Time Traveler 1917 (Common Sense)

“Farmers are hit by war gardeners”, and disgusted by low prices, they plow in their crops.

“War not creating so many jobs for women as public supposes”.

Pages from the Boston Traveler, July 26, 1917, stuffed in the walls of an 1871 home for warmth.

World War I era poster by James Montgomery Flagg
1918, lithograph color. 56 x 36 cm
Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is/was here.

The romance of  “sowing seeds of victory” in World War I gardens lingers in popular culture, unshadowed by the seeds of dissension germinating at the time among farmers losing their livelihoods.

And check out the Woman’s Page: What did the “public suppose” the war might provide in the realm of job creation for women? Did you believe, as I had, that the job-creation aspect of war was an accidental, necessary by-product, rather than a perceived benefit?

And (looking more closely still) why wouldn’t war interfere with our hunger for “style tips for summer and fall”? Could it be that style truly does triumph over substance? That we remember delicious visuals longer and more vividly than we remember facts and pain?


Part of my job is photographing finds like these,  capturing the inner life of the house I’m documenting. I grab most such photographs (like this one) in the heat of a demolition battle with whatever photographic tool is close to hand — often an iPhone or iPad.

Not intended to be artworks, nonetheless they provoke conversation and add meaning: the best of those conversations are, to me, ephemeral artworks of great beauty and substance, executed in four dimensions, timeless.

What types of artifacts do you document in your photography? 

Are they objects in your home? Museum finds? Curiosities in your travels? Work-related facts?

What provokes you to photograph them?

What are the best conversations provoked by one of your photographs?  Do you make the photographs to provoke the conversation? for record-keeping? for mementos?

By thinking of your photograph as the instigator for communication, would you approach your photograph differently?

Please share your experiences, and links to your photos in the comments!

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