Monday, April 9, 2007

O’ Mother, Where Art Thou?

This is an interesting collecting category that I’m sure few people knew existed. In fact, I have no idea how many people actually know about or collect these. In the mid-to-late 19th century, many people would want to have formal portraits of their babies or toddlers photographed by themselves, but were afraid of either the baby moving too much, resulting in a blurred photo or the baby falling and doing a header right onto the studio floor. Neither option all too appealing!

So what’s a poor studio portraitist to do? I know! Let’s put a cloak around mom so she looks like a freakin’ ghost and plop junior on her lap! It’s genius! Love these strange 19th century make-do solutions…It’s fairly common to find examples with an arm or the side of a head peeking through, but the ones that become really interesting are the “cloak” or “drape” images where the mom was fully cloaked yet you can still see the form of the head and shoulders and it becomes this spectral being with a baby on it’s lap.