Sunday, August 12, 2012

Discovering a Photographer from the Past

For as long as I can remember, I've had an unquenchable desire to learn new things. In the last few years, the Internet has been a great source of information for my discoveries.

My mother gave me the wedding photo of my maternal grandmother's brother and sister-in-law. In a post I wrote, For the Love of Grandparents, I mentioned the close family relationship. The woman, in the photo, is also my maternal grandfather's sister.

Besides the obvious, when examining the old photo, there is a very interesting embossed name at the bottom.

My curiosity sent me to a google search of his name. Much to my surprise, there is a book written about him and his photography, titled "Equal before the Lens".

As a blogger or follower, you know how important the photography is to telling a story. The title alone, of this book, intrigued me.

That is how I discovered an entire life I had never heard of before. John Paul Trlica was a first-generation Czech-Texan. The book tells of how Eastman Kodak Company was instrumental in the training of a young photographer like Trlica.

This photo is for you, my dear friend, Elaine @ Pear Tree Log. I know you and your family are preparing a celebration for the christening of your sweet granddaughter. Hopefully, Francesca will not be wearing a similar bonnet.

What was so extraordinaire about him and his photography, was his openness to photograph not only the privilege, but also to the working class. Here is a photo of two girlfriends.

You must remember, this was in the early 1900's where, ordinarily, the studios only welcomed the upper class.

If you are interested in photography, you might want to consider ordering this outstanding book written by Barbara McCandless. Amazon has used copies for about $12.00.

One never knows where a little detective work and searching will lead them. History is all around us, just waiting to be discovered.

My natural curiosity brought a life from the Blacklands of Texas to this post today....

Meggie Mac


  1. Lovely post Meggie, you know I am really keen on family history. I just love all the photos too especially the one of the baby, check out that bonnet!!

    1. Hi Anne....There were so many photos in the book. I just couldn't resist the one of the baby on christening day.

  2. Oh wow, I have such a passion for old photographs. Years ago I bought a bunch off eBay. It's sad to me that the people in the photos are probably long gone and that the photos that they probably cherished are now just anonymously sold online instead of passed down to family.

    I think appreciating the photos of strangers earned me some good karma though. Recently I connected with a distant cousin on (his grandfather was the little brother of my great grand-mother, who died before I was born) and he emailed me a bunch of old photos of my great-grandmother's family, including a rare photo of HER grandparents that had to have been taken before 1914 (when one of them died). It's so surreal to see your ancestors!

    1. Great story, Jennifer. I love old photos too. I had looked at this one many other times and overlooked the name embossed. I'm so glad I looked him up. He really was before his time the way he opened his studio up to all walks of life.

  3. I just love your blog (and old family photographs as well).
    I'm thinking there are probably a lot of people who would be more likely to discover your blog if you would post on "Find a Friend Friday" at
    I don't remember how I discovered your blog, but I'm so glad I did!

    1. Thank you Dora for your kind words. I may give "Find a Friend Friday" a try.

  4. I love old photos and have a "gallery" of mine displayed in my downstair's powder room! I painted the walls gunmetal grey because I learned from a photographer that grey really enhances photos. It makes for a lovely conversation piece!
    I know how important and cherished your photographs are. XOXO

  5. Oh, Meggie, I am laughing, can you imagine what Francesca would have done with that bonnet? It is quite a statement!

    All the photographs you show are great, although the one of your family is particularly interesting. Three cheers for your healthy curiosity and the internet for being such a useful tool in helping with research.


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