The Long Way Home


Paper Moon Diary
January 26, 2014, 9:43 AM
Filed under: Vintage Photo Album | Tags: , , , ,
Tintype, early 1900s.

Tintype, early 1900s.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with paper moons, finding it difficult to resist that sinister smile on Mr. Moon’s skinny little face. Paper Moon is one of my favorite films (I love the book too, Addie Pray, on which it’s based), and over the years, I’ve added a few to my  vintage photo collection. (Okay, more than a few, so I’ll share more of these in a future post.) Paper moon photography, according to this article from the Hutchinson News, was  popular from the late 1800s to 1930s – think of them as a photo booth precursor, a way for people to capture a silly moment when going to a carnival or state fair. It wasn’t practice yet for people to smile at the camera, so finding one of those too is always a treat.

Group portrait, 1890s.

Group portrait, 1890s.

On back: "I can't remember whether I have your last letter or not so guess you will have to writ and tell me all the news. Everything is well, I had a sick spell and got over it. Love, Dolly."

On back: “I can’t remember whether I have your last letter or not so guess you will have to write and tell me all the news. Everything is well, I had a sick spell and got over it. Love, Dolly.”

My first paper moon image: stereoscope found in a Gettysburg flea market.

My first paper moon image: stereoscope found in a Gettysburg flea market.

A stoic couple, 1910s.

A carnival-worn couple, 1910s.

Edwardian mother and son. I love the moon's face on this one.

Edwardian mother and son. I love the moon’s face on this one.

Tintype, 1890s. Note the tiny details on this one: the woman's black mitts, the painted sky background, how the man holds on to the top of the moon.

Tintype, 1890s. Note the tiny details on this one: the woman’s black mitts, the painted sky background, how the man holds on to the top of the moon.

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Painted Backdrops
March 21, 2012, 9:06 PM
Filed under: Vintage Photo Album | Tags: , , ,

father and daughter

I’ve been obsessed with trompe l’oeil paintings since I was a kid, begging my mother to create an entire forest scene on my bedroom wall (I still want one!). When looking through old photos, I sometimes buy them just for their painted backdrops. Our friend Steve tipped me off to collector Jim Linderman‘s The Painted Backdrop: Behind the Sitter in American Tintype Photography, which provides a great history on this very subject. The photos featured in this post are from our own collection. The tintype above is my favorite for many reasons – the bored expression and unladylike pose of the girl, the cigar that her father is holding, the unintentionally exposed wooden beam holding the backdrop. Painted scenes are like fairy tales, as if while turning the pages of the book I am reading, I can walk right into it and escape into another world.

at the window

Jeff's great-grandfather William Dye

a girl from Prague

sisters



Two by Two

I keep my vintage photos stacked neatly in a small black trunk that was the money box at our Halloween wedding. I am going through the process of arranging them in some kind of order. I shuffled through and made connections to see what I have been drawn to in saving and collecting: portraits, mainly women; clothing, because I’m obsessed with vintage;  black and white candids, because it’s so strange to see how photography evolved from the studio out into the world. 

The following are portraits I’ve found at flea markets, antique stores, yard sales and our own family archives.

a girl and her best friend, 1950s

 

my grandmother (1) and great aunt anne, 1930s

 

victorian sisters

 

edwardian twins

 

one eye, two eyes, three eyes by jeff schreckengost

 

victorian brothers

 

tintype sisters

 

daughter and mother? niece and aunt? sisters? 1920s

 

norwegian couple in north dakota

 

found in the pages of a scrapbook

 

bathing beauties, 1920s

 

jeff and sue in the g.c. murphy's photobooth, 1980s




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