Recently I found myself wandering around a local anituqe mall when I stumbled upon a small pile of photos. When I saw $1 gently written on their backsides I decided to treat myself to few.
This first one caught my attention because of the wonderful jewelry she is wearing. Of course I have no way of knowing for sure but that chain with the wide & chunky links has me wondering if it is made from gutta percha. Same with the round portion of ther earrings. The links appar white in this photo but I'm guessing that they are instead black with light reflecting off them.
This next image of a young boy was a no brainer for me. I love photos that have great examples of beautiful old textiles in them.
This one is expecially nice.
This one below was a keeper because of all the overall detail and the tromp l'oeil background.
Lastly I came to this photo of a baby. No question, he was a lovely baby but unusual in any way? No. Sorry baby. A bit common even, visually, perhaps. I could spot just a hint of some sort of textile in the background but enough to take this image home? I wasn't sure.
Something made me flip the poor child over. I'm terrible about flipping these things over. I should know better by now. Often the back on a carde de visite will prove to be more interesting than the front. One never knows what beautiful, sometimes one of a kind, graphics you may find when you remember to look one over, so please do.
Mrs. H. N. Sterling. Mrs.?
Photo-Artist? Immediatley I got all wwwk in the knees. Mrs! I remember how startled I was as a youngster to learn that there were any Victorian age female photographers at all. It was not something that we were taught in school. Come to think of it we were not taught much of anything when it came to women in the arts. As an adult I came to know few 'famous' ones. The Julia Margaret Camerons, Lady Clementina Hawarden. Frances Benjamin Johnston. But how many others were there who are now long forgotten?
A female photographer in with her own business?
Frances Benjamin Johnston was the force behind organizing an exhibit strictly featuring women women photographers, taking it to the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. I can't help but want to know more.
The name on the back of this photo is such a simple thing really. My poor husband. The things that get me firedn up and that I call him at work about!
How I would love to find a picture of Mrs. H.N. Sterling. To put a face to the name and to learn more about her studio. I'm in the proceess of attempting to research her name but so far no luck. Was she successful and with a supportive husband? Or was she a widow attempting to support herself? If so, Did she remarry? Did she only take portraits and studio shots or did she feel the urge to break out experiment with this new medium? I feel lucky to hold this tiny bit of history in my hands. Certainly I will remember to look at all backside from now on.