THE WISTERIA TRELLIS --- Passing the Day in Old Japan

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This rustic, yet lovely roadside scene was taken over 130 years ago, and certainly has a lot going for it. It's hard to beat old country scenes like this.

Movement of the babies, and the swinging tips of the wisteria blooms indicate the slow shutter speed. Actually, there probably wasn't any camera shutter for the "wet plate" image --- the photographer would have just uncovered the lens, "felt" the exposure, then replaced the lens cap. Probably only a second or so (two at the most?) His dark tent would be close by.

Back then, folks probably waited so long for the photographer to get "set up", by the time he took the cap off the lens, they had returned to a more "natural state" as seen here.

Good to see the young and old together just sitting around on buckets, taking their ease in old Japan. Simple scenes and character studies like this are few and far between from the early days of the Meiji era.

Like Wisteria ??? Here's some MORE pretty pix for you from old old Japan. Enjoy !


Taking the picture :

".......[The collodian wet plate process] was the first widely used photographic process which resulted in a negative image on a transparent photographic medium [a piece of glass]..... With the collodion process..... the photographer could make an unlimited number of prints from a single negative; this was typically done on albumen paper.

In addition to the convenience of creating negatives, the collodion process had numerous other advantages. It was an inexpensive process, especially in comparison with the daguerreotype..... It was also fast for the time, requiring only seconds for exposure.

[However....] The wet collodion process had a major disadvantage; the entire process, from coating to developing, had to be done before the plate dried. This gave the photographer about 10 minutes, sometimes less, to complete everything. The plate would be dripping silver nitrate solution, causing stains and troublesome build-ups in the camera and plate holders. This made it an inconvenient process for field use, as it required a portable darkroom.

The silver nitrate bath was also a source of significant trouble. Through repeated use, it would become saturated with alcohol, ether, iodide and bromide salts, dust and various organic matter. It would lose effectiveness, and would often result in mysterious failures of plates to produce an image.

Despite its disadvantage, wet plate collodion became enormously popular. It was used for portraiture, landscape work, architectural photography and art photography.

It is, in fact, still used by a number of artists and experimenters, owing to its unique and sometimes unpredictable qualities........"

madmonk, ggaabboo, DRUNK ON SHADOWS, and 13 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 98 months ago | reply

    Margaret ! Yes, it really is.

  2. FabLAB Atelier 98 months ago | reply

    wonderfull scene, dear

  3. Du Rêve!! 98 months ago | reply

    Besides the beautiful Wisteria blooms, what gets my attention is the age of those girls. Man, are they young! I can't believe they already have a baby each. It must've been a tough life for girls back then. If they weren't sold to some brothel they were married to some older guy they didn't even know and got pregnant real fast... What a life.

  4. 驢馬跡 98 months ago | reply

    Okinawa Soba might point this out too.
    I'd say they aren't mothers they are older siblings or servants (komori) looking after the babies. Still a hard life mind you. It was also happening within living memory. I really recommend "Autobiography of a Geisha" by Sayo Masuda for her description of being an indentured servant in the 1930s looking after a young child when she herself was under 12.

  5. 98 months ago | reply

    Foreign visitors were always intrigued by how Japanese kids took care of their siblings. As a result there are countless photos of kids playing with babies on their backs. It may seem tough to us, but this is all they knew. When I covered the aftermath of the Pakistan earthquake of 2005, I took photos of young girls about 8 years old who walked for days in the Himalayas carrying a young baby to get out of the disaster area. Amazingly, they looked quite energetic. They were incredibly strong. When I expressed pity, my interpreter (who himself lives in a small village in the Himalaya) said that they were used to it because they do this everyday. He was also unbelievably strong and climbed the mountains so well that I had much trouble keeping up.

  6. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 98 months ago | reply

    I'm back. Agree with the two comments above. The babies in the picture would not be the "children of the children" in the view. I've read old books about INDIA that seem to say that would more likely be the situation there, but even then, the "Child Mothers" of India would have been 10-12 (if they lived through it), and not as young as the ages these girls seem to be. For what it's worth, the youngest "Child Mother" I was ever personally acquainted with was a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl in the USA....pregnant at 10, had her baby at 11. So, DuReve's suspicions are not far off the mark from the occasional reality.

  7. Pash Mani 98 months ago | reply

    poetry and simple things, simple talks and hard it was for our grandparents. Great

  8. Du Rêve!! 98 months ago | reply

    I see, thank you , , and . Every day we learn something new deserves to be called a good day, and this certainly has been a good day for me.

  9. abej2004 98 months ago | reply

    In the 3rd world it's very common for children to raise their siblings, it's only recently that modern society has moved past that.

  10. pcgn7 82 months ago | reply

    your wisteria shots are astounding treasures

  11. Okinawa Soba (Rob) 82 months ago | reply

    I think I've tagged about 18 views as "Wisteria" subjects. I probably have more and just missed tagging them. I know I have lots more in my boxes. I suppose I should make a flickr "Set" of them. I'm probably like you --- never enough Wisteria !

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