Dapper man with two-part backdrop

By: usermattw

Nov 01 2011

Tags: ,

Category: Men


What it is:

Photo (approx. 4 x 5.5 inches) with mounting traces on the back.  (Actually, it was rather roughly chopped from a photo album, leaving not only the album page still glued to the back, but portions of other old photos!)

What I know about it:

Nothing!  Undated and unidentified.


I am intrigued by this two-part backdrop.  It’s nicely arranged in combination with the actual chair to give extra visual interest and depth, but there is no effort made to disguise the fact that it is fake, down to the brace on the floor.  Surely people back then weren’t fooled by this?  Probably it was just such a common device that it was an ordinary part of the visual vocabulary and people didn’t give it a second thought.  I think it’s a handsome portrait regardless.

8 comments on “Dapper man with two-part backdrop”

  1. Now that you mention it, are you sure the man is three-dimensional?

  2. “Visual vocabulary” – I love the term and must remember it!

  3. So detailed and clear!

    • I agree! Sometimes old photos have a sort of muddy, fuzzy look, and you just assume that’s the best they could do back then. But then along comes a photo like this that reminds you of the possibilities of the technology, and you have to assume the photos that are less clear are either the result of the photographer’s lack of skill or the photographer’s stylistic choice. The photos of Julia Margaret Cameron are a good example of this, where you assume her hazy portraiture was simply a reflection of the limits of her abilities until you see one that’s crystal clear and you realize that the haziness was a choice.

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