One Subject, Three Photos

Here’s a fun little trio of cartes-de-visite, showing the same sitter what looks to be covering a span of 20 or more years. In the first one, Mr. S.W. Phillips of Baltimore appears youthful. In the second one, the card-mounted tintype, a bit older, sporting a rather tall top hat. And in the third photo, a definitely older Mr. Phillips has lost not only his hat but his hair.

Young Mr. Phillips
Young Mr. Phillips
Middle-age Mr. Phillips
Middle-age Mr. Phillips
Senior Mr. Phillips
Senior Mr. Phillips

I had to fight to keep all three together – the image with the top hat was of much interest to other buyers. I was willing to go a little over what I’d wanted to spend to keep the set, as I thought it would be a real shame for the other two to get separated where they’d linger in someone’s $5 box, unloved, unwanted and without context. As an erstwhile photo historian, all too often these kinds of things get lost because someone removes the context for the sake of the value of a single item.

On a separate note, almost totally unrelated to the rest of this post, sometimes I wish I had enough info to start a Baltimore photo map like my New York, DC and Philadelphia maps. I’m certain that there were many photographers there in the 19th century, as Baltimore was a much more important city at that time and a major hub of commerce and industry. Perhaps this can be a start – the Edkins Gallery at 103 Baltimore Street. If anyone out there in blog-land has studio addresses for Baltimore Victorian photo parlors, I’d love to have them so I can start the map!

2 thoughts on “One Subject, Three Photos”

  1. This is what I live for in the photobooth world. MAGNIFICENT! You are so right about the context. They just should never have been offered as individual items in my opinion. He is a real man of his time. (Love the details on the back of middle aged one) It also reminds of the film clip for the song Gay Bar (Electric Six) (very irreverent it is, but magnificently amusing!)

  2. I love these age progression things, and I’m glad you spent the effort (and money) to keep them together. And how nice to have the Revenue Stamp on one to help date the image, and by extension all three (at least approximately).

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