Archives for category: Vintage Portraits


This is a business-card sized tintype from the USA. I love the backdrop and the details in the hats and lace neck bows.


This is a companion post to one just published on Photobooth Journal.

Vic Parks was Lou Costello’s stunt man for many years. He met Lou while both were working in vaudeville. They became lifelong friends. The photos below date from Vic’s time as an acrobat. He worked with George LaMarr, (variously spelt Lamar, and Lamarr and La Marr) with whom he travelled and performed in the United States.


Vic Parks


Vic Parks and George Lamarr


Parks and Lamar – Promotional photo for their “dancing and tumbling” show.

These are all 8 x 10 inch photos from Chicago photography studio, Bloom. They were probably taken in the early 1930s.

According to Dr David S. Shields, author of the website Broadway Photographs, Bloom was one of very few studios whose photos were “sufficiently artistic to provide illustrations for national circulation magazines.”

For more information about Vic please see the post Vic Parks – Lou Costello’s Stunt Double on Photobooth Journal.


Apart from family items, Read the rest of this entry »


This photo from Japan was shot around 1910. I was unable to find any information about the photographer, J. Chikuni.

When I showed this photo to two friends neither of them was able to tell me who they were looking at, despite my saying that he was one of the twentieth century’s most famous people. I wasn’t surprised they didn’t recognise him, as without his props and make-up he looks very different to the way the world knows him.

Do you know who this is? Have a good look at him before scrolling down to see the information that is written on the back of this 1920s press photo.


Did you guess correctly?

Here are some images related to the film which I swiped from IMDB.

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How cool and bizarre is this Victorian era photo? I bought it in Australia, so I will presume it was taken here. However, with no identifying details written or printed on it, or knowledge of its provenance, that is nothing more than a wild surmise at best.

Leg and arm stocks, a strange and somewhat macabre photographer’s prop, fits with our convict history. But, given that until recently, we were extremely uncomfortable with the way our country made its start, it seems a strange thing for anyone to choose to be associated with, especially in the Victorian era.

While the log and pine cones have obviously been carefully placed in the frame by the photographer, suggesting the picture was taken in a studio, the grass looks real.  So could this possibly be an outdoor setting with a canvas backdrop brought in for the shoot? And the book? What can we make of the pose in general? Beats me! Help me Matt from Pics of Then, you have a better eye for this than I do.

The photo is on heavy weight photographic stock and measures 152 x 199 mm. I treasure it!


I bought this 1920s 6 x 4 inch photograph, simply because I loved the sitters face. She barely looks to have Read the rest of this entry »

I bought this little photo, in its Art Nouveau style paper frame, as it was listed as a photobooth photo – photobooth items being my main collecting passion. The mount really appealed to me despite its poor condition. Rather than a booth photo it is a small studio photograph that has been trimmed to fit the frame.  The sitter is identified on the back simply as Hilda.

The frame will sit upright by itself, when the side flaps are folded back. When folded out, the shape and style resembles a wee rocketship that one might have found in a Georges Méliès film. The frame measures 85 x 60 mm

This extremely stately lady, dressed in an elaborate kimono and jacket, has a very regal air about her. Her hair is unusually plain for a Japanese portrait of this era, which gives her a certain gravitas, if not severity. The photo was taken at the H. Ando Studio in Itabashi-ku, Tokyo.

Being a lover of photographs but no expert on processes, I am only guessing when I say that this is a silver gelatin print. If one holds the photo on an angle to a light source there is a silvery metallic sheen across the image, especially in the areas of darker tone. (Having just read the Wikipedia link, I was interested to note that the silver gelatin process is the main black and white processing technique of twentieth century photography. I had always thought of it as a special fine art process having mainly seen the term on numerous photos exhibited in art galleries.)

The image measures 55 x 85 mm, while the mount is 105 x 165 mm. The cover of the item is beautifully printed but not embossed, which in my collection, at least, is atypical.

This 8 x 10 inch portrait photo of silent movie star Mary Pickford was brought back from the USA by my Grandfather after his solo violin performance tour of 1917. It is a shame that what appears to me to be a hand signed inscription, is not made out to him personally. Despite this, having in my collection an original photo of this screen icon, one of cinema’s earliest, female, international celebrities, is a joy.