Man with hat and without hat

By: usermattw

Aug 22 2011

Tags: ,

Category: Men


What it is:

Two photos, each approx. 3.5 x 3.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Nothing!  Undated and unidentified.


It’s possible to buy large bunches of random photos, particularly old snapshots.  Sorting through a bag of a hundred or so old photos, I said, “Wait, didn’t I just see a guy like that in front of that same fence?”  I rummaged back, and sure enough.  If it’s not the same guy, they sure look alike.  For some reason he’s standing there having his picture taken, once with a hat, and once without.  Upon closer inspection, I realize he has changed jackets, too, if not the entire suit.  (And once, of course, a collie or sheltie or something is trying to get in on the action.)  Who he is and why he’s posing for this photo is anybody’s guess.  But matching together photos from unsorted lots is one of the little treats that comes with this hobby, since even without any identification or much variation, the pair of photos tells us slightly more than only one would, giving us the impression that we know him ever so slightly better.

4 comments on “Man with hat and without hat”

  1. I really like seeing these photos side by side. It looks as though they were taken on the same day, not too far apart in time. The shadow cast on the fence is not much taller on the righthand photo than on the lefthand photo. It’s interesting that with a change of clothes and stance, the same person looks somewhat different. While the cap and buttoned-up jacket, along with the glance away from the camera, make the gentleman look boyish and somewhat awkward, the open jacket, a slight change in the position of hands, and the steady gaze, make the same man look confident and a bit older.

    • I agree that it only takes a couple of tiny changes to make him look different. He does look older in the shot without the hat. Is it the way the light falls on this face? Is the cap a more boyish look? Look at the jacket in the right-hand photo and note that it doesn’t have pockets where the other one does. Is it a subtly more mature style, somehow? The collar and tie are exactly the same, so I doubt those were changed, but I could be wrong. I didn’t even notice all these tiny things until I blew up the scan and looked closer. All I had noticed before was the hat. This is all assuming it’s even the same guy, and not, say, a very similar father and son or brothers or something.

  2. You’re right about the pocketless jacket having a subtly mature style. I think it looks more sophisticated. Also, the other jacket has a crumpled, bunched-up look where it is buttoned.

    I recall hearing that the way to really identify someone is to look at the ears. That’s why ID photos require exposed ears, or so I’ve been told. If you have a magnifying glass, perhaps you can compare the ears! : )

    • I’ve also heard that about ears, that they are as distinctive as fingerprints. I remember seeing something about the claims of various women over the years to being the Romanov princess Anastasia, and how the ears were used to help evaluate those claims in the days before DNA testing. I actually did look at the ears here, but unfortunately I can’t see enough detail. Good idea, though!

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