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An albumen print, ca 1880-1890,
showing an interesting town scene
somewhere in the American midwest (?) -

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What attracted me to this picture at first was the odd geometry of the buildings clustered together on several different levels; they were at once "jumbled" and at the same time achieved a harmony of angles and surfaces...  it's just a wonderful collection of planes and textures-

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Then, looking closer, there is the question of what exactly is going on here.  The settlement appears to be set down in a ravine; we are looking down from a bluff into a valley, and there is another bluff, with what appears to be an orchard, in the distance.  If you look closely there is evidence of a small river running through the middle, although there is no water visible anywhere. 

Then there is the jumble of work buildings with finer houses-

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In fact, at the base of the far bluff, there appears to be a handsome house behind a screen of lattice-work; and there is the thin, 3-story house with the twin chimneys standing there like an architecutural version of Jimmy Stewart waiting for Harvey to appear-

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There's just a lot going on in this photo (although interestingly not a single human appears to be visible anywhere); I want to know what the industry was and where this was taken.  There is no written evidence anywhere on the mount.  Based on the open landscape and lack of surrounding settlement my guess would be the mid west, but that's merely a supposition.  I may be much too easily amused, but this picture has fascinated me from the moment I bought it.


Albumen print.  Size: 7.25"x5.25", mounted on an 8"x10" board with a pebbled mat and framed in carved oak.  No markings or writing of any kind anywhere, but presumably ca. 1880-1890.  Private collection. n.f.s.

Click here to take a look at an actual-size copy of the image, but be aware that it is 263 k, and takes a moment to load...


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