Man alone, arms folded

By: usermattw

Feb 05 2023

Tags: , ,

Category: Men


Click here to view it larger.

Here’s another of the pictures I bought at the book fair yesterday. It’s an old CDV (2.5 x 4 inches) that caught my eye with its simplicity. It’s not uncommon for pictures that old to show a person in a studio setting that is free of adornment, with no scenic backdrop or props or the like. Here, the pattern on the floor is about as elaborate as it gets. But this photo shows how all the extras really aren’t needed, since this image is compelling as is. I’m fascinated, as always, by the way fashions circulate through history, since this young man’s face, including the beard and mustache, wouldn’t be out of place today. There is no information about who he is or where this photo was taken, so any ideas about what he’s trying to project in this photo are ideas we have to provide ourselves. By the way, it wasn’t until I enlarged the photo that I noticed the snazzy fabric of his pants.

5 comments on “Man alone, arms folded”

  1. His pose is very unusual. He was a snappy dresser! I’m thinking this was a Civil War photo, likely taken before August 1864, when tax stamps were introduced on photos. If not, then after August 1866, when photos were exempted from taxation, but I don’t think it could have been long after that. Either way, a great find!

    • It does seem to be around that era. The flooring and the overall look give me that impression. A clothing expert might be able to pinpoint it better. I also bought a few that have the tax stamps, and will post those soon, but this one is completely blank on the back.

  2. When the photographer wasn’t identified, that sometimes meant he or she wasn’t working commercially. Female photographers often weren’t identified for that reason. Itinerant photographers also sometimes worked anonymously. This one is certainly intriguing!

  3. It just occurred to me that if this was a private photo, not done for purchase, it probably wouldn’t require a tax stamp.

    • Good point about the itinerant photographers. I have a couple that are labeled as itinerant, or even some “railcar” photographers. But that definitely makes sense with the anonymous ones. And you must be right about not needing stamps if no fee was charged!

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