Saturday, September 20, 2008

vernacular photo of the week

Not quite a "genre", one "type" (for want of better term) of early photographic image which fascinates me is the partial concealment of parent or adult, in supporting baby or small child, in studio portraiture. In my scavenges of flea markets & Ebay I have found 4 so far.

The recalcitrance of little people in the photo studio, & the transformation of parental figure into armature, inspires a bit of mirth. There are remarkable variations: cloth over the figure to mimic furniture, retouching, radical framing. Meant to be practical & pragmatic, it still seems metaphoric about "the ties that bind" child with parent. This is a reading outside the historical - but one's delight doesn't need to have strict perimeters.

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