Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This fellow has what I consider to be a “mysterious” look. The wave in his hair, the dark eyebrows, the large nose, these combined with the quality of the photograph make me think of the “tall dark and handsome” of early movie lore. I have a good feeling – although no actual proof – that this is a photo processed with the more modern collodion process. The paper and chemicals were not as susceptible to yellowing as were older images. The process also resulted in deep, rich tones that could sometimes be bluish or purple-ish. This photograph has a lilac tint to it, which is what clued me in.

The photographer was H. H. Coles, who’s work we have previously seen in the Dobb Long Book. This card has an embossed (raised) logo, and also tells us that Coles was operating in Pekin and Delavin, IL at the time the image was made. Coles was in Pekin, IL between 1879-1900. Because of my collodion theory, I am dating this after 1894 but before 1900.

2 thoughts on “Mysterious look

  1. Auntie Kat says:

    This is a stunningly beautiful picture. You can see the lavenderness of the photo background online. Thanks for sharing.


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    He looks most … intense… it’s a shame there isn’t a hint of who he was beyond he was in Pekin or Delavin, IL sometime after 1894 but before 1900 at a youngish age (20?).


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