La Vie Boheme?

What it is:

Cabinet card measuring just under 6.5 x 4.25 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is Jiri Lomicek of Kladno (a suburb of Prague in the present-day Czech Republic).  Otherwise undated and unidentified.

Comments:

The Bohemian life has come to be cultural shorthand for a life of artistic extravagance and willful nonconformity.  But here we have three people standing around on a front landing in Bohemia looking utterly conventional.  Well, perhaps they live a wild life behind closed doors.  (Speaking of closed doors, I love these, nicely carved, with European dimensions.)  There are a few things about this photo that I find unusual, though not unique.  First, I think it is fairly rare to see such an informal, candid photo done up as a cabinet card.  It is also less common to see one done in this horizontal fashion (landscape instead of portrait, if you will).  And then there’s that blue tint.  I have several photos from this era, particularly from Europe, that have this blue cast to them.  I’ve begun to try to look into what that’s about, but my early efforts haven’t yielded anything so far.  Is this the result of chemicals in the development process?  There are photos called cyanotypes, created with a process that leaves photos the color of blueprints (in fact, it’s the same process), but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.  Is it perhaps just a stylistic choice using blue paper?  I’m really not sure, but when I figure it out, I’ll post another blue photo and let you know (unless somebody can let me know in the comments).

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