Saturday, October 30, 2010

Glass Negative Nudes

I've got to find the money to set up my darkroom. Some more images from back in the day when I was a professional photo printer. I made these from a couple of glass negatives that I picked up at an antique store. The one model seems to be channeling Louise Brooks, which gives a date from late teens to late twenties.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Drunk Driver

Contrary to what most people now think, prohibition wasn't an idea of the blue nose anti-sin crowd. Rather, it was a reaction to massive alcohol abuse in the United States, especially in the years right after World War 1. I hope the driver is drinking water, but considering the era, I doubt it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carte de Visite, From Peru, Iowa

I'm getting through the cache of old carte de visites that I recently found in an old box in the closet. This one is from the studios of B. C. Daily of Peru, Iowa, and probably dates from around the Civil War to the 1870s. Peru is an unincorporated community in Madison County, Iowa. The town had a post office that opened on April 18, 1853 that closed for good on September 14, 1903. A sure sign of a town in decline, when the post office closes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Heinz 57 Varieties

This photo is another one from my early days of collecting, and faded as it is, it's also a favorite. I grew up in western Pennsylvania, the home of Heinz, the ketchup and relish manufacturer. With it 57 varieties, Heinz was a huge presence in Pittsburgh, it's corporate headquarters. The football stadium that is home field for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is named for Heinz. And yes, I'm sure that they paid for the right. Take a close look, click to bring it up in a bigger window if needed, and you'll see that these two ladies are holding Heinz products. The can with the keystone label is probably Heinz baked beans. I should know, I ate a couple of cans of Heinz baked beans every week of my childhood. The taller lady is holding a bottle that is in the shape of an old relish container.

A Small Photo

A very small and very old photograph. At only 2 inches on the long dimension, it's about the size of a modern wallet photo. She seems to be sitting at one of the old fashioned school desks with the seat attached to the front of the desk to the rear in the class room row of desks.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

German Mystery Postcards

Two real photo postcard submissions in a row. Unlike the Currie Boys post, this one presented a bit of a mystery. There is some German written on the backs of these two cards, and when I saw the name Karlstein, the first thing I did was go to the atlas and fine a Karlstein, Germany. But then, I noticed a very light photo lab mark, in the shape of a fish, "FOTORYBKA, PRAHA." Or in English, Prague, Czechoslovakia (Now the Czech Republic.) So, it was off to the Google translations sight to see if I could make out what was written. Well, who ever wrote the notes, didn't have the greatest handwriting in the world, and I was only able to do a partial translation. Any words that I couldn't translate are represented by a parenthesis, and the number indicates the number of words not translated. On the image of the couple walking, the lady carrying a fox stole, "Georgine and Edie Anderle on the way from a (1) day above (1) in the National Theater in Prague. National Theater, happy days behind us." Then there is a symbol that matches the one on the photo to identify the building. On the other image, "From one of our flights from the Karlstein Castle 8 VIII 1943 from (3) one (2) here." The names "Eduard Anderle, Georgine" are written on the edge of the card, but not part of the message. Well, a couple of things. Georgine seems to be younger in the first photo, but I can't be 100% sure of that because of the hat. It covers too much of her face. The man really is older in the second picture. Listed as Eduard on one card and Edi on the other, it could have been an older relative, perhaps father and son. Edi, the diminutive is on the younger man's photo, perhaps an indication. And 1943, at the height of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. Were Georgine and Edi Germans on vacation, or was he a Nazi official there for the occupation? Or perhaps, they were Czechs, who wrote German and sent these two images along to a friend or family member in Germany. They could, after all, have been Sudeten, Germans, Czech nationals in the German speaking area along the German, Czech border. Karlstein Castle is in the town of Karlstein in the Czech Republic. Construction was started in 1348. I have found some photos that match the postcard, so I'm certain that it was taken in Czechoslovakia.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Currie Boys

There was a time when every professional photo finisher and home darkroom had real photo postcard stock on hand. So much nicer to receive family photos rather than a picture of the local business district, church, or city hall. Each of these two photo postcards has "Minnie Streitmutter" written on the edge. The threesome is labeled, "Jim, Tom, Don Currie." But was Minnie a favorite aunt or one of the brothers' girlfriend?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seated Little Boy

I know that I've written about my lack of interest in photographs of children. No, I haven't changed my mind, but I do have pictures that feature kids, and so it's time to start putting some of them up. Without other, dated photos, of children for comparison, it's not possible for me to guess on the date, but if anyone out there can look at the lace up boots, and shirt and put an era on this image, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Old Soldiers

All I know about these two old, faded (I had to darken these images when I scanned them.) photographs is that they pre-date World War 2. But what I don't know is where they were taken. I really doubt that the soldier with the beret is an American.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Masonic CDV

I haven't suddenly gone crazy for the carte de visite. It's just that, in sorting through some old boxes, I found a cache of them and almost all of them are from my early days of collecting from when I was living in Pennsylvania, and when I first started collecting I put too much emphasis on age. I liked this one because of the Masonic symbols on the back of the card.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Girls of Union High

I've been gathering up old photos for decades, and this small group of images was one of the first collections of related photographs that I ever bought. Purchased in western Pennsylvania, it shows some young girls, and a few adults in a small town. My guess is that these images are from around the World War 1 era to the early twenties. But is this a company town, a community built by a coal company for it's workers, or just a poor rural township in the hills of Pennsylvania? Written on the back of the horizontal image, "Left to right. Mariam Cosley, Thelma Allenbaugh, Irene Forgie, Alice, Elma Evans, Freshman year at Union High School." I've always thought that Alice must have been related to the photographer, so no last name was needed. The two girls sitting on the railing, "Left to right. Thelma Allenbaugh, Elma Evans. Freshman year at Union High." On the picture with the winking girl, "Left to right. Irene Forgie, Elma Evans, Freshman year at Union High." I think Elma must have been the clever, fun one of the class. The two older woman in the long dresses. "Miss Helen Johnston Algebra I teacher U.H.S. at right. Miss Eleanor Fuller Geog. I teach U.H.S. at left. Freshman year." The longer shot with the girl standing on the rock, "Grace Cosley. Freshman year." Mariam's sister from the horizontal image? The three girls standing with the two sitting, "Standing from left to right are Grace Cosley, Bertha Kreiger, Elma Evans. Sitting Left, Thelma Allenbaugh. Right Irene Forgie. Freshman year." Elma is looking down in this one. Was Bertha the most popular girl in school, and did she make the normally gregarious Elma a little self conscious? Or perhaps she is worried that she might fall off the rock on which she is standing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Middle Aged Woman With Brooch

I'm not even going to take a guess on when these two pictures were taken other than to say that they're probably not too old. This lady has the all most generic look of middle aged woman transitioning into an early old age. Also, the look of an official portrait, a teacher, local council member, or church lady. Say aged 50 to 60. A bit of a snarl in the first picture.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Third Creighton?

In the last two posts, I've put up CDVs of Kate Creighton, who I think is the mother of Louise Creighton, featured in the second of the two Creighton collections. Is this a third Creighton? This portrait is labeled "Kate Creighton" but the hair is straight and a different color. I thought it might have been mislabeled, but the chin shape differs from Louise and is much closer to Kate. There is a third possibility. While it is far more common for sons to named after fathers, it's not unheard of to name a daughter for a mother. The one thing that I'm curious about is that this young lady has pierced ears. Nothing decorative about the photographers stamp on this one, so I didn't bother to scan it in. "JOHN P. ORR. Photographer, 4 doors East of Lowery House, Jefferson Street, BUTLER, PA"

Louise Creighton, the Daughter

In my last post, I put up a CDV of Kate Creighton, a young woman who I think was very likely the mother of Louise Creighton, the subject of this post. Kate had her picture taken in Philadelphia, PA, while Louise had hers done in western Pennsylvania. The oval photograph with the water stains along the edges was taken at the Mammoth Gallery, McIntire & Co. studio from Butler, Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. The clean oval, and what seems to be the middle image in age range, was from Triece's in Blairsville, PA, east of Pittsburgh. And finally, H. Bishop from Pittsburgh, itself. And no, it's not a misprint. There was a time in the 19th century when Pittsburgh lost the H.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kate Creighton, the Mother

I have five images of the Creighton family, this one of the mother and three more of the daughter which will be posted within the next couple of days, and a wild card mystery image. This carte de visite was taken by a photographer in Philadelphia. The child, taken at three different ages was taken by three different photographers in three different communities in western Pennsylvania.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Back when I worked at the photo lab, the digital dept. guys kept wanting to make the silly argument that digital was superior because it could be manipulated. Well, this image is from the 19th century, and it has been manipulated. I'm not sure how it was done, other than the general observation that coloring was added to give it a painterly look. I suspect that the original was bleached back to an almost ghost like density, and then the inks were added. By the by, bleaching back an image is done before a print is made a sepia tone.

Carte de Visite, CDV With Hat

This CDV was rather crudely made. I used the scanner to square up the image, but the actual picture, an albumen print, was trimmed out with a very ragged edge, and then pasted, off center, on the card. Unlike the Daguerreotype and ambrotype, carte de visites were cheap to produce, and made it possible for lower income people to have their picture taken and for a young man on the make to get into a non labor profession for a small up front investment. The high collar makes the subject look very statue like, at least to me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Rocking Horse Chair

I know that I've written that I'm not all that interested in pictures of children, and that hasn't changed. Like the Betty Jane Easterly post (9-10-10) I'm fascinated by the kid's toy as well as the contrast with the Easterly picture. Betty Jane had an expensive looking, factory built toy car. This child has what looks like a hand made rocking chair made to look like a horse. Click on the image to blow it up and the rough cut texture of the foot board can be more clearly seen. And the painted horse imagery, very folk art.