mad in pursuit notebook
DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS
Ambrotype: What the Eyes See
You really have to wonder what he’s thinking, eyes afire like that, brow knitted.
From the original photo (right), it’s likely he’s a well-to-do man, middle-aged, sitting for his big 1/2-plate ambrotype photo in the 1850s, with his velvet collar and ivory-handle cane. But what stands out are his eyes.
I decided to zoom in on them for today’s photo experiment. Finding the detail in his eyes (with Photoshop tweaks) also reveals his weathered skin.
A farmer turned prosperous? A laborer turned shopkeeper in a boomtown? The undertaker? The mayor-elect? Or a gentleman who has simple seen too much sorrow and death in his struggling new country?
His name and place are lost.
June 21, 2011