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 }

White Tie Orchestra

10 February 2010

Another group of anonymous musicians, that I have called the White Tie Orchestra. I believe they are likely a theater or church orchestra from around 1895-1905. There are no clues on this fine studio photo which is roughly 6" x 8". The photographer imitates the painting style of the 19th century by having his subjects looking off in different directions. Note the fur rug. It was a common pose for this period, but by mid-20th century when people are all aligned in straight rows facing the camera, the group photo becomes less interesting.

Since there is so little to say about this photo, I'll comment on general photography history. The technology of photography has evolved over the many years since the first daguerreotype. During this early period when cameras and equipment were expensive and complicated, not to mention the hazardous chenicals, photographs were almost always taken by professionals. Even when methods of making cheaper prints came about, it still required professional processing.

But with the advent of roll film and cheap hand-held box cameras at the end of the 19th century, the art of the photograph changed. Every amateur could now preserve time for posterity. While that has its virtues too, what also changed was the concept of the pose. You can see the same change today with video cameras, as every modern gadget seems to include a digital camera, but the modern taste of going for the candid shot has diminished the finer art of group portraiture.

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