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Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  2,161 Ratings  ·  318 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by It Books
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Rebecca It is pretty much photography in its entirety.
Phyllis intro, afterword, pictures, picture labels. that's about it.

Community Reviews

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May 27, 2016 Natalie rated it really liked it
“Sometimes a word is worth a thousand pictures.”

Talking Pictures is a haunting collection of antique found photographs—with evocative inscriptions that bring these lost personal moments to life.

“The best inscriptions make a snapshot feel current, no matter when it was taken.”

I absolutely loved the introduction to this story. In a short amount of pages Ransom Riggs managed to make me feel hopeful, fearful and, for a split second, tearful.

“Maybe the picture is blurred because she couldn’t stop her
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Apr 24, 2014 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it
I was out of the loop during the whole Ransom Riggs craze of 2011. I have never read that book about the home where the peculiar children go, even though it's said to contain a bunch of cool, creepy old photos, and I love cool, creepy old photos. This obsession was noted by goodreader karen (hi!) when we visited a NYC junk shop called "The Serial Killer Store" [sic], and I proceeded to dig through a giant crate of old photos for entirely too long and to her general consternation, as she found th ...more
Nov 23, 2012 Kathrina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
You have to take a look at this book. I can try to tell you how amazing it is, how each page gives you a glimpse into some stranger's life through a window you haven't been invited to view, like driving down a street at night and glimpsing snippets of people through their lighted windows. But here you get a fuller story, or enough to goad you into filling in what's missing. I could try to tell you how heart-wrenching some of these partly-told stories can be, but it won't be very convincing. You ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Angel marked it as to-read
I met Ransom Riggs and he talked about this book. He has a hobby of finding old photos at flea markets. He was intrigued by what people had written on the photos. This is a collection of those found photos. I'm looking forward to this one.
Jul 16, 2011 K. marked it as to-read
Will this be a creepy, macabre and mildly disturbing collection of photographs?

Fingers crossed.
Jan 28, 2013 Courtney rated it it was amazing
I am admittedly a huge fan of vintage ephemera (a quick glance at my Pinterest profile will confirm this), so it's no surprise to me that I wound up loving this collection of "found" photographs. Ransom Riggs (of "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" fame) is a collector of vintage photos, many of them dug up from antique stores and flea markets. Their original owners are unknown, as are their settings, subjects and contexts. The only clues to these photos are the inscriptions written on ...more
Apr 27, 2015 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Those old vintage photographs you find in your grandmother's attic, or loosened in albums that drift to the floor when you open the album, all yellowed, torn and shabby edged, with people you don't know a thing about. And you keep wondering who they are. Or what lives they had.

Imagine those photos all stacked up in boxes, or bundled up, forgotten when their owners passes away, given or thrown away when their offspring don't know what to do with them. They change hands, or end up at yards sales,
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
This was interesting. I really should get around to reading the series already. Pictures were also good.
Nov 17, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing
I think it's a tragedy (I'm not overstating) that people don't print out pictures, write in diaries, or write letters anymore, so I am the ideal audience for this book. I know everyone believes all of this can be done on Facebook, but what about in the future? How are grandkids/biographers going to know anything about anyone?! Don't get me started. Anyway, this is just a collection of old photos with captions--handwritten on the back, by the photo-takers--and it totally made my day.
Jun 15, 2016 Koeeoaddi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A bunch of old photos with stuff writen on the back. Sad, hilarious and deeply creepy. I loved it!
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 19, 2012 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Ransom Riggs wrote Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Probably the best part of that book were the unusual and sometimes creepy pictures the story was built around. Mr. Riggs collects "lost pictures".

He tells us the story of the first photo he bought from a bin of miscellaneous photos in a junk shop when he was 13. Pictures dumped, spilled and torn from albums, frames and wallets with no information except for the words scribbled on them. He bought the first and then some years later b
Sheila Mccaa-sanders
Oct 25, 2012 Sheila Mccaa-sanders rated it it was amazing

After 30 years in the antique business I have seen many old photos but this collection of photographs with their commentary I found riveting and hard to put down. I admit I have always found these discarded bits of people lives fascinating but would never have imagined this group that takes you into all levels of emotion with their littles bits of scribbled information. I'm sure I will revisit it many times to experience it all over again. Thanks Briana for finding it and adding it to your to-r
Article first published as Book Review: Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued From the Past by Ransom Riggs on Blogcritics.

Review also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

I received a copy for review

Ransom Riggs’s Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued From the Past is an unforgettable trip into the past. The stories found on the back of the pictures presented offer their own little surprises, adding depth to a seemingly simple text.

Riggs’s shows the reader that sometimes only a
Mar 27, 2012 Belinda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This may possibly be one of the best books ever. I fell madly in love with Ransom Riggs through the first Miss Peregrine book--the thing I loved best about the book were the strange and beautiful photos. This book is a collection of "found" photos--some borrowed from friends, some found by the author himself. As if I did not adore him enough the prologue to the book explains that Ransom Riggs has enjoyed collecting old pictures of people he did not know since he was a child. This is a habit I sh ...more
Oct 12, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I saw this book years ago and put it on my TBR shelf. I could never find it in any of the bookstores so I decided that one day I would just order it off Amazon. I went looking at Amazon one day and noticed that one of the book sellers was selling a used copy and I just had to have it. The author and I share the same hobby of collecting old unwanted photo's. I can't for the life of me understand how anyone can throw these away. I would give my right kidney to be able to find photos of my ancestor ...more
Elizabeth A
Feb 23, 2015 Elizabeth A rated it liked it
Shelves: art, 2015
This is a strange and interesting book. The author has a hobby - he collects old photographs of people he does not know. There is a catch though - the photos need text of some kind written on it. This book is a curation of some of the photos from the author's collection. The photos are all black and white, and while the photos are interesting in themselves, it is the text that gives you a peek into these stranger's lives. The handwritten words on either the back or the front of the photos docume ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: art, nonfiction
I loved Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, so I was anxious to read Talking Pictures.

Riggs continues his obsessive collection of photographs of unknown people in this book, but doesn't build a story around them as he did with Miss Peregrine. Instead, he categorizes the photos and lets them do the talking as he shares whatever has been written on them. I was totally sucked into this book and finished it in one sitting but afterward I felt like a voyeur and that I had invaded strangers'
Sep 18, 2012 Moloch rated it really liked it
Recommended to Moloch by: Sito dell'autore? O una recensione a "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" vista qui
Non ricordo con precisione come, la scorsa primavera, scoprii questo libro: stavo forse leggendo su Goodreads qualche recensione al bestseller dello stesso autore (Ransom Riggs), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Per chi non lo sapesse, dovrebbe essere, a quanto ho capito, un romanzo per ragazzi con un tocco di horror, ambientato in una casa dove sono ospitati ragazzini con “poteri” speciali (levitazione, invisibilità, ecc.): quel che lo rende interessante, però, è che è illustrato co ...more
Mar 20, 2013 Sandra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Cuando terminé de leer El hogar de Miss Peregrine para niños peculiares, la novela ilustrada con fotografías reales de Ransom Riggs, pensé que la falta de coherencia entre las imágenes y la historia era un punto negativo que pesaba mucho sobre el resultado final pero que, al mismo tiempo, la afición del autor a coleccionar fotos antiguas lo convertía en un hombre interesante.

Talking Pictures es un libro de fotografía diferente. Las imágenes están divididas en siete bloques: Haciendo el payaso, A
Feb 09, 2015 Amna rated it it was amazing
My love and interest for such picture books started with Humans of New York and Frank Warren's PostSecret. I wasn't disappointed with Ransom Riggs' wonderful collection of photographs here either, it took me back to piles and piles of photo albums that I used to file through with my parents, some of which were marked by comments and labeled by a date and time (most probably my father's work), and I remember how strange it was to see a life with familiar faces from times I never knew. Times befor ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Florence MacIntosh
"I have an unusual hobby: I collect pictures of people I don't know."

Author Ransom Riggs compiled a collection of unusual vintage snapshots, their quirky, hilarious or heartbreaking captions the unifying theme. Organized into seven sections: Clowning Around, Love and Marriage, Times of Trouble, Life During Wartime, Janet Lee, Hide This Please, and Unsolved Mysteries.

One of my favorites? The caption reads: "You can Put this in your scrap book + remember how much fun we had teaching me how to dri
Mar 01, 2014 Lizzie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like history
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." T ...more
Stifyn Emrys
Dec 12, 2012 Stifyn Emrys rated it it was amazing
My wife purchased this for me as a Christmas gift after I enjoyed the pictures sprinkled through the author's novel, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children." This isn't a novel, so don't expect that. It's a picture book and can be read in one sitting, but it's also one you may feel compelled to read again and again.

I've always been fascinated with old photographs - the fact that a moment of time was captured and then, over the years, time passed the subjects by. Some are dead. Some are far
Sara Steger
May 15, 2015 Sara Steger rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves old photos
Shelves: photography
BIG HUGE fan of Riggs and the entire idea of collecting old photos. I have purchased many of them myself, but would never have thought to do what he has done with them. I enjoyed this book so much and bought a copy for my sister as well.

Old photos are so haunting and Riggs gives us the tiny bit of personal background that is contained on the back sides of these. Sometimes that transforms what would seem like a very bland photo into something quite interesting and extraordinary. Can't see how any
Nov 11, 2012 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
There's nothing like finding old photographs, magazines, or papers in an attic, or a flea market, or an antique store. You know you are bound to find a gem. In this book, Ransom Riggs collects all gems - found photographs with notations that are sometimes touching, sometimes mysterious, sometimes tragic, but always fascinating. As Riggs points out, it's sad that generations hence will not have this same tactile experience with found photographs and notes. We certainly will leave a vast collectio ...more
AmberBug **
Jun 29, 2012 AmberBug ** rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants inspiration and has a great imagination
Shelves: sn-to-post
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.

What a treat! It's like a weird coffee table book where Ransom Riggs' obsession with old photographs has taken him (not only to publishing Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) but into this story through those same pictures. Broken up in to section like war, romance, and humor, it's just a book of pictures and the words that people wrote on the front or back.

It really does make you think, as he mentions, about who would throw away, discard, or donate these pictures to be found at flea ma
Mar 09, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I come from a long line of photographers and photo developers and camera clerks. This may be why I loved this so.

It reminded me of sitting in my mother's living room poring over photos of ancestors I had never met. These photos gave me a glimpse, a history of their most important moments. It told me about where I came from and where I am going.

This book reminds us that photos are not to be taken so lightly as they are now. That people are more or less the same. And that tomorrow is
Dec 27, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I actually bought this book, thinking it was a novel since I'd read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. However, this book is nothing like that at all, but I wasn't disappointed.

Ransom Riggs takes the readers on a picture journey through the lives of those they will never know. I found myself laughing, falling silent, and feeling heart pangs for strangers. Lovely, lovely book full of honest, human moments captured and forgotten.
Dec 26, 2012 Andrew rated it it was amazing
Old snapshots have always been interesting to me. When I visit my grandmother I look through her old photos. A few years ago, I found some at an antique shop and for some reason the snapshots of strangers hold this bizarre power that my family ones do not. I have a meager collection, but Ransom Riggs and his buddies have some true classics complied in this little volume. The pictures kind of create a story of their own, and one collection about a girl named Janet Lee is particularly enthralling. ...more
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Hi, I'm Ransom, and I like to tell stories. Sometimes I tell them with words, sometimes with pictures, often with both. I grew up on a farm on the Eastern shore of Maryland and also in a little house by the beach in Englewood, Florida where I got very tan and swam every day until I became half fish. I started writing stories when I was young, on an old typewriter that jammed and longhand on legal ...more
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