Fashion doesn’t get more outlandish than these two outfits from different parts of the country. Both date from the 1890s and are extreme to say the least. The Lauder studio of Westmoreland Street captured the thousand yard stare of the young Dublin lady as she balanced her feathered creation upon her head. The waistline of the Kerry lady was probably reduced by the photographer – an early example of photoshopping! This was quite common in the period as the photographer took off a few inches bringing the sitter nearer to the ideal.
A lot of carte-de-visites are very similar and I only buy those that have something a little unusual or extreme about them. I am particularly drawn to the whole Victorian conservatory atmosphere conjured up by the backdrops and props in both photographs. The Tralee photograph includes a Wardian Case in which ferns were grown and both feature palms. Jim Linderman’s project includes some fine hand-painted studio backdrops. I also try to collect as many provincial studio images as possible as I think it expands photographic history beyond the usual city studios.