If there is a clear visual marker of the boundary between professional and amateur photography in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it is the trip outside. Professional photographers were studio based and their portraits tended to be formal affairs with drapes, chairs and prop vases. When photography became an amateur hobby, photographers had to go outside in order to achieve the necessary light levels for the technical requirements of the time. This unknown family is a perfect example of that trip outside.
Tuesday, 14 March 2017
These are scans of two medium format negatives that appeared in my collection from somewhere. They certainly are not mine, no do they belong to anyone in the family. The two negatives were joined and therefore we can assume they are of the same city. There is quite obviously a major river crossing and a military presence - and a certain middle eastern look to the dress of the locals. Could this possibly be Egypt in the 1950s?
Friday, 10 March 2017
This is a scan of a tiny print - not much bigger than an oversize postage stamp - which cannot be blamed for getting lost, falling down the back of a drawer, or whatever. It was so faded, the subject was completely indistinguishable from the background sepia blur. But scanned and repaired, fixed and tweaked - London in the 1920s emerges like it is emerging from a thick London fog. You can just make out Tower Bridge in the distance and that is the bulk of Cannon Street Station in the foreground. The photograph must have been taken from the top of St Paul's Cathedral.
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
This is not a picture from nowhere - it is a picture from the photographic studios of Jac Uebach in Krefeld, Germany. Known as the "city of silk and velvet", Krefeld is the centre of Germany's textile industry. The production of such fine textiles depends on the careful teasing out of fine threads : just the kind of skill that was needed to produce a splendid moustache like the one in the photograph.
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
I have no idea who this woman is. There was, however, something rather familiar about the look, the set of her jaw, the angularity of her chin. I did a Google image search and it suggested the following matches:-
Clearly, technology has some way to go yet.
Monday, 6 March 2017
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche with his sister Terese Elisabeth and the family dog. OK, if truth be told, it isn't them, it is some unknown elderly couple in their garden in Cleckheaton (or some such place). But they look as though they have had thoughts that have changed the world. Maybe they have.