skiagraphia

skiagraphia

Posted on 05/31/2013


Photo taken on December 30, 2010


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portrait
cased image
ambrotype
early photography
American
USA
photograph
vintage
antique
sixth plate


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Four abandoned ancestors: I. The mother and the daughter

Four abandoned ancestors: I. The mother and the daughter
6th plate ambrotype
unidentified American photographer, ca. 1860
entry number: amb.2010.04.

This is one of a group of four ambrotypes that I acquired in 2010, which have apparently belonged to one single unidentified family. The group comprises this young lady posing with her child, a young gentleman (most likely the lady`s husband) and two portraits of an aged woman.

I have a taste for saving severely damaged early photographs, and this portrait certainly shows many of those unwanted "qualities". A bluish haze of decayed collodium surrounds the impression of a confident woman holding her daughter, who wears - rather atypically for her age - a little gown and a gold-tinted necklace. Together with her potential husband, they have the air of a young urban bourgeois couple on their way to succes. I just wonder what did the Civil War bring to them.

All four ambrotypes lost their cases and protective devices long ago, if I am to judge from their appaling condition. They seem to have been affected by uncareful handling and moisture, rather than prolonged sunlight - so they may have spent much of their history forgotten in the attic. I`m intending to devise some sort of provisional archival housing for them, until I`ll manage to find some reasonable new cases.

***

View this ambrotype on Flickr.

Josef Novák, BeautyOfThePast have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Nylonbleu
Nylonbleu
I love the three portrait you have posted, but this is my real favorite, the woman looks so alive, so contemporary, it is fabulous !
3 years ago.
skiagraphia
skiagraphia
Thank you, this is my favourite as well from this set of four ambrotypes. I'm moved by the way that engaging gaze breaks through the battered surface.
3 years ago.