Studio Backdrops

Studio Backdrops

At last weekend's FGS conference in Knoxville, I did a little shopping. Picked up a couple of interesting books and this lovely trio of photos. I just love the backdrops. This photographer spared no expense. While in the 19th century most backdrops looked like the outdoors or living rooms, in...

At last weekend’s FGS conference in Knoxville, I did a little shopping. Picked up a couple of interesting books and this lovely trio of photos. I just love the backdrops. This photographer spared no expense.

While in the 19th century most backdrops looked like the outdoors or living rooms, in the 20th century the backdrop often sets the scene into a historical context.

In December 1903, the Wright Brothers lifted off the ground in the first flight. Mass transit by airplane was decades away, but that didn’t keep folks from simulating flight. Here, a group of friends are posing in a painted backdrop that looks like an early aircraft, with the skyline at their feet. Their clothing and the design of the airplane dates from circa 1912. You can view early airplanes on the web at Early Historic Aircraft.
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In the next postcard, the same woman seated at top right in the first photo takes another picture in the same studio. This time, you can see the airplane set to her left while she sits on a fake racehorse. She wears the same suit and hat so it’s possible it was taken on the same day.

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In the same batch of photos I found another image of her standing near a painted wall with “Pennsylvania Pullman” on it. George Pullman manufactured train cars, trolley buses and streetcars. You can read more about him on Wikipedia. I think this is a train car, but I’m still trying to find a reference to the words on the side.
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I may not know the name of this woman, but it appears that in the early early 1910s she liked to frequent photo studios with creative backdrops.

You’ll find advice for creating, sharing and saving your family’s photographs in the Family Photo Essentials CD, from the editors of Family Tree Magazine and Memory Makers magazine.

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