Is it Post-Mortem?

This post is more to help those of you while searching for your vintage photographs.

Many of you show off your latest finds; displaying the beautiful antique photographs you discovered and they are all wonderful (I have to find a new place to shop, so sad), but many of you think that a subject with a stand behind him/her instantly means post-mortem and I’m sorry that isn’t always the case. You have to understand that in the early age of photography the shutter speed was sooooooooooooooooooooo slow and you had to sit through it (as in the very first was 30 minutes, by Civil War era it was around 7 minutes. Try holding a pose for 7 minutes). Very early portrait photos, if the eyes are blurred that means the subject was blinking. To help the subject sit straight for long periods of time, photographers had stands and also chairs with clamps that held the neck and waist. That’s why many people have a pained expression on their face.

Granted, the Victorians had a weird obsession with death so there are a few photographs where dead loved ones are posed. Just understand that not all photographs with that stand means post-mortem.

(images: Don Knotts & Tim Conway in Disney’s The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again)

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