Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Bicycle Portraits in Ambrotype and Tintype
gender discussion - yes, these were made specifically for ladies).
With the rising popularity of flickr, many vintage bicycle photos have been getting scanned and placed on the web in the course of the past several years. And it always amazes me to see specifically the portraits of young ladies posing with their bicycles in a proud and stately manner. Getting one's photo taken was a special occasion in the 1890's, something that was only done once in a great while. And opting to pose with a bicycle in one of the few photos that would ever exist of you, seems telling of the relationship the person in the portrait had with their machine. The word ambrotype means "immortal impression" in Greek, and these ladies wanted to be together with their bicycle for eternity. Was it a status symbol, or an object of obsession? Probably both. And I wonder how the digital bike portraits of today will be interpreted 120 years from now - that is, if they remain at all.