6/26/15

TRANSLATION, s'il vous plaît


I don't speak French. I took German in high school. I was forced to take Spanish in junior high. I don't speak either language. I'm not sure it's the education system that is at fault or the way my brain is wired. I can pretend to speak different languages, I can mimic the sounds, but when it comes down to learning the actual languages it becomes too similar to trying to do math. I am not wired for math. I am not wired for anything where a specific answer is required. I like options.

My option for this week's Sepia Saturday is way off topic. I don't collect photos of hotels (this week's theme), but I do have a lot of posts on my ephemera site dedicated to old hotels and motels. A couple of examples of old San Francisco hotels are here and here.

Instead I'm going to do a bit of crowdsourcing because I know Sepians are a very diverse group and there is certainly at least one who can speak French.

This image was purchased many years ago in Eureka, California. I will always wonder the route this portrait took to get there.


Click on image to see it larger.

It's a fascinating shot of children far too close in age. The mother was just popping these little infants out one after another. Was her name Boulangerie?

So, getting down to the requested facts…what does it say on the back?


Click on image to see it larger.

Though what I have is very old, it is not the original print. The reason I know this is because of the boy in the upper right corner. If you take a look you'll notice that someone did a bit of photo shop-erie with another print, a knife, and some glue. That little boy was in the original shot, but for some reason a replacement of him was put on top. So somewhere there was an original with the cut and paste job and what I have is a shot of the shot.

So let us ponder why this little boy was such a problem. Perhaps he shut his eyes just as the shutter closed and the photographer, not wishing to bring the wrath of Boulangerie down on his head, said, "Madame, I will fix it immédiatement! No charge…of course."

What other options could have caused this photography disaster? Imagine how the photographer of today would say, "Don't worry your little head. I will have this fixed in a peu de moments" then run off to his laptop.

I am hoping someone will fill in the pieces provided on the back of this photograph from 1884.

And in advance I say merci.

UPDATE: Thank you Linda for the translation:
...the message says: loving remembrance (or amicable memory) to the friends (if it says "ses"), or "his" friends (if it says "les").

UPDATE: From Brett:
Affectionate memories to his friends
Germain Deseudi
Mezin le 9 8th 1884
Mezin is a small village in south-western France (Aquitaine). The photograph looks to me as though it could have come from there. 
_________________

23 comments:

  1. I think you must be right - Madam was not happy with that little boy's original expression, or thought her husband would not like it, so another shot of him was taken and pasted on top of the original. Of course they might have been cousins, rather than all coming out of the same oven, but the same reason for the substitution

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe Tickletbear will come along to translate for you. I recognize some of the words like "Remember" and "friends" but the date is confusing since the wording doesn't resemble any months I know of. The Photo-shopped boy is doubly funny because that cloth doesn't line up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the date is very confusing. I have no idea what is going on.

      And the photographer just wasn't very clever hiding their photo-shopperie.

      Delete
  3. The younger children definitely look suspicious of the camera. However the photo shop boy doesn't seem the mischievous type, so perhaps he just sneezed at the wrong time. I don't think they are all from the same family. Maybe a mix of cousins.

    I enjoyed reading about the hotels. You got an an impressive number of comments from people who had a sentimental connection to a building.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just got a comment the other day about one of those hotels. The post that keeps on going long after its initial posting.

      They are not happy looking children. And all the set stuff is rather over the top.

      Delete
  4. For the times, I suppose whoever did the 'photo shop-erie' did a fairly decent job of matching things up physically. Too bad they didn't have the ability to darken the replacement shot to make the tone match as well. I would imagine the replacement was made because the original 'snap' caught the kid either making an inappropriate face - which children of that age are wont to do! - or his eyes were closed or something of that nature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it would have been nice if the photographer had done a bit better with the fixing. Immediately noticeable.

      Delete
  5. Maybe the boy was too far to the right and didn't fit in the oval frame?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That could be. What's interesting is to imagine what the photographer would make of Photoshop. Imagine his surprise at what we can now do.

      Delete
  6. Hi, the message says: loving remembrance (or amicable memory) to the friends (if it says "ses"), or "his" friends (if it says "les"). Greetings from Belgium :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! So they're from Belgium. That's interesting.

      Delete
    2. O no, sorry for the misunderstanding, I am from Belgium :-)! It is a great picture by the way, with the cutting and pasting!

      Delete
    3. See, I can't even translate English!

      Delete
    4. And hello (waving) to Belgium.

      Delete
  7. Affectionate memories to his friends
    Germain Deseudi
    Mezin le 9 8th 1884

    Mezin is a small village in south-western France (Aquitaine). The photograph looks to me as though it couyld have come from there.

    An intriguing post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So probably Sept. 9, 1884.

      Don't you wish you knew who Germain Deseudi was?

      Delete
    2. Indeed I do. I tried a few Google searches, without any tangible success.

      Delete
    3. We'll keep our fingers crossed a genealogy searcher finds this.

      Delete
    4. I think the last name is Descude'

      There is (or was) a Marcel Descude' who was a semi-famous chemist in Paris about 1900-1905.

      Delete
    5. Germain Descudé sounds good to me!

      Delete
  8. Maybe the original photo was damaged in that area.

    Have you tried google image search to see if anyone else has posted the same photo? Also, do you read Maureen Taylor's Photo Detective blog at Family Tree, or her own blog (photodetective.blogspot)? She helps people solve mysteries about old photographs. (Although you may have as much or more experience than her.) It seems like I read one of her posts with a photograph with a part cut away and pasted in, and maybe there was something about death.... My memory's too short.

    The boys in dark jackets look like they're probably brothers. The two boys in light coats with curls look like they (the 2 of them) could be brothers, but maybe not brothers to the other five.

    What a challenge! Good luck with it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The post was intriguing, and Sepian comments even more so. Kudos.

    ReplyDelete