Re-reading Edwardian fashion tintypes

unidentified_photographer_2009_3_1

Unidentified Photographer, [Unidentified Woman at “Beach”],  ca. 1880, 2009.3.1

Some interpretations of early tintypes of women with their backs to the camera, believe the women are showing off their (lovely) long hairstyles. While very long hair was fashionable at the time, I like to think part of the popularity of this pose was a cheeky act of subversion.

unidentified_photographer_2413_2005

Unidentified Photographer, [Backs of Eight Unidentified Women with Long Hair],  ca. 1880, 2413.2005

With rapid technological developments in the late 1800s (including photography!) women began to fight for their own social equality. The camera allowed these women to create images of themselves, and they felt empowered enough to challenge the viewer by turning their backs to the camera and keeping their image to themselves.

Or they thought their hair looked great that day!

About Emily P Dunne

Reader Services, ICP library
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