Last week, in Portland, my husband and I visited the Portland Art Museum. It’s a nice little museum, and a lovely way to escape the heat of July for the afternoon. We had wandered through most of the museum, when we stumbled upon an exhibition of photographs of gardens, and the people who enjoyed them. It sounds like a weird show to curate, but it was actually pretty neat. There were modern photographs as well as pictures from the beginnings of photography, when ‘snapshots’ were less popular. It was interesting to see how, though the clothing has changed from the 1800’s, people still enjoy their gardens in pretty much the same way.
My favorite photograph was a tiny (about 4inches by 6) print that had been taken in France in the late 1870’s by someone called “Auguste Giraudon’s Artist.” I looked online for more information about him, but came up blank. I can only assume that Auguste Giraudon must have been a member of the aristocracy, and his unnamed artist must have been paid to take photographs of his holdings and the people that lived there. Of course, I’m just making that up, so it could be totally wrong.
Anyway, look at this beautiful little picture of a young shepherdess and her two charges. It’s almost 150 years old, and it’s still a lovely little photograph. And, look closely at the girl’s hands. See that? She’s knitting! I know it’s historical whitewashing, but tending over your flock while knitting socks for your family sounds like a lovely way to spend your time.