Happy Holidays

A closely cropped black and white family portrait of parents and boy child. The adults cross dressed, wearing one another's clothing. The role switch, however, goes beyond the clothing. The mom, holding a cigarette in her right hand, is looking into the camera with a deadpan face while the father, holding their son closely, stares at her adoringly. The three humans are blurry. What is in focus is the Christmas tree in the background, standing on a richly decorated piece of furniture suggesting wealthy owners, is heavily packed with tinsels and traditional Eastern European seasonal candies only in shops for this very holiday.
Unknown photographer, 1922. Fortepan. #19207. (Fortepan / Fortepan)

Happy holidays to all our readers with this amazing photo from hundred years ago, from the fantastic collection of Fortepan.


On the first one

Unknown photographer(?), 1934. Fortepan. #62660.

(Fortepan / Veszprém Megyei Levéltár / Klauszer)

It’s been one year since we started to share our thoughts with you—and how I enjoyed it! My other half in this undertaking and I have been working on this idea for much longer, however. Since the moment we anxiously sat down next to one another on the very first day of our Master’s program, it has been in the making. Life has been testing our commitment but our eagerness prevails. During a well-done existence, after all, there is always time for contemplation. And that of photography makes us feel the most in our elements.

That is in close competition with the production and consumption of baked goods, naturally. Therefore, here is a sweet picture of a birthday girl and her cake, from the riches of Fortepan. The photobombing ladder on the right is, predictably, something I cannot avoid mentioning. It is as if the poor, neglected thing was nudging the scene in the last moment to make sure its being in the frame, instead of a backstage role, reduced to simply holding the backdrop. Dad has been pushed off a little, but he is still present enough in his sleek three-piece suit, looking into the camera as if he had expected such a stunt indeed.

Mom is proud and happy, while the little one dares the camera to take just one another photo. Cake first, then may come the rest. In her hand, she tightly holds something, probably a comb. Her unruly hair and piercing eyes tell us about some tendency for mischief—and wit.

I am fairly certain that all that is about to come is a carnage of chocolatey goodness, which will probably mean that someone needs to spend quite some time cleaning that white lace tablecloth the following day.

The flame of the candle is dancing in the draft, bringing the image to life: it might be its combination with the endearingly messy composition that somehow makes this simple birthday portrait dynamic. It’s imperfectly perfect, as moments we cherish tend to be.

Aren’t we, humans of the past ±183 years, lucky to have such technology at hand? Flawlessly flawed photographs like this make this blog possible—and how I enjoy it!

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Happy birthday to us!

Let’s put up some fancy rainbow-coloured streamers, pour ourselves a glass of non-alcoholic champagne, and indulge ourselves with a huge piece of carrot cake because it’s Mint and Ginger’s first birthday! And if your first birthday isn’t a good reason to go overboard with the celebrations, I don’t know what is…

People tell me the first year is the hardest. Granted, they are usually referring to sustaining a tiny human. But still, it applies to metaphorical babies as well, right? And as with a real infant, the life of this baby of ours started well before its birth on the 13th of November 2021. Mint and Ginger had been musing about “doing something” with their musings for several years before the first posts. Even when we decided we were going to do a blog, life got in the way a few times and the first attempts died an unremarkable death in a folder somewhere on our laptops, some even falling victim to digital degradation.

So it felt like a proper victory when our first posts went live a year ago. And even though we might not always feel as good about our writings as those first ones, being on this adventure together is a great way to share great photographs and thoughts and ideas with each other, and you. It also keeps us writing, for which, more so for me than for my other half, there haven’t been too many occasions after we graduated in 2017.

When Ginger and I discussed starting this blog, we decided that this would be our safe haven for musing, pondering and reminiscing, no academic referencing and style required. Keep in mind that we had just graduated, and had been up to our elbows in scholarly texts for quite a while. For me, this has given me the freedom to really properly look at the photographs we write about, not immediately thinking about what concept or framework I am going to link it to. At university, we were sometimes even required to reference a certain number of different articles, which made us students even more opportunistic in shallowly linking our case studies to the mandatory readings.

Now, before you say anything, I am well aware that not every one of my blogs has been as in-depth as it could or should have been (life got in the way again). But I did thoroughly enjoy being able to scrutinize some of the images, looking at every detail, shadow, and seemingly unimportant artifact. And I enjoyed freely jotting down my first impressions, ideas and random thoughts even more.

As Ginger wrote in the first post on Karimeh Abud, we are sentimental people and we love birthdays.[1] So, we chose Abud’s birthday on the 13th of November to launch our blog last year, and now we offer you these special birthday posts in celebration of our very first birthday.

Happy birthday to us!

[1] A reference, the irony is not lost on me 😉

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