Tag Archives: street photographers

A Candid View of Life

Sometime in the late 40’s and early 50’s of the last century, a new occupation developed. It was that of being a Candid Camera Photographer. Throughout the United States and Canada these photographers were found on the city streets and public places. In retrospect, historians call the work of these particular photographers to be “social documentaries”. It pictured life as it happened, without the players being aware that they were being photographed. Turning to the dictionary, the word “candid” is defined as frank, or without disguise. Join “candid camera” and “photography” and we have the new occupation.

1953 Aug 10 Thompson, Will & Marjorie Gibson

When I saw this picture, many warm memories arose. Dad and I were walking along 8th Ave in Calgary, enjoying the sunny weather and doing some shopping. Sheldon and I and our two children were on a visit home to see my parents. Dad was 68, and a retired farmer. I was 31, a wife and mother and homemaker. For me life was good, and unfolding as I wished. For Dad, his health was uncertain, but he handled his problems with quiet courage.

Memories! Again my mind, piece by piece, fills in the jigsaw puzzle to tell the story. Dad died two years later, days before his 70th birthday. Mom lived on 20 years without him, and died at age 85. And me? I now am old. It is 61 years since that picture was taken. How I thank that unknown photographer. With one quick snap of his shutter, he saved for me not just a picture of the Dad I loved and respected, but also a visual reminder of the closeness of our connection, then and now.

Tennyson said it best for me, in one short piece of his wonderful poem “Ulysses”:

“— I am a part of all that I have met,
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.”

Here’s a toast to you, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and indeed to life itself. May I never cease to be mindful of, and thankful for, “… all that I have met.”


Filed under Photographic memory