Family group photographs are probably the mainstay of most family albums. I've never been a huge fan of these formal assemblies, but it's the easiest way for most of us to document the shape and size of our tribal gatherings.
Frankly, unless we can claim to have lives interesting enough for the likes of Dominique Tarlé to come and live with us for a few months, we'll need to keeping seizing the opportunity to squeeze up a bit, smile and stay 'in shot'.
This picture introduces us to some members of Mag's family (including the girl, herself), taken over the Christmas period, sometime around the late 50s.
Left to right, at the back: Nellie Jemima (Mag's Nan), cousin Pat, Aunt Eileen, May (Mag's Mum), Albert (Mag's Dad - looking as though he's straight off the set of 'The Untouchables').
At the front: Cousin John, Mags, Sheila (Mag's sister.
As ever, I kept scanning this photograph for something beyond the faces and the furniture. Not to mention those snazzy slippers.
I think what strikes me is the level of attention the photographer (Pat's boyfriend, Brian) is getting. No doubt, he's saying things to encourage the smiles, but even those who are still only thinking about smiling, are looking right at him. He has gained that momentary degree of control essential when snapping the family group for posterity.
© 2010, copyright Martin T. Hodges