matthew dressed in tails, holding a top hat. Both are printed with a pronounced vignetting effect, very popular in early photography, and both have residential-looking rooftops in the background.
In the case of the two with Matthew, I can confirm that this is our grandfather (or great grandfather). We have his 1919 passport in which he looks very much the same as he does here, with the same severely centre-parted and plastered-down hair and sticky-out ears. (He’s kind of goofy-looking, isn’t he?) The clincher is the writing on the back of one of the vignetted shots and the snapshot, dating the pictures to July 26, 1916, the date, as we saw in the last post, of their wedding.
The vignetted pictures are presumably some of the official wedding photos, although the one with both of them in it is out of focus, so if it was taken by a professional, he wasn’t very good. The snapshot, also out of focus, was perhaps taken by a friend, probably as they were about to drive off on their honeymoon.
The pictures are small, not very well taken to begin with, faded, discoloured and damaged. The contact sheet in particular includes eight exposures, each barely the size of a small postage stamp. The others are about 3x5 inches. The scale problem can be partly solved by scanning at more than 100%. The bigger you scan, though, the more pronounced the shortcomings of and damage to the original. I scanned them at between 150% and 300%.
|Enlarged and restored shot from contact sheet|
A note on the last post: both Sally and Rob in Australia have confirmed that the house I showed (in a Google Street View screen shot) is not the house Matthew and Vera lived in. The problem, Rob says, is that there are two 42 Kooyong Roads, in different – but, if I understand rightly, not too widely separated – Melbourne suburbs. The property they really did live in is obscured in Google Street View by a high hedge.