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In the Valley of the Shadow: 1914

In the Valley of the Shadow: 1914

New York. "Mrs. John Murray Anderson, actress and wife of the theatrical producer." Genevieve Lyon circa 1914, around the time of her marriage to the theater impresario and two years before her death from tuberculosis. 8x10 glass negative by Gertrude Kãsebier. View full size.


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One of the things I love about photographs from this era is that you can really see the personal, hand-crafted elements that put you right into the moment with the photographer and the subject. You often can see the brushstrokes from the photographer's hand-coating the emulsion onto the glass plate. I'd guess that this was a collodion wet plate negative. It looks like Mrs Anderson didn't hold her pose *entirely* still throughout the long exposure. Perhaps she reacted slightly to a noise or someone speaking.

It's interesting that Kasebier used a hand-coated plate for this 1914 photo, but appears to have used pre-coated dry plates for her 1901-1910 photographs. It's almost like she went through a period of trying the new stuff, found it lacking, and went back to more intimate processes and settings.

[This is a dry-plate glass negative (says the Library of Congress). One way to tell the dry-plates is the uncoated inset in two of the corners. The brush marks may be from retouching. - Dave]


What a very beautiful photo! What a lovely actress. I Love the softness in her smile! Note the position of her hands. A true beauty, too bad she had to die from such a terrible disease.

Mourning Clothes

Is what her dress reminds me of. All that black taffeta ...

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

Timeless Beauty

What seems to be striking apart from Genevieve’s delicate smile is that her makeup and the hairstyle seem so very contemporary even today.

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