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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Girls Gone Wilde: 1910

Girls Gone Wilde: 1910

"Unidentified women, between 1873 and circa 1916." 5x7 inch glass negative from the C.M. Bell portrait studio in Washington, D.C. View full size.

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Look closely, downtownstlouis

There is only 1 pair of gloves in this picture, which, gives me a whole new perspective given the matching blouses.

The woman on the left is wearing the right glove, and her 'very close friend' is wearing the left one. The left half shows her right hand bare in the embrace.

[I see one woman wearing a matched pair of gloves and another woman wearing just the left glove from a pair of a different style. -tterrace]

[I see it now. She has the right glove in her left hand. Good eye.]

When The Moon Hits Your Eye ...

My money is on the young couple having been photographed in the early 1890s. And, the ladies made it a point to wear matching blouses for the photo session -- a nice touch and, perhaps, a further indicator of their intimate friendship. And their gloves, so sheer and supple -- or worn for quite some time -- we are able to see the outlines of their fingernail beds. Right panel: Poised for a memory to be captured; Left panel: Passion, pure and simple.

The 'fungus'

Is that whitish blotch just run of the mill emulsion fungus or has some type of cloth been applied to the plate? It has a woven appearance. Is this some sort of preservation attempt? Was the plate stored in a cloth wrap which transferred its pattern to the plate?

[That's what's left of the paper label that was pasted to the glass plate, which shows the effects of water damage. - Dave]

More fin-de-siecle I think

While neither young lady appears to be attempting any kind of "fashion statement", there are a number of indications in their jackets and hats that they sat for these photos right around 1898 to 1900. The date 1910 is way off unless they are both chose to wear very old clothes.

[Below, portraits made in 1904-05. - Dave]

Your follow up pictures are exactly what I would expect from 1903/04/05 - and the original post is as I've already said, earlier - pre-1900. I won't bother posting again, only to be corrected incorrectly (again). Goodbye.

A little humor at our expense

In the left half of the plate, I see quirky smiles and perhaps suppressed laughter, as if they are just clowning for the lens.

In the right half, I see the girl on the left maybe still trying to keep a straight face while her friend is obviously a little better at doing so.

Mr. Bell's subjects ranged from presidents, to some very interesting historic and public figures, so its anyone's guess as to what kind of life these to friends led in Washington DC at this period of time.

Dave, this photo piques a great deal of interest!

Sliding back

In the mid 1960's while in high school I working for a studio where we used "a giant view camera" on a equally giant three wheeled stand to take our portraits. We used 5x7 cut film with a sliding back. a sitting was 8 images on 4 sheets of film. My boss would make the setup and then retreat to beside and behind the camera holding his air bulb release on the very quiet packard shutter. He would take a photo then slide the back to take the other side of the 5x7 sheet, so there is the chance that image of the kiss was not one of the official photos taken.

Whether planned or not it is an interesting piece of history!

Out of focus

As the picture on the left is out of focus and apparently not posed, it makes me wonder if the photographer may have snapped the shot on the sly when the women were stealing a kiss. Do you think it might have been possible that the subjects were shown only the posed picture, and the two shots were later put together without them even being aware of it?

[I suspect that these ladies, seated in a portrait studio in front of a giant view camera, knew their picture was being taken. - Dave]

I Kissed a Girl

The girl with the light colored bow, right panel - the look on her face clearly says "I kissed a girl". I'm sure that the range of connotations of this diptych was far narrower in 1910 than 107 years later. BTW, the Sobule version is way better than the Perry attempt.

Errr ...

Oscar, Cornell, or Olivia?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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