In Summer and
Autumn of 1917, teenage Elsie Wright and her adolescent
cousin, Frances Griffiths, borrowed a glass-plate camera from Wright’s father
and tromped to Cottingley Beck,
in West Yorkshire. They photographed each other on the bank of the stream and
in the grass of a sun-dappled glen—and also captured some special guests.
One image shows Griffiths, looking wistful, chin in hand,
with a cavorting troupe of fairies. In another, a smiling Wright greets a gnome
high-stepping through the grass.