Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sepia Saturday #297: Kerchiefs






The angle and light in the photograph this week are lovely. The woman's kerchief seems to glow and I love the way her face is lit. At first glance, I thought the clothes line was some kind of scepter or magic wand. 

We were recently on vacation in Iran, where I had the experience of wearing a hijab every day in public. My husband and I are posing in the photo below with Iranian tourists at their request. We, as Americans, were surprisingly popular and in great demand for group shots. In addition to the hijab, modesty dictates that women wear long sleeves and loose cover-up style tops - uncomfortable at 100 degrees. 


I know there's a world of difference between a kerchief and a hijab, but they're both a piece of cloth on the head. The word hijab in Arabic literally translates to "barrier or partition". In Islam, it's worn as a symbol of modesty and privacy. 

   
After two or three days touring in Iran with Nadia, our guide - Richard exclaimed in an illuminated moment, "I've got it....you look like Vermeer's painting of "The Girl with the Pearl Earring!" Later that day, after we had looked at the painting online, Nadia stopped just ahead of us, adjusted her hijab and assumed the pose. As you can see, the photo turned out well - our favorite of the trip. 

Later on down the road we met a photojournalist who looked at Richard's photo and decided he would take his own version of Nadia in the pose.  His photo and the comparison to the Vermeer... 
 And his photo of the beautiful Nadia, as herself

The final photo I have, my best match for the prompt, is me at age 6 "helping" do the household chores with my cat Sandy. My father was painting the trim on the house and apparently decided he wanted to capture a photo of me on the job. My mother must have arranged my kerchief and forced me to wear those horrible saggy lisle stockings; I hated them because you had to wear a garter belt, scratchy and uncomfortable, to hold them up. On the line across the fence, our neighbor's laundry was hanging out to dry. I'm sure Madame Lacroix, the very modest lady next door, would be horrified to know that 65 years after the occasion, people would still be viewing her bra dangling in the breeze. 



Head over to Sepia Saturday to read and enjoy more laundered stories. 


19 comments:

  1. I love the do-rag photo. We used to wear triangular scarves on our heads (knotted under our chins) when I was a kid growing up in the windy Midwest. We were just trying to keep the hair on our heads.

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    1. Interesting how a simple piece of cloth can be fraught with so much or so little meaning.

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  2. Avery enjoyable post. I actually preferrred the first re-creation of the Vermeer, but the best image of all is the last one!

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  3. Very interesting. I hadn't heard of the do-rag before, and would probably just call it a kerchief, a headscarf, or a bandana. I think women wearing the hijab always look beautifully elegant.

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  4. I never heard of the kind of head covering the woman hanging up the laundry is wearing referred to as a do-rag. When I was growing up young men who had their hair processed - hair straightened using lye, wore do-rags to keep their hair in place sometimes and I guess at night. some men wore stocking caps at night to keep their hair flat. They were made by cutting off the bottom of a woman's stocking and tying a knot in the end. More recently someone came up with a ready made stocking cap and these were also referred to as do-rags, although they bore no resemblance to the originals. I'm happy the style is dying out.

    The woman in the photo has a kerchief or headscarf on her head. Some women wear head wraps. In my laundry photo I have a scarf tied over my hair, but it would never be referred to as a do-rag. Sorry for going on and on about this, but it was actually rather jarring to me because I've never heard it referred to this way.

    That out of the way, the photos are beautiful.

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    1. Edited to eliminate the do-rag references.

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  5. That's a fantastic post. I've never heard it called a do-rag before. As for the photo of Nadia. Richard has captured the similarity to the painting far better that the photo-journalist. But the final image takes the prize to my way of thiking.

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  6. I like the comparison to Vermeer. I think the angle of the head in Richard's photo is better than in the photojournalist's and the background is more interesting too.

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    1. I agree. The background was totally unplanned. Until we saw the photo later we didn't realize how great the light was.

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  7. What a fun idea -- travel and take photos mimicking great art.

    Funny how "old laundry" looks like nothing but rags on the line. No fabric softener in those days, I guess.

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  8. Goodness that last shot is priceless!

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  9. I love the story of your trip to Iran and your husband's realization that Nadia looked like the girl in the Vermeer painting. The photographs prove it.

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  10. I love Richard's photo of Nadia. It's beautiful!
    Not that the photo of you isn't beautiful, also!!!!
    Barbara

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  11. Madame Lecroix might be grateful that SHE'S not dangling on the line...

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  12. Gawd...I am so slow and unobservant. It took me forever to figure out why your post was about head coverings....loved the Vermeer reference....finally went back to the original post and looked...ah....the kerchief....I have never heard of the phrase do rag either...interesting.

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  13. An interesting post with great photos. Women's head covering is still part of some American cultures - Amish, Mennonite, Orthodox Jewish, etc. As fashion has changed so has laundry. When was the last time you used starch or blueing?

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  14. You made me think about the blending of cultures again. A complex subject. Thanks.

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  15. I sense Carol Burnett's inspiration for her char woman in that last shot.

    And Nadia is stunning.

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