Family from New Haven, Connecticut

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What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is F. A. Bowman of New Haven, Connecticut.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.


Here’s another apparent girl with shorter hair than I’m used to seeing in such old photos.  Maybe I just haven’t been paying enough attention.  This looks like a nice trio.  It’s interesting to compare and contrast the dresses.  The technique of fading out the photo at the edges seems to have the effect of leaving their bodies richly detailed while washing out their faces.  I have mixed feeling about that, going back and forth about whether I find it appealing or a detraction.

6 comments on “Family from New Haven, Connecticut”

  1. Other than the pleated skirts, there seem to be so many differences between the mother’s and daughter’s outfits. Kids and grownups in family photos today would probably be wearing almost the same things.

    I just looked up “family photo” to see what would come up, and one of the first images (possibly a stock photo) shows a grandma and a grandson wearing practically the same pants. That never would have happened in the time period of this New Haven family!

    • I guess I was thinking mostly of the similarities in the overall silhouettes, not counting the woman’s more, um, womanly figure. I don’t know all the terminology, but the way both dresses seem to widen like a bell below the waist where there are suddenly horizontal folds of fabric, then perpendicular lines formed by pleats going the rest of the way down. And both have some sort of panel going up the front center, the mother’s tightly fitted and the girl’s loose and billowy. Otherwise, yes, there are loads of little details that are different.

  2. I quite like the effect of the washed out faces and heightend clothing.

  3. Thinking over your points about the outfits, I think you’re right–there are a lot of similarities that I missed, like the tight long sleeves and the cuffs. I think the loose waist on the girl is just so different from the hard-beetle-shell of the mom’s, that it took over in my mind. And their hair is quite different. There would also be the telltale shorter skirt for the girl–I don’t think we have anything like that now, that you actually cast off as you reach a certain age. But there are more echoes than I saw at first.

    • Well, it’s just a matter of perspective, and what we bring to looking at these things. Your broader experience of looking at vintage clothes might lead you to focus on the details like that more, while I’m new enough that the overall shape still strikes me. And even that is just a generalization. That’s why it’s nice when we have each other (and other readers) to challenge our assumptions and help draw our attention to different perspectives. 🙂

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