Monday, September 27, 2010

Mystery Monday 8: Photos from the Past

 The last Monday of every month, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

It's possible that there's a photograph of a woman wearing the Victorian ensemble that's neatly folded in a box in my closet. (Based on the age, quality, and evidence of wear of the pieces, I figure it was worn by an upper-middle-class someone in the 1880s)
While spending a couple weeks with my parents, I saw a photo album for the first time with pictures of my great-great grandpanents, great-grandparents, and my grandpa's early years.  (They were accompanied by a skeleton key to the family mausoleum in Brooklyn that has my last name stamped on the side.  I should have taken pictures!)

Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh (above) kept a detailed journal of the history of her clothing- including fabric swatches!
As I was looking at these pictures, first noticed the clothes-- how they were worn and the construction.  There is a portrait of my great-grandmother in a jacket similar to the one above.  I had fun guessing the time period based on cut and detail.

But what struck me was the different relationship people had to photography than we do today.  Then, the only way to have a photograph (mostly) was through the services of a professional.

My big question after looking at the album really is: why don't professional photographers wander around residential areas with carts drawn by large dogs any more?  Because that would be sweet!