Background Battleships

I am tentatively dipping my toe back in the blogging pool after a long hiatus. To ease myself back in, I’ve chosen the painted backgrounds of the photos, instead of the people, as the focus.

These items are all from the USA and very easily dated to WW2 thanks to the painted battleships in the backdrops. It amuses me that the composition is virtually identical in each of the three examples, yet different enough to suggest they were painted by different artists. So which one was the original design, if any of them? Does this follow the layout of a navy recruitment poster or a propaganda leaflet? Did Fred Nerk, Joe Blogs or Jane Smith come up with the design for his/her photobooth business, only to have it copied, to varying degrees of proficiency, until it spread the length of the country?

 

65 comments
  1. Xraypics said:

    Welcome back! You’ve been missed. I like this series. Obviously the painters found a format that worked, and the public stuck with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. GP Cox said:

    Welcome Home, Kate!
    You made a mighty comeback with these terrific pictures too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I’ve missed seeing your photos. I’ve been completely out of the loop. I hope I can rectify that.

      Like

  3. Xraypics said:

    The little boy sits in front of a Northampton class cruiser; The Northampton-class cruisers were a group of six heavy cruisers built for the United States Navy, and commissioned between 1928 and 1931.

    I haven’t been able to identify the others yet.

    Tony

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 5 people

    • Very cool that you know that, Tony! I’m intrigued that they are identifiable to that level of accuracy. Thank you!!

      Like

  4. Xraypics said:

    Ah, I think the lady sits in front of a Pensacola class ship; The Pensacola class was a class of United States Navy heavy cruiser, the first “treaty cruisers” designed under the limitations set by the Washington Naval Treaty, which limited cruisers to a maximum of 10,000 long tons (10,160 t) displacement and a maximum main battery caliber of 8-inch (203 mm). Hope you find this interesting. Chasing them up was fun. Tony

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Katherine, great to see you back.

    What a good looking young man in the last strip of photos, makes you wonder how he looked when he grew up…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. maclancy1950 said:

    thanks are wonderful Katherine! good to see you blogging again. I have always had a keen fascination with backdrops on photo booth.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Marianne! I wonder if anyone collects them? I believe there is a book about 19th century and early 20th century studio backdrops but I’ve not found it yet. I wonder if any photobooth backdrops are included?

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    • Thanks Shayne! I’ve still been looking at your posts on FB. My concentration isn’t great, so looking at pictures has been the extent of it. My health has been very poor, followed by that of my mother. Hopefully things will settle down now and my energy will improve!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve been seeing some of your posts about your mom on FB too. I hope she can come home soon. I’m so sorry to hear you are still struggling with health issues too. It’s especially hard when you can’t blog—the thing you enjoy so much! Hang in there!

        Liked by 3 people

        • Thanks, so much Shayne. We thought we were going to lose her for a while. She has been in hospital a lot this year. I had my own long stint, too. No answers and no help for me. ☹️☹️😢. So relieved that they are able to (finally) help mum!

          Liked by 2 people

  7. Kristine McShane said:

    That’s fascinating regarding the composition. Would love to know the answer to that🤔 Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello my darling cousin! Frustrating that there are always more questions than answers with vernacular photographs. I’d love the answers, too!

      Like

  8. Vinville said:

    Hiya Katherine…… glad to see ya surface for a bit….. love the new pics ya posted – all American those are. These are a first for me seeing any kind of background (or at least I don’t recall any others). Blessings to you my friend, you’re in our thoughts… hugz!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. simon robinson said:

    Excellent and evocative set of images. The subject of studio backdrops really does need some research (I’ve never seen that book one of your readers mentions). My own theory is that these were produced to order by photo supplier/s, advertising in trade journals, and I have seen an advert for a special roll holder which could support several different backdrops to be swopped about. I have quite a few UK seaside and coastal backdrop portraits, and you can see certain layouts being followed with slight differences. In others, the backdrops seem to be ‘spruced up’ from time to time, perhaps by someone in the studio, and so changes slightly. Many probably got a good bit of wear and tear. I’ve only seen a couple with warships in, and they were WW1 style boats, one with biplanes in the sky as well! I guess it was an attempt to be up to date and on message for your potential clients.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Simon. Fantastic comment! I will see if I can track down that book, though I may be mistaken on its existence. I have seen some advertisements for studio backdrops of the Victorian era, but none for photobooths. You collect photos, too by the sounds of it. I will look to see your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love these, the painted backgrounds are wonderful. It reminds me of a school photo of myself with a river meandering through the landscape as a background!

    Liked by 2 people

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