I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vintage Thursday; Photo of a young man

The man on the far right is my maternal grandfather on a hiking trip with friends around the turn of the century. His name was Ludwig Markowsky Lytjen.  He was very handsome.( My oldest grandson looks like him. ) He appeared to love photography. His family was Danish/German and they were Christian Scientists. He was born in October 1883 and  he died in his early 30's. This is all I know of him.
The IOC letters on the man's sweater may stand for the International Ornithological Congress, if my research is at all valid.  It's the only organization that I could find in existence back at the turn of the century. If I'm wrong and the acronym is ICO then it could be the Illinois College of Optometry or the International Coffee Organization, which doesn't shed any light on anything. It's all a guess and really has nothing to do with what is happening in the photo except that the man might be carrying eye drops or he might have brought coffee for everyone. I just thought that I could find more information about where the photo was taken. Acronyms sometimes give you more insight. .
There is a building above them on the left and two people on the rocks in the upper middle of the photo. They are all wearing warm clothing so it's probably not summer....or maybe near the ocean.
I love this photo not only because it's one of the few I have of my grandfather, but because it's so indicative of the times. I think my grandfather was quite the "dandy" and seemed over dressed for the occasion. The group as a whole seems more casual. I love the hats.
I think that the blond man in the middle of the photo is taking the picture. It looks like he is holding a remote camera button. What do you think?

This is the same group of handsome young men on the same day, having lunch and relaxing. My grandfather is on the right in front. He still looks like my oldest grandson. Look at him! No wonder my grandma fell in love with him.
The young man on the left, in front, is still up to his clever deceptions. See his hand? He's taking the picture. That might be driftwood behind them. If so, my guess would still be the ocean.  It does seem awfully rocky. Maybe it's around the Cliff House in San Francisco.
It doesn't really matter where they are. I love these photos. I see a grandfather that I never knew who looks like my son and grandson. I see his hands..... that look familiar too. Something in that steady, staring countenance that reminds me of my people.  That he once lived and loved my grandmother and walked the earth before us, gives me connection and continuance. This is why I love photography. It is, in a way, "calling something by its real name."

Please take a look at Colorado Lady's Blog for other vintage stories.


  1. I love vintage photos—especially vintage family photos! They are familiar, yet mysterious, and while they often answer some of our questions, they leave us with many more....

    P.S. Your grandfather was indeed a very handsome fellow!

  2. What great photos, I love the looks on the faces best...have a great VTT~!

  3. In the first pic your dandy grandy reminds me of Paul Newman. It's just the lighting as he is quite the tall dark and handsome fella.
    Were people just better looking in those days?

  4. I love reading and hearing about these kind of stories. Times were hard back then, but there were a lot of good folks that left some great memories for us all.

  5. What handsome young men! It's possible they could be up on a mountainside, with the rocks and heavy clothing.
    Happy VTT.

  6. Isn't it wonderful to have some family history like that. Hope you can figure out the place and what they were doing there. My post today was about my Grandparents store. It is so nice to reflect. Thanks for sharing this post, Sherry

  7. Very handsome men.. I can't tell what he is holding either.

  8. People always seem so dressed up in old photos.

  9. Beautiful post! Wonderful photographs and I had noticed that cord in their hands and couldn't imagine what it was! Thanks for explaining...brilliant!

  10. Love this post and the vintage photos. Your grandfather was a very handsome man. Have blessed day. Madeline


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