Whenever I see an old picture of a street scene or a landmark where some unidentified people are also visible, I usually wonder about them. Who were they? What did they do? What sorts of lives did they live?
Here is a street scene from the Galata district of Istanbul. The picture dates from 1888. Note the Ottoman gentleman walking side by side with a woman carrying an umbrella by the horse carriage.
So who were they? Where were they going? What had they had for breakfast that morning? Can we ever have answers to any of those questions?
It is possible in this case some of that information exists. The photographer or someone else who witnessed the taking of the picture might have known the identity of that couple and recorded it somewhere. And that record may still exist.
The couple by the horse carriage was Mehmet Baha Efendi and his wife Behice Hanim.
But it is much more likely that no such record was ever taken or if it was indeed taken, it has since been lost. Therefore, in all likelihood we will never know who those people were.
Not that it matters to know who they were. Even if I knew the information was available somewhere, say, in a library in Istanbul, I wouldn't bother to look it up. I don't actually need to have answers to any of those questions. What intrigues me is not the identities of the forgotten people of the old pictures, but the fact that the information about them is unattainable; it is lost forever.
We will never know who the people in the horse carriage were either.