Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June = Weddings, Vintage Style

For those who are traditional, June always means weddings. Since I love early photography, I thought I'd share some late 19th century wedding pictures with you.

Early wedding photo documentation is not easy to find. These were cabinet cards meant to last a lifetime, and in this case, they lasted much longer as they are more than 110 years old.

The first pair of photos shows a studio shot of about-to-be-husband and bride, dressed in their finest. Only those enjoying financial comfort could afford a professional studio photographer to document the beginnings of their new life.

The second pair of photos shows a very young bride - she looks so tiny and so delicate. She's almost child-like, and probably not much older than 17. A whole new world is facing her as a young married woman, and you can see that determination on her face as she faces her new life.

Collecting early photography is fascinating. The subject matter is endless - portraiture, everyday life, special occasions, clothing styles, early homes, animals, babies and children, occupational - if there's a particular topic you love, it can be found.

Some subjects are easier to find than others. If you like "instant ancestors", it's simple to locate studio photos of men, women and children, whether in single portraits, or in family groups. Possibly you yourself are a twin, and would enjoy hunting for early photos of twins - they can definitely be found. Or maybe you like photos of young children with their toys - keep a sharp eye, for they are available.

Wedding-related cabinet cards are a bit of a challenge to find, but if you hunt regularly, they cand be found in antiques shops and shows, on the Internet, and even can be discovered at estate sales. If you find an antiques dealer who specializes in early photography, that's even better - let them know you are searching for specific topics, and be sure to give them your phone number or email address so they can contact you when they find something.

Collecting cabinet cards is a fun hobby, and they don't take up much space when on display. Cabinet cards are 4-1/4 inches by 6-1/2" inches in size, and look grand when displayed in a group. Fill a little niche corner with these small pieces of art - you'll be amazed at the attention they'll attract from family and friends. Framed or unframed, these cards are a documentation of early times throughout America, and wonderful to see.

Look for clarity and sharpness in these photos.
In pictures of adults, it's usually not a problem when the shot was taken by a studio photographer in a controlled environment.
Outdoor photos were another matter - weather, groups of people, and animals all presented the possibility of unexpected movement and complications.

Children's cards regularly show a bit of movement - fidgeting babies just don't cooperate (even today!!!). Motion showing in children's cards is not uncommon, and if it's otherwise a good-looking card, don't pass it by because it might have a touch of softness or motion. Good quality, interesting children's photos are very desirable, so if it speaks to you, buy it!

One of the nice surprises about collecting cabinet cards is that they are generally not expensive. They can be had for under $10 regularly for the more common portrait photos. Uncommon subjects - outdoor scenes, large groups of people, occupational photos, animals, just to name a few categories - can range upwards of $50 to $100 each. But compared to other types of antiques, these cards still lean towards the more affordable range in the world of collecting.

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