Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Tale of the Dancing Dog

Once in a while I stumble across an archival image which really catches my imagination. I never know where or when I will come across these evocative images. Equally, there is not a standard scene or subject matter which I find intriguing. If there is a pattern, the images often show something unexpected or a strange juxtaposition of ideas. What I enjoy the most is an archival image that makes me stop and ask myself "what in the world is happening?"

Today's image is an excellent example of the "what in the world is happening" phenomenon. Taken at face value this is a simple image of a child dancing with a dog on the deck of a ship while the Captain holds his stomach with laughter. Hmm, even trying to simply explain this image makes me wonder. What is the context for this image. Why are the boy (I assume) and the dog dancing? Why are they dancing on a ship? Is this the child of the captain and the ship's dog? Do poodles prefer a waltz or a tango? I assume from the look of mirth on the Captain's face that this was a spontaneous moment rather than a posed photograph. There is also something about the industrial setting on the deck of a ship which makes this intimate image very appealing.

This photograph, part of the Annapolis Heritage Society's archival collection, was taken by Charlotte Perkins circa 1900. From the look of the wharf beside the ship, I am guessing that the photograph was taken at the Annapolis Royal Railway Wharf at low tide.

All for now,
RGS

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