Chance Developments (2015), by Alexander McCall Smith

If you agree with me that every good photograph tells a story, then I have a book for you – only, however, if you find Alexander McCall Smith’s tales “charming” or at least “inviting”, not if they strike you as “corny”. The book is Chance Developments, published in 2015. He took five vintage photographs, snapshots really, of ordinary people doing ordinary things, taken from early- to mid-twentieth century, and wrote a short story for each. If you are familiar with his work (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and others) you’ll know that pretty much everyone lives happily-ever-after, or they at least learn a valuable lesson trying. The photos were all from an age when a photograph was not a photograph unless it was a print, which begs the question of whether people a hundred years from now will be able to look back and wonder about our photos if they are only ones and zeros in an inaccessible format. I give this book four f-stops (out of five).

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