It’s been 44 years since I took that photo. I have no idea where the children are now. Back then it seemed to me they were wise old souls. Hopefully they are happy and healthy grownups with children of their own. Part of me wants to try and track them down, but another part of me wants to leave everything alone and full of potential. I don’t know if I could bear hearing about an unhappy outcome.
BTW, while preparing this post, I learned something I never knew. Even though it’s not exactly what I had in mind when I used the term, spirit photography is actually considered a type of photography. According to Wikipedia, spirit photography was fueled by the mid-19 Century Spiritualism movement and was especially popular at the end of the American Civil War. Its goal was to capture images of ghosts and other spiritual entities. One of the most famous spirit photographers was William Mumler, who photographed Mary Todd Lincoln posed with the purported spirit of her assassinated husband Abe Lincoln.
My research also led me to a 2018 book, The Spirit Photographer: a Novel by
Jon Michael Varese. It’s a post-American Civil War story featuring racial politics, ghosts, spirit photography and, of course, a love story. It is totally entertaining and I highly recommend it.
Link to County Fair Portraits: Special Portfolio Edition
Link to Original County Fair Book
Link to a selection of County Fair Portraits