This week I’m at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Conference. It’s a huge event with folks attending from all over the globe. I love the international atmosphere and especially like looking at photographs taken around the world.
Photos taken in foreign lands can be particularly challenging. Instead of showing you this week’s photo immediately, I’m first going to break it down into clues. The image is one I purchase for my personal photo collection.
The style of this woman’s hair and the square-necked bodice and the fit of the dress identify a time frame of the early 20th century. Women who followed the current Parisian fashions and who lived in urban areas generally adopted western style dress. Even fashion-conscious women in rural areas might follow trends while others adopted the local cultural dress.
Her hat rests on a chair. This additional detail narrows the time frame. Hats about 1910 featured wide brims and tall crowns with lots of trim.
Men didn’t always wear western dress. The style of this man’s coat and even his mustache suggest a photo taken abroad (or one showing an immigrant in the United States). The insignia on his lapels are military.
I could use a little help with the imprint. The photographer’s information on a photo usually includes a name and address. Is there anyone who can read the Cyrillic on this image?
Here’s the whole photo. The couple to the right are very fashionable folks for the second decade of the 20th century. The man on the far left and the young man in front draw attention because of their different clothing. Photo studio props and backdrops vary around the world, but they usually include some basic similarities: a chair, something on the floor (in this case it’s hay) and a painted backdrop.
At their feet are the hats worn by members of this party. Two straw hats with wide bands and one military cap. That likely belongs to the man on the far left (see enlargement above).
Photos taken in foreign lands need careful study of every detail. You’ll find more help in my book Family Photo Detective.
Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor: