One of my favorite things about collecting vintage photos is when someone's face comes through time and stops you in your tracks. You look into their eyes and you start to see that they are not so much different than we are now, they just "wear" a different era. Some images have typical generic looks, like photos you may have passed over in a history textbook, but some really stand out.
In the early days of photography, exposure times were very long so it would have been difficult for someone to hold a smile. There is another vintage photo blog out there where the creator has put up posts called "Smiling Victorians." Some of those were likely shot by individuals with cameras, rather than studio photographers. Once folding bellows-style and box cameras were out on the market, people began taking the types of informal personal photos that we've been taking ever since.
Studio portraits copyright studios of origin.
Classic Flapper hair.
Aunt Bessie Van der Wall
Cage Studio, Spokane, Washington
Apgar Studio Marshalltown, Iowa.
Lucerne Studio, Portland, Oregon
A well-documented shot, given to me in a Victorian album. In beautiful pen and ink lettering on the back: "Edith Frances Perkins P.H.S. '98" Later fountain pen reads: "Lives at 25 1/2 Atlantic Ave Beverly, Mass." I was able to find that P.H.S. is Peabody High School, and that she was on their Merit Scholar list for 1898.
Hussey Studio, Salem, Mass.
Is it just me, or does this one look a little Bride of Frankenstein? It might be just a woman named Violet, but I haven't yet verified her identity.
I found this stunning, hand-colored portrait of Violet inside of a frame, behind the displayed photo. That was a good thing because it protected the paper from the elements, and gave me a nice surprise!
Frances James Studio, Spokane