Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Painted Eyes

Solemn gentleman

At first glance, this CDV dated to the 1860s looks like a rather benign fellow with fluffy hair and a frock coat. Perhaps he has an intense gaze, but otherwise, he’s somewhat average. Until you look closely at his eyes.

Painted Eyes - Version 2


This is one of the few examples I have of the photographer having painted on eyes.  For whatever reason, the photographer did not like the appearance of the eyes and enhanced them on the negative prior to printing the image. I have read of this being done, so I was especially excited to acquire this CDV. I know, kind of sick haha. I imagine the subject had light colored eyes that did not show up on the photo very well. I have definitely seen that on many occasions. It is also possible he blinked or otherwise moved his eyes so they didn’t show up correctly. It is unfortunate that the photographer did such a poor job at enhancing the eyes though. They look like cartoon eyes.

Painted Eyes Back


As you can see from the back of the card, photographer S. C. Jewell didn’t make up new cards at the time he took this portrait. It appears the studio was purchased from D. D. Haines in Bourbon, Indiana. It is likely that to save on expenses, Jewell simply used the stock of mounts on hand until they ran out and he was forced to purchase more. I have not been able to find anything about either photographer in a cursory search. Of note, I do have another photograph made by a Haines in Albany, NY. To see it and the brief discussion of the Haines name, click the category Haines & Wickes Photographers. Based on the two lines on the border, the absence of a tax stamp, and the image taking up the entire face of the card, I am dating this to post Civil War, 1864-1869.

2 thoughts on “Painted Eyes

  1. This is interesting! I haven’t come across a photograph where a photographer used another photographer’s old stock, or where the eyes were enhanced on the negative, before. His eyes look spooky!


  2. Debra says:

    What about the possibility of this being a post-mortem photo?


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