Unidentified Photographer (U.S.)

Woman with Daisies and Spirit

Tintype, Sixth-plate ( 2.75 x 3.25 inches )

circa 1875


This beautifully-executed image is remarkable in several ways. The posing is dramatic, making the composition compelling for more than the "special effect" of the ghost. From a technical standpoint, this is a highly unusual photograph. Tintypes were made directly on a painted metal plate, without the use of a negative, thus eliminating the possibility of most forms of darkroom manipulation. In addition, the image needed to be exposed and developed before the sensitive coating on the plate had time to dry out. For that reason, the woman who is being "haunted" must have been a knowing participant in the production of this picture. She would have been required to hold her position for an exposure lasting several seconds; part of the way through that exposure, the shrouded figure would have stepped out of the frame.




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