Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

You can definitely tell this photograph is purple, indicating it was made using the collodion process and making its date sometime after 1894. The photo also seems to have something underneath it, making the ridge that you can see around the image. It’s almost padded. This photo is placed under the baby from our last posting. They don’t look like the couple on the other side of the page, so it may be a safe guess they are Io/Jo/I. O./J. O.’s parents. It is such a shame that nearly every photograph in the Dobb Long Book goes unnamed, as they surely picture families, friends, loved ones and relatives who led full and happy lives.

This post is a proud Sepia Saturday post. Please click through and take in the sepia goodness from around the world.

13 thoughts on “Purple pair

  1. Christine says:

    Another good reminder to label pictures.


  2. Bob Scotney says:

    A padded photo, now that’s an idea. I must label (caption) mine on the web – only 2000+ to go.


  3. Pat says:

    I don’t think I’ve yet run across a purple one. I have a file of mystery folks and really wish too photos had been labeled. But here we are intrigued all the same.


  4. jinksy says:

    Fascinating, whatever the colour…


  5. postcardy says:

    I liked looking at the printing on the bottom of the mount. Apparently this photographer received an award in 1889 at an annual exhibition at what looks like the Art Institute.


  6. Karen Sather says:

    Oh yes there are too many in my family albums not using any label or not at all….I’ve seen these padded photos before…a wise person in this will probably explain what it is…I know back in those days they made use of everything, so perhaps it’s a new photo over something of less importance to them at the time? Or maybe to have the photo stand out?! Nice clear photo of a happy couple no matter what!


  7. I always thought that this was like an imprint that was made to look like a frame ..some photographers wanted to have their own “special” look to set their photos apart from everyone else. The soft purple color is interesting..:)


  8. Martin H says:

    They’re a handsome couple, whoever they are.


  9. Karen says:

    I like the soft purple colour, I wonder why they did that though?


    1. mrsmarvel says:

      Karen, I get the impression it was a by product of the processing. Some collodion prints can look blue apparently.


  10. Alan Burnett says:

    I just love this photograph : they seem human in a way that many formal portraits of the same age don’t. And the information about “purple prints” is quite fascinating. Thanks, as always, for sharing.


  11. i like the way they are leaning in towards each other and that he has his tie loosened.


  12. Nancy says:

    Interesting about the ridge around the photo. Is there an extra thickness between the photo and the backboard? And about the purple – I’ve noticed different tones of color on some of my old photos and assumed it was part of the aging process, that they just aged differently. It’s good to learn it’s because of the way the photograph was processed. It’s so sad they can’t be identified. It’s probably the ever and always problem with old photos: no written identification.


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