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help request: where is her hand?

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Old 10-11-2002, 01:01 PM
T Paul's Avatar
T Paul T Paul is offline
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Here is a sample photo with a lady poising with her hand behind her back.
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Old 10-11-2002, 02:31 PM
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Trimoon Trimoon is offline
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The reason I suggested, that her arm was behind her back was, one I can see it behind her back, two, if you notice in these photos there is always a stand, table, or a pole to help steady a person standing because of the long exposure time used in taking the photo.

One example I can use for this argument is being here in the south, a photography firm out or Macon, GA produced a lot of photographs from that period. In almost all the photographs that have come across my desk, they all seem to have the same stand or table in a lot of the photographs with the same background. From what my mother told me, is that this photographer hired a group of photographers to travel around the South and do family portraits. It would be kind of like the circus coming to town each year; the town would get advanced notice when the photographer was to be there. Everyone would dress up in his or her finery; sometimes he would travel out to the farm and take the family photograph.

I have several series of photographs taken during a family’s life together from wedding day to burial and all that goes in between taken yearly. Again, the overall theme would sometimes be the same sofa, chair, or lamp. Sometimes the background would be used over and over again until was tattered. I have the privilege of owning photographs of my grandparents and their children, my mother as an infant all the way up until high school, and I have a photograph of my great grandmother, just before she died holding the family Bible, that I now own, all these were taken by the same company out of Macon, GA.

But back to the point that I am trying to make, no one can stand for very long without moving or swaying, so they always gave them a stand or a table to lean up against. Sometimes it would be under a dress and up the back to steady them. But more often, the man or woman would hold the stand (by the way, was more like a short hat stand or umbrella stand) from behind the back; it works. Also one note, if you look closely you will see the eyes have been hand painted by the photographer due to the long exposure time and the subject would always blink and blur the image.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed in a modern photograph there are approximately 300 DPI of information available. In the old tintypes there’s anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 DPI of information.

Okay, anyway, I’ve said enough.


Last edited by Trimoon; 10-11-2002 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 10-11-2002, 03:26 PM
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CJ Swartz CJ Swartz is offline
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Steve, I figured that she might be using her right hand to steady herself on the back of her husband's chair. What do you see in the lady's front area - from waist to bust? Folds of dress/dress decoration/nothing in particular/etc.?
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Old 10-11-2002, 04:15 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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I switched to CMYK and looked at the black channel. This is what I "think" I saw...

Ahhhh, isn't perception a wonderful thing....??
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Old 10-11-2002, 06:49 PM
dcarr dcarr is offline
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Perhaps she's holding part of the bassinet from the tintype baby??!! Otherwise I think Danny's onto something.
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Old 10-11-2002, 07:10 PM
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Leigh Anne Leigh Anne is offline
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You guys are great! Thanks so much. This has been a very informative (and entertaining) thread :-)

I'm going to work on the assumption that she has her hand behind her back. I'll post my final results when I'm done.

--Leigh Anne
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Old 10-11-2002, 07:18 PM
dcarr dcarr is offline
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Well I did some testing with lighting effects and I think there is an arm in front. The lay of the dress looks as if something is in front of it. The lines of the body go under something. On omni lighting, the front darkens in an object sort of way. Also, try to dodge that black lump. Everything around it dodges out, but the lump remains.
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File Type: jpg arm copy.jpg (39.4 KB, 51 views)

Last edited by dcarr; 10-27-2002 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 10-11-2002, 07:19 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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I thought I replied to this thread earlier today, but I don't see it. This is a tough one. Can anyone estimate the date of the photograph with any confidence? If this was a gelatin based negative, I wonder if the exposure time would be something to be concerned with. Gelatin based emulsions, if I'm not mistaken, provided fast exposure times, as compared with collodion, which also became faster with time. I'm looking at the little girl's hands and face, and they do not appear to be significantly blurred. So maybe movement wasn't a thing to be *too* concerned with.

Looking at the sleeve, it appears to me that if the arm was in back of the woman, it would be at a very uncomfortable angle, with the hand being held higher than the elbow. I don't think that's likely. My first impression was the same as DJ's, and I'm not yet convinced that it's wrong. I hope someone can shed some light on this because it is a very interesting puzzle.

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Old 10-24-2002, 08:34 PM
dcarr dcarr is offline
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Leigh Anne did you ever find her arm?
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Old 10-24-2002, 10:07 PM
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jeaniesa jeaniesa is offline
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Piping in very late on this thread. (It started while I was on "vacation" - it's in quotes b/c it's a story in itself.) I just have to add my impression though - what a fascinating mystery!

A few years ago I went through training to become a massage therapist. I spent a lot of time observing postures and analyzing what muscles might be involved in unbalanced postures. My first impression when I looked at this photo was "what's wrong with her arm?" (Same as DJ and others.) It just doesn't look like a natural position to me - especially if I think about her arm being behind her back. I think that someone said it looks like she's disjointed if her arm is behind her. I agree. It looks to me as though her elbow is slightly forward from her shoulder, thus making it almost impossible for her hand to be behind her.

However, IF her hand is in front, then where is it? If I ignore the position of the elbow, it looks like the hand would be in the damaged area, since I can't see it anywhere else in the photo. But if the elbow is slightly forward from the shoulder (like I think it is), then the hand should be at least to the midline of the body. Since I don't see it there, I agree with the hypothesis that she doesn't have one.

Leigh Anne, I'd love to know if you find out what the real story is!

Good luck,
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