Family History in Photographs: Did Frank Do It This Way?

In a new series, John Callaway explores his family history after discovering boxes of old photographs and documents which belonged to his parents. ‘They represent a view to a bygone age,’ said John, ‘and although neither of my parents are alive to add to the story, I think that the photographs posted here are worthy of a larger audience.’ This week, John finds two mysterious images of Frank Sinatra.

A slight detour from the usual subject maybe…I’ve written before about the notion of ‘imagined communities’ and the way in which narratives sometimes get constructed around a set of ideas which are themselves shaped by received wisdom and knowledge.

A while ago, I was looking through boxes of photographs which have been stored in the loft since my mother died in 1998. It’s not that I’ve been reluctant to look at them, rather it’s been a case of what to do with them. It’s not so much the weddings, christenings, new nephews and nieces that make up a large proportion of the photographs; they are largely familiar, and usually annotated quite well. It’s the photographs from a bygone era which bear no name or date, and yet which must have meant something to my parents.

Which leads me to Frank Sinatra…

Frank (I). [Date and photographer unknown].
In amongst the boxes I found these two photographs of Frank. There is nothing to suggest when or where they were taken. (Hayworth may mean something…but not to me). Time to construct a narrative…

Frank (II). [Date and photographer unknown].

This article was originally published on John Callaway’s website, Ideas & images from Portsmouth and beyond. You can read more of John’s writing on his website and also see his live music photography.

Images by John Callaway.

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