Woman with a jazzy finish

Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Photo measuring 4 x 6 inches.  Traces of glue and dark brown paper along the top of the back suggest it was mounted to something, possibly glued into a cardboard frame.

What I know about it:

Nothing!  Undated and unidentified.


A reader comment on yesterday’s post brought up the topic of photo retouching, and what photographers do to photos in the finishing process.   That made me think of this one.  The shady outlining and the jazzy zigzags aren’t especially to my taste, but they certainly make for an interesting effect.  Without them, my modern eyes would have looked at this woman in her demure pose and old-fashioned (to me) outfit, and my mind would have interpreted her as quaint.  But the thunderbolts she’s been given make me wonder if there’s more to her than meets the eye, and make me suspect there’s more impishness behind her expression than I realized.

12 comments on “Woman with a jazzy finish”

  1. She is handsome – bad hair, though… 😉

  2. I think she’s beautiful. Her dress is amazing…I do a lot of sewing and this dress was most likely handmade. I don’t know how they did it back then but the work is exquisite! … and I love her boots, too! It looks like a special occasion outfit. Even her little necklace is perfect. Who was she and what was the occasion?…I wonder as I usually do with all historical photos.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you like it! I think she looks pretty, too. (I may have to rescan it, though. It somehow looks a bit blue, when it’s just supposed to be gray. Depends which computer I’m viewing it on.) I don’t know anything about sewing, so it’s good to hear from people who do. Her dress looks like it would be challenging to assemble. I have to admit, as much as I like her boots, at first glance they reminded me of ice skates minus the blades. 🙂 And I know what you mean about wondering about the stories behind these old photos. To me that’s definitely part of the fun of looking at them.

      • UPDATE: Okay, I rescanned it to try to make it look more like the real thing. Somehow it was coming out bluish. *sigh* I WILL master my scanner one day, I WILL! LOL

  3. Take away the dress which is actually quite feminine and you see a rather plain looking young woman. She looks like she’d be much more comfortable in different clothing. Although her legs are nicely crossed, she is resting on one hand and the other is awkwardly in her lap. She doesn’t seem used to dressing up posing for pictures.

    And, I want her boots!

    • I agree, though I think it’s true of a lot of these old photos (and even modern portraits) that people often wear clothing, and affect poses and attitudes, that they aren’t used to. Does this look represent what she aspires to, or rather what is expected of her?

  4. Sigh. Poor dear is made to look silly with those photo effects. Is love to have some tea and talk with her about her interests instead of focusing on the photo.

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