Couple from Saint Louis, Missouri

What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is Julius Gross & Co. of St. Louis, Mo.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.


To me, there’s something intimate in the way they are turned towards each other, formal in the way they aren’t looking at each other, and pensive in the way they aren’t even looking at the camera.  An interesting blend of attitudes.   I don’t recall seeing many eyeglasses in photos this old, so I’m intrigued to see his.   Similarly, her hand on his arm strikes me as a less common gesture in photos of that time than a hand on the shoulder, seeming at once more intimate and more possessive.  (I’ll have to keep an eye out for that gesture to see how frequent it is and how it reads elsewhere, since maybe I just haven’t been observant.)  I’m glad of the way she’s turned because of the view it provides of her dress, though I don’t know if that was intentional.  This is all assuming, of course, that they had anything to say in the matter, and that the whole thing wasn’t minutely arranged by the photographer, irrespective of the couple’s actual relationship.

7 comments on “Couple from Saint Louis, Missouri”

  1. I’m intrigued by the glasses as well. I don’t know how long spectacles have been around, but for some reason, I expect someone from this photo’s time period to be wearing pince nez or a monocle!

  2. Matt, is is strange for her to have her face so turned away from the camera? Just looks a bit off to me, like maybe she’s hiding something wrong with the other side of her face? Love the glasses! 🙂

    • It’s not unheard of, since I have others like it, it just strikes me as unusual. Sort of an artsy gesture, since even he is looking a bit off center.

      • Hmm, I think I managed to confuse myself as I was answering this. LOL I don’t think a person turning away from the camera is unusual at all, though I think it’s slightly unusual for them to both be looking away, and in different directions. I guess in the first comments I was examining what the thinking may have been behind the pose (as if I could ever really know). 🙂

  3. I love this one. Not only is it an artistic and creative pose, but the couple in this image look like they really want to smile. Just in their gestures (her hand on his arm, his relaxed way of sitting) makes me think that they get along well. They seem like the kind of couple that might always be flirting a bit. 🙂 Of course, I could be way off, but that’s what I see in this image.

    Thanks for posting it!

    • I agree, they seem to at least be smiling with their eyes. Guessing the deeper meaning of what we are seeing in these photos is part of the challenge of looking at them, but also part of the pleasure.

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