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Model With Book

Model With Book

A young model lies in bed with a book. Photo by Fitz W. Guerin, between 1900 and 1903. View full size.

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Chopped, Brushed, Painted..? Bah!

I think the awkward position of her head that gives the illusion of 'editing' is just that she's been no doubt asked to attempt a recline pose by the photographer, but for the sake of the image, the hand supporting her head is position slightly back than usual, tilting the face forward and downward. This also causes the jowls to droop slightly. I'd have had the model rest place her hand, just below and behind the ear; this would've supported her head more easily and prevented her skin sagging around the chin.

I also think it's a bit naive to think that this reflects the flawless beauty of a bygone era; images in those those days were still quite heavily retouched, though often not to the degree of modern photography -- blemishes were removed by painting over the emulsion on the negative, and wrinkles were smoothed by rubbing certain greases over the face details. Many portrait plates often have an aging yellowing cloud shape over the face on the rear side of the negative for this reason; it often helped preserved the delicate image, but over time the emulsion tends to warp and crack. Look closely as some vintage portrait under a magnifying lens... in the days before Pro-Active, no way did Nanna have skin that smooth!

Lets see the other shots of this model.


Hmmm, I will admit you now have important evidence that I am off base: 1) the limited technology of the time and 2) the face of the model is on other photos.

How about posting those other poses? I can then pounce on a wrinkle in her clothing and claim that it proves she has different collar bones than this body!

Head/body match


In the 1973 movie "Executive Action" (unless I have this wrong and I am thinking of Oliver Stone's JFK) the conspirators are shown producing the famous photo of Oswald holding the Carcano rifle and a copy of the Daily Worker. They use an exacto knife to cut out Oswald's head from another photo and attach it to the photo of a different man holding the gun. They did not show what happens next but I assume that a photo is taken of the doctored photo. I have assummed that this process could have taken place around 1900.

Hey, I can let it go if you want, I just think the head so clearly doesn't match that this is a theory.


This is the last forum I would expect to have a flame war. The best way to avoid that is to apologize from the get go for misunderstandings.

My handle which seems to have set you off is the one I use on all forums and it came from a movie review forum I was on back in the 90s.

I am not complaining or being critical about these photos, I thought the comments section are where, among other things, users comment on over looked aspects of the photos. Sorry to have offended.

[No need to apologize. The Shorpy management team has found this thread to be hugely entertaining. No small part of which is the notion that someone would go to the trouble of putting this particular head on anybody's body. The lady was, by the way, the model for a number of Fitz Guerin's photographs. As for X-Acto blades and pasted-on heads -- that is indeed how they do that sort of thing in the movies. - Dave]

Pip Pip

Right-o Mike ole chap..."it is what it is!"

"It's Photoshopped"

I agree with Mike - some people seem to have set themselves up as experts. This is s wonderful site with amazing photographs - some people can't believe that it's for real, these are unvarnished, un-retouched photographs!

I saw another photo site (with modern pictures) and on each entry, some doofus had seen fit to say "It's photoshopped". On EACH ONE.

One photo was a news photo from the Seattle area, an airplane caught on powerlines. Same comment 'it's photoshopped'. I saw the actual accident aftermath with my own eyeballs, it's not photoshopped!

It's the same sense of rolling the eyes with the crowd that refuses to believe color photography was around before 1963 or whatever.

They are (insert favorite insult) and this is what they do with their days. Pity them.

Getting tired of all the "critics"

I'm getting tired of having to read through the comments from "critics" like "Texcritic" and "OldHippieDude". They can't seem to accept the information that has been provided about the type of original negatives and the photographer's captions without challenging it or attempting to cast some kind of doubt upon it (without coming right out and accusing the proprietors of this web site of "photoshopping" the original image). If they can't believe what their eyes are seeing or reading here, maybe they should find another web site on which to make their vanity posts.


Still hold that this is a cut and past job.

I will cede you the skin tone may not match and that can be explained by either lack of sun on covered body skin or make up (although you would expect the face to be whiter?).

However the angle of the head and the slightly larger relative size still makes me believe that this is a different head. I think the head would be slightly more to the Northwest of the photo if actually attached to the neck. Ultimately the question is what does the source material show?

[The Guerin photos and others of their era were, generally speaking, made before the kinds of darkroom manipulation you're describing. As for "cut and past" (i.e. paste), cut what and paste what? These are prints made from glass negatives. Nothing to cut and nothing to paste. - Dave]

Not Photoshopped

No, as a digital artist, I do not believe that this photo was altered. Notice that when viewing vintage photos of men, most of the faces, necks and arms are considerably darker than their chests and legs due to greater sun exposure. Women of the day in particular did not expose much of their chests out in public, so the skin maintained is ivory nature. The lighting of course can inadvertently accentuate this difference. See how even her forearms are darker than her chest?

Skin Tone

Given the amount of makeup sometimes worn, it's not at all unusual for a woman's facial tone to not match her unadorned skin tone. In watching motion pictures in color, you'll frequently see a marked difference between a woman's face and her natural skin tone.

As to the rest of it, I particularly like the angel's face on the devilish body.

I believe this to be a composite photo.

Having now seen the Ohio firetruck cut and paste job with the utility pole and fire alarm put in the foreground, I will now say that I believe this to photo to have a different head placed over the body.

The color isn't the same, the head appears large for the body, the angle isn't right, and look at how her neck skin below her jaw line hangs in a different direction than does her neck in the body portion of the photo.

Head match with body

On a modern photo; I would swear that this was a poor photoshop since her head angle and skin tone don't seem to match the body. I would have thought that the body was of an easy woman and that the head came from a more up standing type.

I will assume that this is just my rookie eye.


Did you guys ever find the missing Guerin's one was the women with the grapes?

[The pics come and go to make room for new images. We may have the bottomless cup of coffee here at Shorpy HQ but the server can hold only so much data. - Dave]


Noted and corrected. Thanks for pointing out the error.

By the way, the year's wrong on this

Fitz W. Guerin died in 1903, and the hairstyle makes this to be more likely ca. 1895.

I'm having a hard time

I'm having a hard time seeing Fitz at a wedding .

Thanks for the linky link Denny Gill.

Hee Hee

"Bachelor Art". I love the euphemism. "It's art, honey, I swear!"


According to the date of death for Guerins he died in 1903, so how could he have taken a picture of the model in 1910?

Is it me...

or does the model look vaguely like Bettie Page?

Our Man Fitz

Methinks our man Fitz may have had a prurient thought or two when tripping the shutter, no? He apparently had a very interesting life as a society photographer in St. Louis, Missouri, capturing weddings and the occasional daring belle in what was defined as “bachelor art.” But even more interesting was his service during the Civil War, where he garnered a Medal of Honor for heroism.
Denny Gill
Chugiak, Alaska

Fitz sure new how to

Fitz sure new how to titillate.
Her skin is so perfect, not a mar or blemish. Fitz always exploits the best of his models attributes.
I wonder how he found his girls? they all look so young.

re: Question

No photographs were removed.


Were some of the Guerins removed from the site?

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