Friday, January 20, 2012

Riding Pigs

Intersting merry-go-round. I can think of a lot of animals that might be used as substitutes for the traditional horse, but pigs! Anyway, there aren't any old cars in the background, no recognizable buildings, and the clothes, while somewhat old fashioned, aren't all that distinctive, so how can this photo be dated? There is an Agfa-Lupex logo on the back which gives us a clue. Agfa started out as Aktiengesellschaft fur Anilinfabrikation in a Berlin suburb in 1867, became part of the IG Farben conglomerate in 1925, and still survives, though no longer a part of the infamous Farben chemical empire. Agfa-Lupex photographic paper was introduced in 1935, in Germany, and the particular logo design on the back of the print was used until about 1940. It's a start, but photographic paper, if properly stored, can be printed for decades. For all we know, some amateur photographer bought a box of Lupex, threw it in the back of an ice box, and kept the paper refrigerated for twenty years. I've just finished processing a roll of Ilford black & white film that went out of date in 1996, and it turned out just fine. Without any writing on the back, without a date or a location, this is what I like to imagine. It's the mid thirties. Hitler has come to power. War is on the horizon, and the adults in this photograph know it. Still, the carnival is in town and it makes the children happy to ride the pigs. What kid wouldn't be happy to ride a pig?

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