Sepia Saturday

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This week’s prompt sent me hunting for photos with three

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The Field Museum, 1899

From the Allison V. Armour Expedition.

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National Library of Ireland, 1929

Smiling Irish flower girls

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Internet Archive, 1920

From the B & O Railroads Employee Magazine. I guess these kids were children of employees. Click here to see more inspired nostalgia.

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Sepia Saturday

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This week’s prompt sent me searching for people, particularly young people, playing stringed instruments. Here’s what I found.

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State Library of Queensland, 1905

The exposure of this photo of a boy playing the violin gives it an ethereal feeling.

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State Library of NSW, circa 1910

Henry Morton Nazareto Orchestra

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National Archives U.K. 1948

In the Cayman Islands

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LOC, 1930

Harpist at the Turkish Embassy

You can see more Sepia Saturday inspired posts if you click here.

Wadjda

As I mentioned when I wrote about the must-see Loving Vincent, this week I asked for the Fall Film Challenge to suggest some “groundbreaking” films and received Wadjda, which depending on whom you talk to is the first or second Saudi movie to be made. In Saudi Arabia there are no movie theaters since films are prohibited (like a lot of other things).

Directed by a woman, Haifaa Al Mansour, who had to direct from a van via walkie talkie because passers by would make trouble for a woman giving orders to a man, Wadjda showed me what life is like for women and girls in the Kingdom.

Wadjda is an 11 year old girl who dreams of riding a bike, although it’s taboo because there’s a fear that a bike accident would affect a female’s virginity. That’s what they believe. Really. Nonetheless Wadjda is determined.

She’s a spunky girl, who though not defiant, just spirited gets in trouble at school a lot. The school is run by a principal who gets after any girl who isn’t covered enough, reads magazines or wears nail polish. Even being in the vicinity of such behaviors can get you scrutinized.

Wadjda’s closest friend is a cute boy, who’s about a head shorter than her. They strike a deal that if she lets him hang election materials for his uncle from her rooftop, she can ride his bike up there out of sight.

Wadjda gave me a look inside a Saudi family. Wadjda is an only child and while loved, something of a disappointment since she’s female. While her mother loves her father, who’s rarely home, she fears that the father will get a second wife to get a male heir.

There were no feminists other than possibly Wadjda in the film. Even the mother who wears jeans at home and works, is constantly scolding Wadjda for small “unload-like” infractions. Women were often looking at each other to judge any impropriety. The minute rules that must be followed to be considered a pure woman are overwhelming.

I was surprised that this oil rich country had such a shoddy middle class neighborhood. There were no sidewalks, new cars, or modern classrooms. Living conditions were on par with Indonesia. (Saudi Arabia’s GDP per capita is $20,890 vs. $3,817 for Indonesia). I wonder why the public roads and schools were awful in the capital city.

I rooted for Wadjda in her quest for a bike and would love to see this girl in other films. The plot took some unexpected turns for me. I’d say this is a groundbreaking film that anyone interested in other cultures should watch.

Here’s a reaction by a Saudi blogger to the film.

The Radium Girls

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The Radium Girls by Kate Moore tells the story of the young women who worked in factories painting iridescent numbers on watch and clock dials. In New Jersey and Illinois after WWI, girls were hired to use paint made with radium to make the dials glow in the dark. The technique they were required to use was to lick the tip of the brush, dip it in the paint and paint the numbers. Then they were to repeat. No step to clean the brush.

At the time radium was believed to be an ultra-healthy substance. No safety precautions were taken.

These girls were proud to earn good wages and had a good lifestyle. Proud of their work, when they would go out dancing, they would take the radium dust rub it on their eyelids and skin, which made them glow.

As you can imagine, the women started to get ill. One woman had awful jaw pain, and when she went to the dentist her jaw fell out, which was the first of many ailments that inflicted her and her colleagues. One after another, the girls began to experience horrific health issues. The radium would attack their bones. Others, as you’d guess, got rare, devastating cancers.

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Statue of a Radium Girl, Ottawa, Illinois

The girls began to take legal action and the two radium companies fought them tooth and nail. The story soon turns to one of courage and tenacity as these women fight for their lives and fight for justice in the courts against two Goliath companies.

In many ways the story is hard to take, but because these women banded together and had great resilience and remained strong in spirit and clung to hope, The Radium Girls was not a depressing story. My only critique is that the author’s scope covering two factories which weren’t that connected, made the book confusing at times. Yet I understand her desire to tell the full story. I think it would have been better if Moore had focused on fewer girls and added an epilogue about the others. I highly recommend reading The Radium Girls.

(Janice, thanks for recommending this compelling, yet sad book.)

Sepia Saturday

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This week we’re prompted to post on farmers, agriculture or harvest. I descend from city folk, none with a green thumb that I know of so I’ll dig through the Library of Congress and Flickr Commons to find some images of Irish farmers since I’ve got a lot of Irish blood.

To see more Sepia Saturday posts, click here.

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Ireland, 1920, National Library of Ireland, Flickr Commons

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Harvesting, Ireland, 1899, National Library of Ireland, Flickr Commons

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National Library of Ireland, Harvest, 1897

Here’s one from the U.K., since I’ve got some British blood and I’ve never seen an oyster farm:

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Report on Oyster Cultivation, U.K., ca 1870, Flickr Commons

Sepia Saturday

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Hmm. What to search for for this prompt. I suppose I’ll go to Flickr Commons and search “girl posed.”

I did and here’s a few photos I found.

For more inspired nostalgia, click here.

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From the National Library of Wales, circa 1885

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Library of Congress, 1939, taken near Union Station, Washington DC

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She could use more fabric ~ Library of Congress, 1910

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Norway, 1890, Library of Congress