I received a lot of feedback on my post about ‘Yesterdays Selfies’ which looked at how various fashions, poses and hairstyles revealed a lot about the time the photograph was taken. A couple of websites in particular were very helpful in giving me more information.
The first of these is Jayne Shrimpton, her website can be found at http://www.jayneshrimpton.co.uk and she also writes for Find My Past (www.findmypast.co.uk) where she has a regular page called ‘Ask the Photo Expert’. There is a lot of information here, and time flies when you’re looking at all the back pages! I found it so useful, and am still referring back to it on a regular basis. I found one photo on her site which reminded me of one of my own photographs.
Jayne Shrimpton states that from the 1880s photographers began to contrive more authentic looking outdoor settings, with painted backdrops. The bark covered fence was a popular prop.
Another great blog is genealogylady.net which is currently running a ‘fashion moments’ feature. If you go to the address, select ‘blog’ and then ‘Fashion moments’ from the drop down menu you will find so much information on fashion and photographs.
It would seem that the empty chair shown in my last post on this subject may have been just a popular prop.
I loved the suggestion from Paula Acton that the empty chair showed either a loved one who had passed was not forgotten, or if a loved one was away, they were being waited for and to show their place was still there. It was supposed to tie in with the idea of leaving an empty seat at the dinner table for a loved one who was missing especially if that person were away at war.
A lot of backgrounds were painted in at this time, but looking at the photo above it looks to me as though it were taken in a real garden. Props were popular at this time, and I have another couple of photographs of Rose with another empty chair and some flowers.
While I like the symbolism of the ’empty chair’ I know it wouldn’t work today, as people don’t sit down and eat around the table.