Four CDVs of young men

By: usermattw

Jul 28 2013

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Men


Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Four cartes de visite (CDVs), each measuring approx. 2.5 x 4 inches.

What I know about it:

Bottom left photographer is L. Hodgkins of Pittsfield, Vermont.  Bottom right photographer is C. H. Williamson’s Photographic Portrait Gallery (“Established 1851”) of Brooklyn, New York.  Otherwise no information.


These four photos all came as part of the same purchase, and I assumed they were all connected somehow.  On closer inspection, however, I realized they aren’t.  They are from different parts of the country, and the men don’t look related.  I realized that my mistake was in allowing the similarity in the format to influence my assumptions about their origins.  My modern eyes are distracted by everything about these photos, the matching sizes, the matching borders, etc., when I have to remember that such factors were standard then, and people in those days would be used to them, and would immediately see past them to the individuals pictured.  (I’m guessing these are from the late 1860s, by the way, but please let me know if you have a different opinion.)  I think it’s somewhat similar to the way Shakespearean sonnets might all sound the same to you if you are only used to reading modern free verse, or how liturgical music might all sound the same to you if you are only used to hearing rock and roll.  Once your mind has adjusted to the standards of the different genre or format, it’s easier to see the rich variety within it.  I find that with photography, it’s still an ongoing process for me.  Meanwhile, here are four interesting faces from out of the past to stare at.

4 comments on “Four CDVs of young men”

  1. They also all have facial hair. 🙂

  2. Great photos and facial hair!

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