Monday, December 10, 2012

A Mysterious Antique Photo of a Young Woman

I don't really know what to say about this photo - it's just something I find visually interesting.  

It's not large - just over 5 inches tall and 4 inches wide, and there is no writing or photographer information on it.

The clothing and the mounting date this to the early 20th century, but I can't really say how early.  I assume, because it's mounted on cardboard with gold trim, that it was taken by a professional photographer.    Amateur snapshots started showing up in the early 20th century, but I think this is more professional than that.

Everything about this photo seems somewhat unique, to me. 

Starting from the top - she's wearing some kind of cap or hat that you didn't see many women wearing, at least in photos.  Most women's hats of the era were big, elaborate, flowery, feathery things.  This one is hard to make out in any detail - there is a band of cloth going around it, and I can't make out a brim or bill or anything else.  It looks almost like a pillbox hat.

She's wearing a tie, and what looks like a white vest - quite masculine - with hands either in her dress or jacket pockets.  My wife would be able to tell you what kind of sleeves those are on the jacket, but I don't dare even conjecture.  She's wearing a long ankle length dress, and I cannot make out her shoes in any kind of detail.  I suspicion they are lace up boots, but that's but I have no way to prove it.  She's probably wearing a corset, but who knows.  Her hair appears short, and she's looking slightly away from the camera.  The background is a plain wall, no chairs, plants, statues, pedestals or props of any kind.  That, all by itself, is interesting.

I don't know if anyone else sees what I see in this photo or not.  To me, the whole thing pretty mysterious.   A young woman was photographed 100 to 110 years ago, and that's about all I can  say about it with any kind of certainty.

She's young, late teens or early 20s.  Is she dressed stylishly for the time, or did she just get off the boat from some eastern European country?  I don't know.   

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