Woman and baby in Mansfield, Ohio

Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Photo measuring 4 x 6 inches, glued into a cardboard folder/frame (which I have cropped from this scan).


What I know about it:

Photographer is The Bechtel and Spratt Studio in Mansfield, Ohio.



This photo is silvering pretty badly, but I thought I’d share it anyway, because it amuses me.  What stands out for me in this otherwise conventional photo is the baby’s face, looking almost adult with its smirk.  By the way, I searched for the photographer.  While I didn’t find an overall bio, I found several little clues, mostly ads placed in trade journals as far back as 1913, including a couple looking for a “lady retoucher and general assistant”, and a notice from 1916 that they were moving their studio from their location “of many years” on North Park Street to a new location in the Underwood building on West Fourth Street.  (“The new studio was designed especially for the use of the firm and has many of the natural advantages that are much needed in portrait work.”)  This was followed by a notice in 1918 that the partnership was dissolving, with Bechtel staying in the current location, and Spratt buying out a photographer in a different location who was retiring.  This suggests that the photo above would have been taken no later than 1918.

2 comments on “Woman and baby in Mansfield, Ohio”

  1. I know someone whose Instagram is filled with pictures of her baby looking like he is not only totally conscious, but gave his advice on the styling of the photo–it’s cute but also a little unsettling. (BTW, I agree the photo looks like it was taken in the teens, judging by the clothing.)

    • I suppose seeing adult characteristics in the faces of children is a bit like anthropomorphizing animals, but it’s hard not to do it.

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