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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Jim's Wife: 1938

Jim's Wife: 1938

Washington, D.C., circa 1938. "Mrs. James R. Arneill Jr.," a.k.a. Joyce Arneill. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Some photographers just don't get it

I used to know an eminent advertising photographer, a perfectionist and an acknowledged lighting expert who took some classic advertising images, but who couldn't empathise with subjects or take a flattering portrait to save his life. The best you could say about his portraits was they they didn't look like forensic shots because the people weren't lying down. Looks like the guy who shot this lady was one of those. A beautiful picture of a costume with a warm body in it.

Annotations

To the first poster, indeed, Mrs. A's hair is set. That is not how natural curls flow. It highly resembles other photos from that time period -- waves towards the front, larger curls for height at the crown, and the upsweep at the bottom. I even have some of the old rollers that were used then - imagine the nasty sulfur smell of the "permanent wave lotion"! That is why her hair is a little brittle looking on the flyaways.

Remember, the economy was only beginning to recover in the summer of that year. Clothing was more severe in appearance compared to the 1940s. We don't know if the photo was taken during the colder months of the early part of '38, or later that autumn (after the upswing). Being an exemplary (Republican (see note above), therefore assumed to be conservative) woman it would have shown utter disregard for the recent economic collapse to be all 'dolled up' in rouge and lipstick. Note, she is also sans tasteful pearls or earrings - Mrs. A truly was making a point here. And, she is a lovely lady, indeed. Respectful, as well.

By the way, in those days photos were hand colored and doctored any way you desired - enhancing blush, lips, eyelashes, garments and such. You could even have pearls dotted in, if you hadn't any. Furthering my opinion of the dear woman.

Natural

She doesn't appear to be wearing much if any makeup, nor is her hair set. In the time of ultra-thin eyebrows, dark lipstick and women who wouldn't leave the house without a perm, she proves that the fairer sex can look attractive without hours of preparation.

Look into the light

Her pupils are huge. What was the photographer thinking? "Okay, Mrs. Arneill, twist your head around and stare at the light. Beautiful!"

Joyce Arneill

In 1938, at age 30, Joyce Arneill of Denver became the first president of the National Federation of Republican Women's Clubs. She died in 1990.

Fear of Photographers

Very awkward expression, which is caused by photographers' stilted suggestions. She's actually a very attractive woman in a very rich looking dress.

Take 1

I think that pose would be called "the outtake" or, in movies, "the cutting room floor."

Don't turn around, lady! Just keep walkin!

She looks like a film noir dame who just had a .38 stuck in her back.

Oh dear, the Artistic Pose.

Our Mrs. Jim looks a little affronted, instead of whatever look they were going for, like somebody just pinched up a wad of her dress and tied that bow, and she's saying coldly, "DO NOT touch my dress again."

The sound you hear

is the metallic rasp of a thousand knives being sharpened.

That belt is really amazing.

I'd wear it today. Kind of an awkward pose, though. Wonder what the thought behind that was?

 
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