From Another Time

Phyllis Beecher at age 6 (?)

While going through my Aunt Betty’s photo collection, we came across this portrait of her sister (my aunt) Phyllis. I was struck by the beautiful, Rembrandt lighting. I also like the sepia tone of the print. I remember reading that toning was more about preservation than it was about creating an effect. Of course, it would be decades before color film would be introduced when this photo was taken – the early 1920s.

Three other things strike me about this photo. First, the aspect ratio is very odd by today’s standards. I have cropped this photo a bit and the original was narrow and tall. Why? I don’t know. The second thing that I noticed was that Phyllis’ right hand is blurred, no doubt because the photographer had to use a slow shutter speed. Old films were slow and required several second exposures. Finally, I am impressed with the perfect condition of this photo. It was properly processed and then properly preserved.

Who will be looking at our photos 90 years from now and writing commentary?

In my continuing effort to get more people to see my students’ photos, here’s another great portrait, done by Kendra Gortmaker. Her subjects are her daughter and husband and she used availably light to make this photo. Here’s Kendra’s web site.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.