photography Social history

Ruth 1960s Model

Ruth Wells was evidently a 1960s model and most of the photographs I have of her were clearly taken by a professional, although there are some amateur ones too. One photo has on the back “Height 5’5” Bust 34” Waist 24” Hips 35” Hair Dark Brown Brown Eyes.” Some of the photos are stamped ”Newnes and Pearsons” on the reverse who I believe published many popular magazines. There’s not much else on the back of the photos but one has handwritten “Taken for Women’s Own about 3 years ago.” I have 70+ photos of her including clippings from magazines.

I’ve taken a good number of photos from contact prints and done some minimal restoration. Above is one of the sheets plus I’ve enlarged a couple of cells which have been marked up for cropping and removing blemishes which someone would have had to do old school style, long before computer retouching. There’s nothing new about retouching, just faster and easier ways to do it.

She looks the part for someone who would appear in popular magazines of the time and would appeal to the general audience rather than just the swinging 60s crowd.

She looks wholesome even in the swimsuit shots!

Once again I am astonished at how collections like this just get thrown out or end up in house clearances. These photos are a lovely glimpse into a piece of social history as well as coming from someone’s private collection. There’s more personal information including wedding photographs which I haven’t included here or on my Flickr feed. We worry about privacy in the digital age but the information in some of the newspaper clippings I have on Ruth even give the address of where the married couple were going to live.

photography Social history

Obsessed by Ina

From a collection of over 200 photographs, all of Ina posing for the camera. The photographer is not seen in any of the shots. He is obviously obsessed by Ina and she is more than happy to be photographed. A few shots are dated in the late 1950s but there is little else to identify locations etc. though there a few at popular UK sites and a handful in Germany.

Apart from Ina herself there are just 3 photos with her mother and two with her sister.

Ina is seen in a variety of poses and she seldom looks less than happy.

As I often remark, it always seems sad that collections of photographs that obviously meant a lot to someone and their families just disappear in house clearances and salerooms. At least it’s possible for collectors to preserve some of the social history contained in such photographs.

photography Victorian

Carte de Visite

Or Visiting Cards to you and me. Popular from the 1860s they were mostly replaced by cabinet cards in the 1870s and onwards. CDVs were smaller than the later cabinet cards so could easily be given as visiting cards. They were cheap to produce, hence a person could have a photo taken in a studio and then have multiple reproductions made. There was a mania for collecting CDVs and albums were produced for collections to be stored.

Often the elaborate backs of CDVs can be more interesting than the photographs themselves.

Look past the girl and the dog and you can see that the chair has a jugenstil design and the reverse of the card is clearly influenced by art nouveau.

I’m not sure many of the CDV portraits did justice to their subjects. Many men in particular come out looking stern and rigid. (They had to stay very still for exposures so this goes some way to explaining why they come out the way they do).

CDVs were also used to illustrate national costumes and what were then referred to as “racial types,” a topic perhaps for another discussion. The Dutch lady at the head of this post is a good example of national costume.

[All these CDVs are from my personal collection]