One of the outgrowths of poring over unidentified photographs is finally discovering similarities after conquering what was once unfamiliar terrain. It has been six months now since I first began familiarizing myself with the unmarked photographs in Bill Bean’s collection.
As I mentioned the other day, sometimes I’m left with no other devices than to group pictures according to dimensions of the frames. Admittedly, that is a pretty weak technique, but when you are left with no further choices, any similarities are better than none.
After having repeatedly sorted through this stack of photos, some faces unbelievably started leaping out at me—or perhaps my eye, so wearied from the needle-in-haystack experience, began imagining similarities where none were entitled to exist.
You judge for yourself.
Actually, your feedback would be—and has been—rather helpful.
In today’s grouping of Bill’s photographs, I have gathered together some which have the same size, quality of paper, and type of border. While that is admittedly a weak link, I also have some facial hints to boost the possibilities.
And, best of all, I found a similar subject in another picture. And it has a date!
While I still have no names, at least I have groupings. Let’s take a look at what fell together in this latest iteration of the saga of the unidentified photos.
First, here is the picture with the date inked in on the top right corner.
The photo itself is faded—something you’d expect from a shot taken in 1919—but it’s the face that calls to me. See if you find this guy in any of the following photos.
The next picture is of three young men, dressed in the same style of clothing—appropriate for a camping trip. They are standing in a partially wooded area. While I’m not sure about this, the man in the middle might be the one from the previous photograph.
The next photo starts introducing some interesting connections. First, this shot is of only two men, and more of the surrounding area was captured. I’m guessing the man on the left in this duo below is one and the same as the guy on the left in the previous picture. Would you agree?
What I love about this particular picture is that I feel fairly confident the man on the right matches a photo I’ve posted previously—from a rest stop on a rocky hillside. Looks like he’s wearing the same outfit, too. This may provide the “rest of the story” for this grouping of photos.
I almost didn’t include the next photo. At first, I thought maybe it was overexposed. It looks like the men are lounging on a snow-covered hillside. That doesn’t seem quite right, though. They certainly aren’t dressed for such an expedition. While I suppose the white field they are surrounded by could be some sort of sandy area, the way the material cakes up on the boot of the older man makes that seem unlikely.
However, if this location is in California, based on a July expedition I’ve done myself, it could be possible that the men climbed high enough in the mountains to arrive at an altitude where they stumbled upon a yet-unmelted patch of snow. Yes, even in July. That's California.
What I’m interested in, though, is whether the man on the left in this shot is the same as the man on the right from the previous picture. What do you think?
This last photograph is one of my favorites. Oh, how I wish I knew who these people were! Like the previous photo, it was hard, at the start, to make out the details of the scene. Scanning the original and then manipulating it on Adobe Photoshop was helpful in getting the full story—down to such details as the fishing poles and the coffee pot perched by the campfire. Since the photo didn’t provide sufficient contrast, and since the black-and-white seemed to present such a mash-up of textures, I nearly missed even seeing the old man with the long beard and tall hat! Now being able to better see the three men in the picture, I’m wondering whether this might be a three-generation composition.