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Ransom Riggs compiles pictures that tell a story

Old, forgotten snapshots Ransom Riggs compiled for ‘Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past’ give voice to those long gone.

Ransom Riggs has always enjoyed collecting vintage photographs.?This curious habit shaped his 2011 novel "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children," which featured his writing melded with unusual found photographs, a reality -- and a No. 1 best-seller.

"I would look around swap meets as I was collecting photos for 'Miss Peregrine's' which were mainly sort of Edward Gorey-esque photos of odd-looking children from a long time ago," Riggs remembers. "I found plenty of those. But I also kept finding photos with writing on them."

Riggs says that a lot of the photos he stumbled upon were "really boring" and just featured various dates or names. "Many were a big yawn fest," he recalls. "But every now and again, I'd find something so funny or confessional or revelatory or personal that I'd stand back a little and feel like I'd been allowed a unique window into this otherwise lost world."

Those bewitching photos were the ones which made it into his new book, "'Talking Pictures: Images and Messages Rescued from the Past."

It's the various inscriptions such as "Where Daddy was killed,"?written on an otherwise humdrum snapshot of the side of a road or "This was when they loved each other," found on the back of a picture of a smiling couple. Riggs notes that it's your imagination that creates their narrative. "You start to imagine their story, what led to the creation of the photo. It's your imagination that is filling in the giant gaps of who these people were."

 
 
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