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Young Man With Boots

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This is a ferrotype, but more commonly known as a tintype.  No tin, just thin iron (it responds crisply to a magnet) coated with a black paint, then overlaid with an emulsion that can be exposed quickly.  The image is actually a negative, but, because of the black background, it’s seen as a positive.
This was taken in a studio, with clunky props.  The hat is a “gents’ or young mens'” hat that retailed in the late 19th century for around $2.25.  The coat is likely wool, with velvet trim.  He’s wearing a vest and a tie over a clean white shirt.  The boots are worn and rather grubby. The emulsions of this period were sensitive to the red spectrum, so I think this hands aren’t dirty so much as slightly reddish around the nails.   If this was taken in winter, which the coat and boots seem to indicate, this hands may have just been recovering from the cold.
Notice that he gives the impression of being quite self-possessed.  Interesting expression.

About Bob Lawrence

artist, photographer, reader, postcard collector, jazz listener

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