Tall young man with a short chair

By: usermattw

Nov 28 2016

Tags: , ,

Category: Men


Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.


What I know about it:

Photographer is Ella L. Buck of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.



I suspect the combination of the chair’s height and the backdrop’s perspective make him look taller than he is, but maybe it’s just the opposite, that he’s a giant making everything else look small.  I ended up with a bunch of photos purchased together that were all from Fort Atkinson or nearby places like Milwaukee.  They aren’t labelled, so I can’t be sure if they are related in any way, but it’s fun to stare at faces and try to find a family resemblance.  Though it is undated, the card’s layout and the clothing make me think it comes generally from the range of 1885-1895, though I am happy to hear if anybody has a better suggestion.  Also, when I looked at the enlarged scan, I saw that somebody had manually drawn black dots to enhance his eyes.  It was done well enough that I didn’t notice it before.

6 comments on “Tall young man with a short chair”

  1. The deckled edges are 1890s. Nice image and I agree about the forced perspective.

    • Thanks for helping me narrow down the date range. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks there’s a slight optical illusion here. 🙂

  2. I suppose deckled edges move in and out of vogue. In the 1950s when I worked in a photo studio belonging to Matt’s grandfather, they were also very popular. I spent many hours trimming the edges of photos with a deckled paper cutter.

    • Yes, indeed! I remember those old photos, and have ones with similar edges in my collection. In this case, the cabinet card is a photo mounted onto a hard cardboard backing, and it’s the hard board that has been deckled. Other design elements, like the gilt edges and the lettering, are also clues which helped me date it. Luckily Mrs. Marvel stepped in with the extra bit of information that I was too tired to research when I posted this last night. 🙂

  3. Wasn’t it rare to have a female own a photography studio back then (if Ella is female)?

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