Stiff pose, relaxed pose

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What it is:

Two cartes de visite (CDVs), each measuring approx. 2.25 x 4 inches.


What I know about it:

Photographer of the photo on the right is Brownell & Rogers of Williamsburgh, L.I. [Long Island, New York].  No information on the one on the left.



Both of these young men were apparently attempting similar poses.  But the one on the left looks so uncomfortably stiff that his neck is creased at the jawline, and the one on the right seems so relaxed he looks rumpled.  I bought these two in a group of CDVs that seem to mostly be from around the 1860s, and I’m guessing that’s the ballpark date range here.  But it’s fascinating to me how they convey such different tones, how such subtle variations give such different messages about the people posing.  The formality of the one on the left is, to me, more stereotypical of the times, which is why it’s fun to have the other one to compare it to.  That said, I like both very much.

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