Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Could This Be Agnes?

Yesterday, I talked about wanting to determine connections in photographs so much that I felt like my imagination was working overtime. However, before dismissing that notion, I want to take a second look.

My question: among all these beachfront antics photographed in a series kept by Agnes Tully Stevens, could any of them actually be her own picture? After all, she kept these photographs tucked in her private papers since the early part of the 1900s. What significance did they hold for her?

I thought that the picture of the woman standing under the pier at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, might be Agnes, herself. Since I do have a photograph of Agnes from about that time—admittedly from a vastly different occasion—I could cut and paste the head shots from both photographs side by side and see if that possibility bears any fruit.

The photograph on the left is from Agnes’ wedding in 1912. Thankfully, it is also an outdoor picture. Actually, the photograph on the right, from the under-the-pier vignette, has more shading of the face than does the wedding shot.

The picture on the right does hint at the possibility that the subject is wearing glasses, as does Agnes’ wedding picture. The shape of the face seems similar. Of course, there is little that can be determined by the full picture, since the outfits are so dissimilar. However, just the attitude that radiates from the beach shot seems to match the no-nonsense-mom persona that Agnes soon assumed as the mother who eventually raised six boys and one girl, herself.

If this was Agnes at the Wrightsville Beach pier, I’m still not sure what that tells me about the rest of the people in this series of photographs. I’m just going to have to be satisfied that she kept these mementos all these years as a reminder of a pleasant summer getaway with people who meant very much to her.


  1. These two women look alike to me. The nose and the mouth specifically. This is a very interesting quest you are on!

    1. That's helpful to have your input. Sometimes I think I want to see something so much that I imagine details that aren't really there. An objective set of eyes providing a second opinion helps!


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