These two young ladies are identified as Cleo and Etta. The photo is dated 1934. Etta’s intense gaze and the clown-like “make-up” made this item a must have when I saw it listed on Ebay. Due to my enthusiasm for the photo I ignored the extent of the scratches, which mar the quality of an otherwise interesting little piece.
The processing chemicals have not done a good job on the original image. They were possibly dirty at the time, or the paper roll had some grease on it that stopped the chemicals being able to grip the surface.
I think the pock-marked texture gives the photo a painterly feel. The amateurish addition of coloured inks further heightens the effect. Without the scratches this would be a fine piece of folk-art photo artistry. What a shame.
Below are two other photos from the same creator which I bid on but didn’t win. I was most disappointed to miss out on them.