Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Skarb z Pchli Targ

I'm back blogging again, after a lengthy layoff while I dealt with a thesis, the summer holidays and general torpitude. With that now all out of the way I'm hoping to get back into a regular - and frequent - blogging schedule with a lot of interesting new projects and ideas, but more about that later. I'd also like to offer a rather belated welcome to those who've joined the list of "blog followers" since I last posted, and apologise for the lack of activity since July last year. I hope I can make amends.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

For the moment, I'd like to share this postcard portrait of a well dressed Polish family in a well appointed studio setting (Apologies to those who attended Miriam's Scanfest on Sunday - you've already had a preview). It was sent to me by fellow photo-sleuth Nigel, who picked it up in a pchli targ in Kraków while on a flying visit there in January. Knowing how much I enjoy receiving postcards from around the world, he struggled at first to find something suitable, but this excellent find from a street market very near to the old Jewish ghetto he sent under separate cover, and it certainly hits the mark. The only trouble is, I can't bluetack it up in the kitchen with all the others, or it would be ruined. By the way, if you haven't worked out the meaning of "Skarb z Pchli Targ" yet, I suggest you try Google Translate.

It is tempting to think of the family as Jewish, but of course there is no evidence that they were. From the type of postcard and the style of both the studio setting and the subjects' clothing, I estimate that it was taken around 1908-1912, at which time Krakow was part of Austrian Galicia. The side table looks to me a stylish example of Art Nouveau furniture, but more than that I'm afraid I'll have to leave for the experts.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The reverse of the postcard provides few clues. Apart from the vertical dividing line and lines for the address, there is no photographer's name, only what may be a street address, written in pencil: "Rochim a 281." This could mean Rochim aleja 281 or 281 Rochim Avenue. Alternatively Rochim could be a surname.

I wonder if any readers - at least those who've hung on this long - can offer any further comments on this delightful postcard portrait? Oh, and thank you, Nigel.


  1. It's nice to see you back at blogging. I always enjoy your photos and posts.

  2. Thank you, Becky, that's very kind of you. Although I wasn't writing, I was reading, and have continued to follow your progress. Condolences on your mother's death - a difficult time for your family.

    Regards, Brett

  3. Brett, your posts are always so detailed, and I love your blog for it. It's a breath of fresh air in this new world affected by the twitter factor. Not all of us have short attention spans! A hearty welcome back.

  4. Mile widziane strona glowna zdjecie-detektyw !!

  5. "Dziękuję" is about all I can manage, Nigel, and the same to you Dawn. I hope I can keep you all stimulated.

  6. The picture truly is a skarb; very interesting. And good to see you blogging again!

  7. Welcome back, Brett. I was thinking about you the other day and wondering if you were okay. Glad to hear your time away wasn't due to health or other problems.

    The photograph is beautiful. My vote is not Jewish (if you're collecting votes, that is).

  8. iw - Thank you, and nice to see you posting again too :-)

    Greta - thanks, and yes, it was quite a find and I'm very grateful to Nigel.

    Nancy - yes, I'm fine thank you. Regarding its degree of Jewishness, I don't think I have a very good idea of what Jewish looks like, to be honest ...

  9. It is not an address. It is written RODZINA which means FAMILY in Polish. Nice photo :-)

    1. Thank you Malgosia. That makes sense.


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