Talking Pictures : Images and Messages Rescued from the Past, Paperback Book

Talking Pictures : Images and Messages Rescued from the Past Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (9 ratings)


With the candid quirkiness of Awkward Family Photos and the confessional intimacy of PostSecret, Ransom Riggs's Talking Pictures is a haunting collection of antique found photographs-with evocative inscriptions that bring these lost personal moments to life-from the author of the New York Times bestselling illustrated novel Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

Each image in Talking Pictures reveals a singular, frozen moment in a person's life, be it joyful, quiet, or steeped in sorrow.

Yet the book's unique depth comes from the writing accompanying each photo: as with the caption revealing how one seemingly random snapshot of a dancing couple captured the first dance of their 40-year marriage, each successive inscription shines like a flashbulb illuminating a photograph's particular context and lighting up our connection to the past.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Photographs: collections
  • ISBN: 9780062099495

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Showing 1 - 5 of 9 reviews.

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He's a collector of vernacular photos from flea markets, like me, and I first became aware of him through some stories on the Mental Floss website. He's even written a fantasy book sort of based on some of those photos, which I didn't like very much. Anyway, one of his essays was about photos with writing on the back that makes an otherwise unmemorable pictures suddenly meaningful. Like a road in Texas, and when you turn it over it says "This is the spot where Daddy had his accident and died." This book is a collection of such pictures, found by him and by other collectors. It's great. Lots of them are mundane with messages of love or things like that, and most are charming just because they're old. Then there are things like a series of photos taken at Dachau. A picture of some cages turns out to say, on the back, that these were kennels for dogs that were used to chase and attack prisoners.

Review by

An amazing collection of "talking pictures," or vintage photographs with messages written on them. The photos & captions are a mixture of funny, quirky, bittersweet, and heart-wrenching. Perfect for anyone who loves old pictures (like me!).

Review by

"The passage of time makes old photographs more than just someone else's memories. When names and faces are forgotten, they pass into collective memory. In a sense, they belong to all of us."

Review by

I love that Ransom Riggs collected photos ALL his life to compile a book like this. How amazing to delve into the life of someone else through a picture and a simple statement written on the back? Who knew that people discarded these photos so easily at garage sales!? His collection is excellent and I will be opening this book over and over just making up my own stories from those pictures. If anyone needs inspiration for fictional stories, this would be the perfect place to find it. <br/><br/>Photography has changed so much, just recently too... I find that printed pictures will be a thing of the past very soon. Hopefully the photos that are still around are as cherished by others as Riggs has made them. Love this, just love it!

Review by

Ransom Riggs collects photos that he finds at estate sales. The only photos he collects are ones that have writing on them. The writing may be on the back, or it may be on the front; it may even be a part of the photo. His inspiration was one of the first photos he purchased. He decided to move his photos from frames to proper albums. When he tried to move this particular photo he found this written on the back "Dorothy, Chicago, age 15, Died of Leukemia". This book highlights some of his favorite photos. Some are haunting; such as the one that depicts a warning sign for a stop ahead. The writing on the back of the photo indicates "Rock wall near Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California where Dorothy found a baby girl on Jan 24,1961". Who was Dorothy? Who was the baby she found? Did she raise the baby? Why was the baby there?

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