This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

Best dressed orchestra

21 December 2009

Here is a good example of my theme of timeless moments. I have no clue who these gentlemen are, nor where or when this was taken. And yet the photograph captures a time when music and musicians had a special place in our culture. This group of seven men is most likely from the U.S. and judging from their suits they date to 1890's or maybe even 1880's. My guess is that they are members of a theater or dance orchestra.

The photograph is a large format studio shot that is in good but faded condition. Like most of the photos in my collection, I restore the image and try to recreate the original sepia tones. The original photographer did some retouching as well, and with a pen or pencil made a few highlights on faces to add definition.

It's possible they might be related. I can see some similarities between the younger violinist and the piccolo player with the older men standing. And the older men all have features that suggest a connection too, but that could be because they all went to the same barber. Note the high button shoes. These guys really demonstrate the dapper qualities of men's fashion in the late 19th century. I wonder was this standard dress for a performance or just for the occasion of the photograph?

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