MP-1977.76.99 | Christmas gathering, 254 Olivier Ave., Westmount, QC, 1899

Christmas gathering, 254 Olivier Ave., Westmount, QC, 1899
Alfred Walter Roper
1899, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
10 x 12 cm
Gift of Mr. Vennor Roper
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  adult (18) , Alfred Walter Roper house (1) , child (64) , Christmas (6) , decoration (2) , dining room (2) , eating (6) , figure (1849) , garland (2) , gathering (1) , group (644) , interior (40) , leisure (134) , leisure event (98) , Montreal vicinity (18) , Occupation (1110) , Olivier Avenue (2) , Photograph (77678) , residential (28)
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Keys to History

Photo albums generally hold the most significant pictures of a family's life. Births, graduations, vacations, weddings, all have a prominent place, while the more unhappy events are more discreetly shown. Amateur photography is an important way of showing appreciation of the family unit. Parties and celebrations are the preferred subjects, as the family is shown in a favourable light. It doesn't really matter if some family members leave their descendants an unflattering picture of themselves--eyes closed, scowling, with a strained smile--what's important is that they all gathered together on Olivier Avenue for Christmas in 1899.

  • What

    The photos in a family album serve mainly as a reminder of the most significant moments in a family's history.

  • Where

    Even a cursory examination of this dining room reveals a number of clues to the occupants' comfortable existence.

  • When

    There are times--especially parties--when photography is a family obligation. Such events are marvellous opportunities for a family portrait.

  • Who

    The photographer is by necessity conspicuously absent from family photos. Yet his or her presence is revealed in a number of ways: the direction of the subjects' gaze, their pose and, in this case, the empty chair in the foreground, which suggests that the photographer is the host.