Cleaned up

By: usermattw

Apr 25 2012

Tags: , ,

Category: Men


What it is:

Carte de visite (CDV) measuring 2.5 x 4 inches.

What I know about it:

Nothing!  Undated and unidentified.  No photographer’s information.


Maybe it’s just me, but this looks like a guy who isn’t quite used to getting all cleaned up and spruced up for special occasions, and yet here he is getting his picture taken.  Perhaps as a keepsake for a sweetheart, or to send to relatives back home?  In any case, he’s going through what he needs to do for the moment, and I find his efforts charming.

10 comments on “Cleaned up”

  1. What’s that pinned to his collar: a sprig of berries? He does have that puffy, freshly shaved look and what appears to be an extra dollop of bear grease on his hair.

    • I’m not sure what that is, maybe a little sprig of berries or some delicate flowers. I’m trying to figure out what I assume is a tie pin. It seems like it should be a recognizable shape, almost like a bird in flight or dolphin or something, but I’m not sure what it is.

  2. The pin resembles Native American designs. I wonder if it’s too early for white Americans to be tuned into Native art?

    • Hmm, interesting, I don’t know. I guess that’s a two-part question. First, is this a Native American design. Second, regardless of whether or not it is, would native designs have been incorporated into non-native fashion by that point? I don’t know offhand, but that’s an intriguing suggestion. Does anyone know?

      • Great photo, Matt! I really like this one, and I agree with you that he seems to be a little out of character here in a suit. It’s charming though. I like the hint of uncertainty in his eyes. Or maybe I’m imagining that, but he looks a little bit concerned about something…probably this fresh new look he’s sporting. 🙂

        I’m no expert on the subject, but I have done a fair amount of research around the late 19th century. As far as I can tell, Native American art would not have been too likely to be seen and worn by a non-native at that time, as there was a lot of conflict between the races. Of course, I could be mistaken, and this photo appears to be perhaps early 20th century, so maybe at that point, it could have been different. It’s hard to tell what that pin is meant to look like. Oddly enough, if you imagine it being turned up, it might look like a parrot shaped bird or something like that. That’s almost as unlikely as it being a Native American design. One of those great mysteries, I suppose.

        Great image, and thanks for sharing. I really love this blog!

      • Thanks, Jenna! I was thinking along similar lines. There were certainly examples of “foreign” influences on fashion and design, such as the incorporation of Asian styles, or the 1920s fascination with all things Egyptian after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, but it seems like there was too much direct, recent conflict between Native Americans and non-Natives for one to be willingly and happily adopting the artistic themes of the other. Of course, we’re assuming this guy isn’t at least part Native American himself. And this is all under the assumption that his pin reflects some sort of Native American imagery. At first glance it always looks to me like some sort of stylized dolphin, or bird in flight, but the longer I look at it, the more puzzled I get. In any case, thanks as always for visiting and commenting! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the blog.

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