Spring cleaning can be a chore! But it can provide interesting and surprising finds. Take a look at the historical musical photograph below.
The historical musical photograph was unearthed recently by a friend. A first look did not cause any excitement.
It is, in fact, a photograph of Henllan Male Voice Party. Taken in 1902 by Helsby Photographers of Denbigh and Ruthin.
Nothing seems vaguely interesting. Until internet research informs us that the Helsby father and son photographers originated from South America. (Source: Peter Helsby, not a descendant incidentally).
From South America to Denbigh
W.G. Helsby, senior, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1828. He died in St Asaph (north Wales) in 1891.
He was a photographer in Valparaiso, Chile for many years, where his son, also W.G. was born in 1853.
W.G. junior was also a photographer and eventually lived in Denbigh. He died in 1925.
The Curious Historical Musical Photograph
Looking at the historical musical photograph, one wonders whether there are any links, however tenuous, with the Denbigh and District Male Voice Choir. Please comment if you think you can make a connection.
Watch the Birdie?
On closer inspection, one observes that a third of the party is looking to the left. Another third is looking to the right. The rest are looking at the camera. Just where was the birdie to look at?
Also unsmiling faces are a feature of photographs taken in the Victorian era. Have you ever seen a photo of a smiling Queen Victoria?
Moreover, the likely explanation for the postures is a slow camera shutter speed which demanded long exposures. Too long to sustain a smile.
Say Cheese !
‘Say cheese,’ a much used phrase in photography, did not appear until the 1940’s. Advances in camera technology enabled faster shutter speeds. The smile could now be captured in a snapshot.
The impressive hat and fur stole worn by the female (accompanist?) in the historical musical photograph also demands our attention.
Moreover, it is uncertain that we will persuade our accompanist, Nia Jones, to go for the ‘retro’ look.