Hints on picture hanging

The Sunshine Coast where we live is a tourism hot spot. So when Easter comes around, instead of fighting the holiday crowds, we delve into cupboards and drawers and think about sorting and framing the latest batch of family photos.

Yes, topping up the portrait gallery is an annual event at the home of Right Hook Picture Hanging.

But we figure it’s a great project for any family. What with digital photos and smartphones and the like, it’s easy to forget to hang pictures on walls. But think back to your parents’ and grandparents’ days, when photos were rare and precious - what a wonderful legacy they left for us to view today.

You know it yourself - visit a friend’s home and you’re drawn to the photos on display, the older the better. I don’t know about you, but my visitors don’t ask to see the contents of my phone.

They walk to the picture gallery and are fascinated by the photos on the wall, some dating back to 1900. To see a family in historical context – now that is interesting. It doesn’t have to be a rich or famous family either. One photo is of my dad with his parents and siblings on a family outing. The difference? They’re all in a horse-drawn cart. He is barefoot as are all the kids. I find it fascinating to see such evidence of an upbringing so different from my own.

It’s not just about the faces either. What about the places? When Maroochydore and Coolum and Caloundra were holiday destinations reached by a rutted track. Maybe you holidayed here then and stayed in a timber guesthouse in Mooloolaba, or camped at the old Noosa caravan park.

Did you ever take a trip to Buderim and take photos at the old ginger factory? Or waited at crossings as small trains hauled long loads of sugar cane to the mill at Nambour?

All those days are gone now. So why not involve the whole family in a bit of sleuthing? Instead of an Easter egg hunt, why not search out your own history? (OK, you can still do the egg hunt).

Clear the table or the floor, and spread out and sift through the piles of prints in drawers and cupboards. Later, if you’re not exhausted, you can even tackle the hundreds of digital photos.

It’s a task that can keep anyone engrossed for hours and guaranteed to produce lots of laughs - especially when the kids see those ones of you wearing the latest fashions of the day. Let them laugh at the big hair and padded shoulders. You did the same to your mum when you saw her with a beehive, mini skirt and false eyelashes.

After the hilarity comes editing and choosing. Which are the most important photos? The ones that mean something and that you really want to display. Photos of long departed relatives and forebears usually come pretty high on the list, because most people like to look into their faces and search for resemblance.

And then there are the fashions of long ago which are always of universal interest and astonishment. (How did they BREATHE in all those layers?) Parents’ weddings, of course, old baby photos, the various cousins and aunties, family gatherings, best friends, holidays and then your very own family.

So next, how will you get them on display? Well, there are lots of ways of getting them framed and up on the walls and they needn’t hurt the family budget either.

But we’ll discuss framing and hanging in our next blog. For now, I’m off to sort my own photos.


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