Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More antique shop finds - Pondering Portrait photos

Excuse the crooked posted images. I don't have my photo editing program up and running on my new computer yet...

I found these two lovely young ladies on last week's antique shopping sojourn. Professional portraits are an art form unto themselves. The lovely outfits, careful poses, and chosen props are much as one would find in a painted portrait.

I was especially intrigued by the girl on the right in her big hat that frames her into the scene from the top, while the grate and platform upon which she stands frame her from the right and the bottom. Her straight arm braces the scene on the remaining side, forming a perfect circular movement around which my eye is retained in the photo for a clever composition.

The photo on the right is of a girl who looks very much like my daughter and first attracted me for that reason. Her curly hair decorated with flowers gives her an angel like appearance. I wonder the occasion for such fancy dress.

Photos such as these mark memorable events or milestones in one's life. the expense of professional portraiture (then and now -- and I'm not talking the portraits you have done at Sears) are usually reserved for moments that you wish to capture forever. While the art historian in me evaluates composition and context, the archivist in me digs a little deeper to wonder even more about the lives of these individuals. Not only do I wonder the reason why these images were made, I wonder how they got separated from their families. Where did these people live? Were the images once part of an album? How would the families feel if they knew I found these in a little shop outside of Concord? It is remarkable to consider how the papers and tokens of our lives outlive us and make others ponder.

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