A Wildean Man


From Germany. 1930s.

This gentleman has a touch of Oscar Wilde’s sartorial elegance. (See photo, below). The shirt he is wearing has a light grid pattern, possibly created by stitching on the fabric. His hat, hand-knotted bow-tie, stiff white shirt-collar and the velvet detail of his coat collar, speak of a man very aware of the image he wanted to project to the world. Like the photo in a previous post of a German gentleman of this era, he understands how to pose to convey style and class. The deep shadow cast by the brim of his hat gives him an air of gravitas and mystery. I think he is a thespian, so confident and calculated is his demeanour.

This photo is superb, as I look at it now. The tones are rich and defined. They are uninterrupted by the light flares and vertical lines you can see here.

I cannot tell you how disappointed I was to see the scan. I feel I need to apologise for the poor quality. I tried the photo on different resolutions, manually adjusted tint and brightness. I tried doing it sideways and upside-down in case there was a textured nap in the paper. I cleaned the photo with a soft cloth and delicate touch. I cleaned the scanner bed. Nothing helped. I also scanned another photo from 1930s Germany at the same time, with very good results.

Usually, when scanning photos of this era the resolution is astonishing, even when enlarged to two or three times the original size. But not for this photo and I cannot work out why. Perhaps it is just another secret of this man of mystery.


Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony

  1. John said:

    He seems very intense. The hat reminds me of Indiana Jones in his movies. I really like this photo. 😍👍🏻😎

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oglach said:

    You have a sharp eye for fine detail. I think you’re right about the subject perhaps being an actor; my first thought on seeing the photo was “He’d make a great Moriarty.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that idea. He would be a very suave Moriarty to boot.

      I wanted to call my dog by that name but my then husband vetoed that. He didn’t think our pooch looked like a Morrie, as he inevitably would have been called. He has Moriarty as his middle name. He has done a goodly share of heinous doggy acts to well deserve that distinction. 🐕😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim Grey said:

    There are just photos that resist good scanning! It’s enormously frustrating when it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like his intense look. Isn’t this picture taken for audition purposes? It seems to me that he is acting as a character, but I cannot figure who it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the photo looks just fine. Would love to have seen the strip, quite the dandy, and you may be right about the thespian angle… very confident pose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • p.s. I’ll bet you kissed Oscar’s tomb when you were in Paris.


    • Hi Ted! You often mention wanting to see the full strip. I like that, as it reminds me that there were often up to seven more photos in a strip in those days. This might be the only surviving example and that might be because it was the only good one in the group.

      It looks very carefully composed and professional, but, as I also often forget to think of, that is because there was a booth operator who guided the sitter through a series of different poses. That person selected when to take the photo. My understanding is that the booths were automatically timed to take the photo but that that could be overridden when an operator was present.

      Liked by 1 person

        • OMG! That is a “thing”! I had no idea! When I visited the cemetary in the early 1990s there wasn’t any lipstick or graffiti on the monument. People are so strange!

          Liked by 1 person

      • Wow… Seven photos in a strip. Maybe he cut them up and gave them to his admirers.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I always think a single photo is lonely without the rest of them. Wait till you see what I just bought… and the strip is complete!

          Liked by 1 person

            • That sounds like fun, Ted. I have just thought that I have never done a Valentines photobooth strip! I must do that!!


          • Do you remember or perhaps better to say, have you ever heard of Dick Emery? He was a famous UK comedian when I was a child. His catch phrase (when dressed in drag), was “Oh you are awful! . . . But I like you!”. He would then playfully, but more and more violently (as the skits developed), hit whomever he was speaking with. Generally with a handbag, if I recall. So my phrase is “Oh you are naughty! . . . but I love it!”. I do promise not to hit you with my purse though, Ted!

            And thank you! I will look forward to checking my post box everyday!


        • Seven in addition to this one, so eight! I can imagine this guy had a lot of admirers, so yes, maybe he did!


  6. If you have a halfway decent digital camera, try taking a close-up photo, you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Bryan. That sounds like a great idea. I will try it next time I get frustrated with my scanner.


    • Thanks Ted! What a surprise. 😀I’m just on my way to an appointment but didn’t want to wait to acknowledge this message. So cool to hear from you. More later! ❌⭕️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hope your physical body is not giving you too much hell. Hope the doctor doesn’t give your body hell either. 🙂


        • It gives me hell and so do the doctor’s but my spirits, generally, remain good. x x


  7. elmediat said:

    More historical photographic evidence of The Shadow/Lamont Cranston . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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