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Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past
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Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,171 ratings  ·  205 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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Paquita Maria Sanchez
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
Kathrina
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
Angel
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.
K.
Jul 16, 2011 K. marked it as to-read
Will this be a creepy, macabre and mildly disturbing collection of photographs?

Fingers crossed.
Courtney
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
Mike (the Paladin)
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
...more
Dayla
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
...more
Sheila Mccaa-sanders


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
...more
Beth
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.
Jessica
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'
...more
Emily
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
...more
Mary
May 10, 2013 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
...more
Yoake
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
...more
Stifyn Emrys
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
...more
Lizzie
Apr 05, 2014 Lizzie rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Kathleen
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
Alicia
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
...more
jess
May 16, 2014 jess rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
The pictures are cool. Fine. whatever. They aren't special enough or well curated enough to justify this entire book, though.

I'm forcing myself to hate Ransom Riggs through sheer overexposure. It's self-induced but I can't stop myself.
Cat
Mar 04, 2014 Cat rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: adult
Interesting book filled with inscribed photographs. It makes me want to go home and go through all my old photos.
Jennifer
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.
Andrew
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
Emily Goenner
This collection of images forces the reader to consider lost lives, the instants in time caught in photographs, and why families dissolve. Its funny, sad, fascinating. For me, the chapter Janet Lee was especially powerful, for personal reasons.
Alumine Andrew
Riggs is the author of two great books about Peculiar Children: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City. The third instalment in the series will be published soon.

The amazing thing about these books is that they are based on real photographs found by Riggs and friends in Op Shops, car boot sales and anywhere else where people dump old photographs.
The photos are unusual in that they portray children and adults in bizarre ways. It's based on old dark room tricks when printing
...more
Erinn Paige
This is fascinating. I have often found bins of photographs at antique stores, but never thought to skim through them with an eye for the stories they tell. Ransom Riggs' singular hobby translates into a bizarre, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking journey through American lives, told in orphan photos. The book itself is divided into sections, but these are almost wordless, relying on the photos and inscriptions to do the work. Riggs' introduction sets up the "narrative" in a smart way, revealing ...more
Valerie
"Talking Pictures" is a compilation of old photographs collected by Riggs and a few others. What makes these photographs especially interesting are the captions written on them. They range from hilarious to poignant. The chapter entitled "Janet Lee" is especially heartbreaking.

I could not tear myself away from this book. I couldn't wait to get to the next photograph — each of them was a window into the past, and the captions brought a sense of intimacy to them. Viewing it on my Nook HD worked we
...more
Teri
Talking Pictures is less a book and more of a scrapbook of random pictures. Ransom Riggs is known for his book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, a book he wrote around a series of bizarre pictures he acquired from flea markets and friends. I love the concept of the book. As a genealogist and family keeper of old photos and ephemera, I was intrigued to read this book.

This book is mainly pictures that Riggs has found with handwritten captions and notes. I have many family pictures with
...more
Kim Tyo-Dickerson
The lost souls of photos, faded, vintage, polaroid, scribbled with cryptic messages and names, have obsessed Ransom Riggs from an early age. Here he collects some memorable and at times heartbreaking examples from his vast collection, which also inspired his dark supernatural fantasy 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' http://www.ransomriggs.com/miss_pereg... and the sequel 'The Hollow City' http://www.ransomriggs.com/hollow_cit.... The series/chapter in 'Talking Pictures' I can't get ...more
Donald
If this is really what it says it, the presentation of a man's hobby of collecting old photographs, it is a unique look into something that I think may prove to be a brief, bright flash in history. Two hundred years ago, cameras were new, images from the time rare. One hundred years later, photography was starting to leak into the public arena. Soon, grandma and Uncle Joe had Brownies, and from barbeques and Christmas, Fourth of July and First Days Of School, every event that you can think of, p ...more
Sarah Elizabeth
This is a book full of old photographs that Ransom Riggs has found in flea markets and such. They are all of random people, unrelated, and taken throughout history. The connection is that they all have writing somewhere on the picture. Not enough to really tell a story, but enough to give you a snapshot into someone's life, a life that you will never know. The writing is often witty, funny, and extremely interesting. Riggs types out some of the harder to read pieces, but for the most part they a ...more
Martha
This is from the private collection of the author of "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" and the sequel, "Hollow City". The point of the book is that even with the proliferation of cameras, few printed images are ever produced. Today photographs are merely stored n chips and drives that are easily damaged or erased, susceptible to heat, magnets, wear, and obsolescence. A hard drive may last five years, a compact disc ten or so. But a well-printed snapshot will still be visible after a ...more
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I grew up in Florida, went to Kenyon College in Ohio, then film school at USC in LA, where I still live. I write books and screenplays, blog daily for mentalfloss.com, and make short films.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is my first novel. I'm really excited about it -- it was challenging and rewarding and I hope people like it. If you read that and like the found photographs in it, y
...more
More about Ransom Riggs...
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1) Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #2) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel The Sherlock Holmes Handbook  Strange Geographies

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