This is a Carte de Visite from the Edinburgh studio of J G Tunny. The subject of the portrait is a rather splendid gent with white hair and a matching white beard. One assumes that Victorians such as this were always welcome in the photographic studios of the 1880s - the sparing use of dark colours would have preserved the life of the developing solutions. The reverse of the card suggests that the photograph can be coloured in "oil, water colour or crayon", but there is so little to colour, once again the task would be both easy and cheap.
Tuesday, 10 January 2017
Saturday, 7 January 2017
Beautiful young women and fast cars - there is something almost magnetic in the combination, some attraction that brings the two together. This is nothing new, it's as old as carburettors themselves. This is a re-scan of an old medium format negative of obscure provenance. I would guess - from the car, the clothes and the hair styles - that it was taken in the late 1920s, and there is something about the scene which suggests that it might be English.
Friday, 6 January 2017
There is something unnaturally curvy about this young woman whose photograph was taken at the studios of Scherer & Engler in Dresden, Germany. My best guess at a date would be the late 1870s or early 1880s. The back of the CdV is a delight in itself.
Thursday, 5 January 2017
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
At a guess, I would say that this was taken in the 1920s. I like the idea that the three people stood to one side so that the row of houses is visible. I like the idea that the photographer avoids the telegraph pole out of the head syndrome. But most of all I like the overcoat the chap on the left is wearing. That is an overcoat and a half; an overcoat that can be handed down between generations, an overcoat that has kept a mill-full of weavers occupied for a month.
Monday, 2 January 2017
Say hello to Mr A Davis of 14 James Street in Covent Garden, London. He shouldn't really be featured in a blog devoted to unknown faces from unknown places, because his provenance is writ large in pencil on the reverse of the photograph. But somewhere between the confident smile of a man-about town in the 1930s and now, Mr Davis got lost and ended up in my box of old photographs. Re-touched, re-scanned and refreshed, he is now ready to face the world again.
Sunday, 1 January 2017
When I look at this old photograph of two men in sepia suits sat within a sepia landscape, my eye drifts to the face on the right. I know that man, that look of intensity : although reality dictates that I don't know him at all - he came into my life by chance. However, he passed me in the street the other day, or maybe he popped into my pub for a pint. Or perhaps he is related to my third cousin or married to the women who used to live up the road. And he knows that I know him - you can tell by that questioning look. He is not going to tell me the answer to the riddle - just sit there and smoke his sepia cigarette.