I’ve noticed that every now and again something happens, sometimes good and sometimes bad, that takes you on an unexpected photographic journey. It is happening to me more and more frequently recently and taking me on some totally unexpected routes.
Photographic Journey #1
The first occurred at the beginning of the year and the reaction to the webinar for The Photography Academy and the requests for more garden/plant information. This was followed closely by a talk at Wantage Camera Club and more garden/plant related questions. A few days later I had a phone call from one of the CC members asking if I would be interested in giving a similar a talk early next year at his local Horticultural Society. Being invited to talk at a Camera Club is one thing but a Horticultural Society is a different kettle of fish but an interesting one that I’m really looking forward to.
Photographic Journey #2
The responses to both events lead to a change in direction of the new website I was working on, which as you can see now incorporates sections “In The Studio” and “In The Garden” and not just the Fine Art Gallery as originally intended. Around the same time I read a blog post by an American garden photographer discussing how she sells her images on the on-line retail store – ETSY. I realised this could be an add-on to my website gallery and potentially increase both my audience and image sales. Add another thing on the list of things to do!!
And the most recent one?
On a recent visit to Mum’s to collect some old bone-china tea-cups we found a small prayer type book in one of my late grandmothers boxes. “Daily Grace for Daily Duty” is a small booklet, about 5″ x 4″, made from a stiff card and contains 31 bible verses and some thoughts on the verse but it was the very detailed illustrations that got my attention – so that came back with me too.
First I wanted to find out more about the booklet. It was obviously very old and well used but there were no details about a publisher or an author, only “selected and arranged by Gerard B.F Hallock”. In the age of technology, Google is my friend and Family Ancestor, I thought I might find out about Mr. Hallock instead – how wrong was I!!
There were several Hallock’s living in New England, USA. Most of them were religious ministers so that would fit with the type of booklet I have. The details found would suggest that sons followed in their fathers footsteps into the church.
So what of our man? Well Google has provided a link to the grave of a Rev Gerard B F Hallock (1856 – 1953) located in New Jersey. So it would appear that this may be the person but this is the only direct link I have found so cannot confirm either way – very frustrating.
But I did find a similar booklet arranged by Gerard B F Hallock listed on an antique book-store dated around 1890. There are also a large number of other books listed by a person of the same name so I think I can safely say they are the same person. I’m just a little surprised that for someone that has published 140 religious books/booklets there is no other information about him or his family. And with no publisher listed it would suggest that the books were printed by the family or within the church family as printing at the turn of the 20th Century would not have been cheap.
Which leaves us with the questions:
Who was Gerard B.F Hallock?
How did the booklet get to the UK?
And how did it come into the possession of my grandma?
I then turned my attention to the gorgeous illustrations and decided to photograph them to see them in greater detail on the screen.
They are amazing!!
Half of the illustrations are like sepia browns and black and the other half are in colour. The attention to detail is exquisite. Each image appears to be made up from lots of tiny dots, very similar to brush strokes but on a tiny scale, which makes me wonder if the illustrations are to size or have they been shrunk to fit the booklet – an early form of photocopying?
I printed one on normal photo paper at 8″ x 10″ just to see the quality of the prints and although the quality was good it didn’t look right on pure white paper. I reprinted the same image on a soft cream archival museum paper with a slight texture and was amazed at the difference – the illustrations looked like watercolour paintings.
Cue more questions:
Who was the illustrator?
Was there more than one illustrator?
And to think that all of this from collecting some old teacups!!
So wherever your photographic journey takes you, always be prepared for the unexpected!
And if you happen to know anything about the Rev Gerard B F Hallock or his family I’d be really interested to hear from you as I’d love to find out more.