Sunday, 21 August 2011

Seriously Sitting

Whilst it is generally accepted that the arrival of the Itinerant Photographer was  met with people flocking to his mobile studio to have their pictures taken, the pictures themselves would indicate that some met their fate with fear and trepidation.  Indeed, the expressions on some faces suggest that they were forced into it and made to sit for fear of something far worse.
Not only does this image give an indication of severe strain it also seems to show signs that her mind is being controlled, by other forces, through the receiver on her head. All sense of self has been removed and they've have made her dress up with a tasseled table cloth cross her lap. Not even the rather nice turning on the table's single leg and the comfortable looking chair can offer her any release from her torment.

I wonder what actually goes through their minds when the photographer tells them to hold that pose,  Perhaps, it might be more important to consider what went through his, when it said, "...hold ..".   Was he trying to artistic in creating the pose or was he simply interested in business and in getting a sharp image, and instructed his victims to keep absolutely still for fear of blur. The younger girl, standing, seems to be saying I must not smile, I must not be seen to be happy, the neighbours will think I'm are frivolous and flighty.  I must remain stiffly unnatural.  The other seems to be resigned to her fate and has taken on the look of resigned acceptance.

Clearly unhappy for being put through such an embarrassment, whoever made her have her picture taken will be be made to suffer.  This is a face that shows no sign of forgiveness.  She is unlikely to ever be seen singing, "....Always look on the bright side of life..."  Indeed it looks as if life is to be suffered, and that she has a divine mission to make sure we do.


  1. The faces are wonderful aren't they. I often look at such old pictures as these and try to imagine the faces with modern dress and modern hair-styles, but try as I might there is always something Victorian about the expression. I suspect you are right in thinking that it is a direct result of "holding a pose"

  2. And they just weren’t encouraged to smile. A bit like having a passport photo taken.