As you have gone through family vintage photos, you may have found but didn’t stop to realize an unusual and interesting type of photos. It became very popular, as photography methods improved, to have a portrait or other general photo taken with one or more of those in the shot with their back the primarily focus in the photograph.
It may have begun in 1890 to 1891, when several stage actresses who sat for their portraits done by a camera, turned their back on the camera and twist their neck so that the chin hung over lady’s left or right shoulder. A new ‘fad’ was born. It soon became popular with people in many different walks of life to have their back as the main focus. Sometimes it was a profile of the face, with just one eye visible. A couple embraced overlook a mountain or river was another style.
In the 19th century it had been the norm for the straight forward look into the camera with no smile because the person had to hold so still. With photographic techniques improving by the 1890s and into the early 20th century, people were ready for a change. It remained popular into the 1920s. Of course, not all photos had this ‘back’ style, but check through some of the family photos from the 1890s into the 1920s, you might be surprised.
Photos: A lady in Michigan in 1890s, reflection in the mirror, a couple of ladies and to show off a hairstyle from the back.
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