Saturday, April 07, 2012

Two group portraits

These two Azo Real Photo postcards date from roughly the same period (c. 1904-1918) and may or may not have any connection with each other. Only the first, which has "Mary Ertwine Bloomsburg Pa" penciled on the back, has any kind of identification. Because of the mix of ages of the women, and the informal attire of the two kneeling men, I suspect that we're looking at a group of fellow employees rather than, for instance, students at Bloomsburg's Normal School, and the four women in the rear are standing on what is probably the end of a loading dock. Some of the women pictured appear quite cheerful, although the one at far left, clutching what may be a folded outer garment, seems lost in thought and, like one or two of the others, isn't looking in the direction of the camera at all. Overall it looks like the work of a professional photographer, though there are no marks on the back to prove that. There are two six-pointed stars on either side of the central platform, and the arm closest to the door of each star has been truncated.

The second photo shows what is probably a school group, mixed in age with the girls on the left and the boys on the right. The foreground is unpaved and stony and the kids don't look particularly well-off, although one of the boys on the far right is wearing a necktie, as if his parents had dressed him up for the day knowing that this picture would be taken. Some can be assumed to be siblings based on their proximity and matching dress. Hardly anyone is showing anything that could be taken for a smile, and the male teacher (if that's what he is) is staring off into the distance. You can see through the window into the interior of the building but it's hard to make out what's inside.

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