Tintype of a man and a boy on a bench

What it is:

Tintype measuring 2.25 x 3.25 inches.

What I know about it:

Nothing!  Undated and unidentified.


For some reason, I’ve never been very partial to tintypes.  While I appreciate why there were popular in their day, I find them a little hard to see, typically a little dark, usually rather small, and frequently scratched or corroded.  I love the way a photograph can transport you to another time and place, and my preference is often for larger, crystal-clear images that make such an effect easy to achieve.  Tintypes usually require more work, so I tend to skip over them as I’m browsing through my collection.  But lately I’m starting to recognize the reward of peering closely at a tintype, straining to see it through the darkness and damage.   As the image suddenly comes into focus for me, I am all at once aware of faces staring back at me across time, as if advancing through a fog, and an act of simple observation becomes a moment of realization.

2 comments on “Tintype of a man and a boy on a bench”

  1. Interesting that so early in the photographic era, in a studio setting, the poses are so casual. The man didn’t even bother to straighten his tie.

    • I have a number of photos of men in even more formal portraits whose ties are what we would consider to be completely askew. I’ll have to post one soon. It makes me wonder if there were different standards for the necktie back then. For instance, perhaps it was treated almost like a loose-hanging kerchief tie. Or perhaps an askew tie was a deliberate way of showing casualness. I really don’t know.

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