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Tony Grist

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Early 20th Century Dreamboats [Feb. 5th, 2017|01:01 pm]
Tony Grist
In a comment on a previous post sorenr says "I still find it interesting that young men in those days are largely represented as unashamedly pretty in portrait photography. There is often an almost effeminate (to the modern eye), Valentino-esque quality, especially the lips and eyes."

As it happens I have a couple more photos that perfectly illustrate his point.  To begin with, there's this extremely glamorous image of my great-uncle, Harold Bridges- my grandmother's brother (previously seen as a small boy in Easter finery)- as a soldier of the Great War. For those who take an interest in such things I believe he's sporting the cap badge of the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment.


I can't tell you much about Harold. He died in his fifties, of something complicated, and his younger sister Joan is listed on the death certificate as next of kin. He never married and from the not-in-front-of-the-children way in which he was spoken of by the adults I've always assumed he was gay. At the time of his death he was working as an estate agent's clerk.

And then there's this, my grandfather photographed by The Hollywood studio (no less) in Bogota sometime in the early 1920s. Much Vaseline has been applied to the lens and if the result isn't the spitting image of Valentino or Ramon Novarro it's not for want of trying...

Yes, it's a bit blurry, but then so is the original. Blurry is a deliberate aesthetic choice.

What was my grandfather doing in Bogota? I don't really know. Overseeing some engineering project or selling heavy machinery I suppose. He was newly married and a rising star in his profession.

[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-02-05 02:19 pm (UTC)
I'm perfectly happy for you to use the material in any may you like. After all, you generated it. I wouldn't have posted the image without your prompting. I have no problem with you using my name or Harold's. I don't see him having any objections.

There are no surviving Bridges. He was the only male child and his sisters' children have other names.

I have other pictures of him- or think I do. I'm going to do some enhanced research...
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2017-02-05 02:32 pm (UTC)
I try to not use Facebook for "look how great my life is" or "OMG TRUMP IS TERRIBLE" but either find little stories about my life or - as in this case - other people's lives as far as they are relevant to my own. And clearly I'm "the end of my line" (though both my brothers have kids) so there's that affinity. I could have been Harold. Gosh, this is quite emotional, really!

(You can see I'm already making up a proxy character for Harold... It's part of the reason why I'm no good at family history; I invent things, so I do best with people where very few facts are known.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-02-05 05:19 pm (UTC)
As you may already have seen I've given you more material to work with...

Please make whatever use of it you like. I think Harold would be happy to be remembered- even if we are fictionalising him.
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