Two remarkable matching tintype images of a little girl in an unusual profile pose. Circa 1865. The backdrop with tents and a flag was certainly used behind civil war soldiers off to war, many never returned. Perhaps this young girl accompanied her father to the studio the same day, and multiple copies were made so he could take one along on his journey. Tintype photos are unique images, but often copies were made at the same time through the use of a multiple image camera. For some sittings, the plate would be moved slightly and exposed again, creating a primitive version of a contact sheet. I believe these are identical...if not, our young poser moved not a muscle in between shots . Should a transparency be made, we might lay one atop the other to be sure, but my naked eye indicates duplication. The anonymous photographer not only skillfully posed her in the crux of the tree, the brim of her straw hat perfectly matches the angle of the longer limb. I like to think she was staring intently at her mother out of frame. She sits on a real log appearing positioned to mimic one which would have been sawn from the tree behind. She holds wilted flowers, perhaps a last gift from her father. This pair of photos is worth clicking to enlarge. My book The Painted Backdrop will be published in 2010.
Pair of matching tintypes c. 1865 Collection Jim Linderman