So if you read my blog at all you probably can guess I’m pretty interested in photography, especially darkroom and alternative techniques. So I’m constantly on the look out for new (old) things that were part of photographic history.
I ended up buying what I thought could be a daguerreotype online a few weeks ago. The images had a nice little card on the back of the image saying “M.S. Lamprey’s Daguerrean Saloon.”
So I have to admit I’m no expert on any of this really. I like to learn as I go. But when I took the image apart I got an interesting surprise. Inside the tin mat was the image of a mother, with a somewhat funny expression holding the back of the child’s neck. I had to laugh at her expression because even after all these years mothers still have that expression when trying to get a child to behave.
It’s not what I guess you would consider a “typical” hidden mother picture with a mother under a black cloth (For more information about hidden mothers, check out this post from The Guardian). Still I am making the assumption this was the child’s mother and she is “hidden” behind the mat. I believe the photographer intended for this to be the final outcome of the photo. It is truly an interesting image.
It turned not to be a daguerreotype but a ruby ambrotype. But the hidden mother sort of made up for the difference in photographic techniques.
Just another piece of photographic history I wanted to share with you all. More to come as I uncover new stories.
3 thoughts on “The Case of the Hidden Mother”
Cool. I am still to learn the difference between a daguerreotype and an ambrotype, let alone a ruby ambrotype. Great find. You must have been thrilled with your discovery!
I have to admit it is very difficult for me to the the difference in ambrotypes without taking them apart which isn’t always the best idea if they are still sealed in the case! Daguerreotypes are very unique and have a reflective, mirror like quality but again it’s hard to tell unless you are looking at in person. It’s always an adventure!
Oh, yes indeed. A miraculous adventure! I feel closer to the experience people must have had at a the time photography was invented when I see tintypes, dags etc. I am interested to hear that you have difficulty telling the different types apart, too.