I love this handsome, kind looking, older gentleman. He has a sanguine face and a gentle smile. There are some remnants of sadness in his eyes, as he has seen his fair share of trouble throughout his long life. However, he always pulled through it with a renewed sense of optimism and hope for the future.

This small photobooth photo comes from the USA and probably dates to the mid 1950s.

This very sweet, little, photobooth image arrived in the post unexpectedly. It was enclosed in a funny card (A man on the back of a dolphin accidentally breaks something. His friend says, “Man, you did that on porpoise!”) and was posted from the USA. My friend Ted, strikes again! Ted has sent me numerous fabulous photobooth strips, penny photos and other lovely gifts over the years. I cannot thank him enough for his generosity. He has a great eye for choosing excellent examples of my favourite photo genres and has also given me numerous booth strips in which he is the star.

Beautifully hand coloured, this image stands out for the subtlety of the facial toning and skill with which the hair and dress have been rendered. I have never before seen fabric painting that is so detailed and delicate on such a tiny photo. Every stripe of colour is precisely placed along side the next. The folds in the fabric and hem of the capped sleeves are exactly as they would appear on the actual item. There is also a slight texture in the lines that suggests to me that this light cotton dress was made of seersucker.

Summer springs to mind when I look at this picture. The style and cloth of her dress screams sun and sand. Its colours suggest the 1950s. Pretty and young, the subject looks relaxed and happy. All this suggests to me that this photo was a beachside holiday souvenir from almost 60 years ago. Do you agree?

Thanks again to Ted! You can visit his photo blog here.

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As some of you will know from reading my About Me page, I have a health condition that makes my life quite difficult. I struggle to sit up long enough to do a post on many days. On other days, I am just too fatigued to even try. Therefore, I really love it when someone enjoys something I have posted, enough to do some research on one of my photos. Brett Payne from Photo-Sleuth blog has done just that for one of my previous posts in the series The Actors’ Agency.

In Part 9 of the series, I introduced Gisele Salvador, an aspiring actress, or possibly model, from Paris. Brett found a Gisele M Salvador who married a Ronald E Kahn in Dade County, Florida in February 1959. His source was Ancestry.com. Could it be her?

My reply to his comment was, “I suppose it could be her, but remember she was living in and looking for work in Paris around that time.” Having assumed these photos were taken in the early 1960s, I stated that there was no reason she couldn’t have married an American in his home town and then moved with him back to France, or even had a very short marriage before returning to her country of birth. Of course there are many other possibilities, too, but I did think the likelihood of Brett’s Gisele and my Gisele being the same woman, unlikely.

Brett was undeterred and did some further research. In another comment he wrote, “There is a tree for this family on Ancestry.com, too. Ronald Elwin Kahn (1941-1977) married Gisele in 1959 at Alachua, Florida, and they had at least three children. The eldest son appears to have died there last year.” (2016) This was great information, but I still wasn’t convinced as there was no evident French connection.

Bravely, Brett worked on. He found an entry in the US Social Security and Claims Index which shows a Giselle/Gisele Marcelle Kahn, who was born 26 February, 1929 in Paris, France. She was the daughter of Jose Salvador and Marcelle F Perrin. “She must be the same person who married Ronald E Kahn in Florida in February 1959.”, he wrote. By this time, I had to agree.

“It appears she was married a few times, as the Social Security Index shows the following:
Oct 1959 – Name listed as GISELLE MARCELLE KAHN
Feb 1968 – Name listed as GISELLE MALLORY
31 Mar 1989 – Name listed as GISELE POLLACK”

So what we now know is that this beautiful, young woman married a very lucky American citizen, named Ronald Elwin Kahn, early in 1959. He was twelve years her junior. They were married in Florida and she apparently lived in the USA from then on, albeit with different husbands. It does strike me as odd that she was 30 at the time of her marriage and her husband only eighteen, but stranger things have happened. (That is of course assuming that his birthdate of 1941 is correct.) The date of her marriage suggests to me that the photo file-card, and these photos, date to a time prior to her knowing she was going to be leaving France, to live elsewhere. Assuming she was looking for work for some years before she met her future spouse, the photos must have been taken at some time in the mid 1950s and probably no later than 1958.

Brett also found out that Gisele became a naturalised US citizen on 9 January 1967 in New York and that she died on 8 May 2003 in Suffolk, New York at the age of 74. She was born in the same year as my mother. It is sad she has already passed on. My mum is alive and kicking, I’m very glad to say!

So a very big thank you to Brett for persisting with his research. I hope that someone from Gisele’s family will now be able to find this post and see these wonderful photos. Please thank Brett, too, by visiting his wonderful vintage and antique photo, history blog.

There are some other great photos in this series to come, and some previous posts you might enjoy browsing through.

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Enlargements of these photobooth photos are at the bottom of this post.

Here is another Parisian actor’s file card from, the 50s or 60s, for your perusal. I have not been able to find Gisele in any online files, so maybe she had no success, despite her film star style and beauty? She seems to know how to pose masterfully for the camera. Perhaps she was looking for modelling work and was already experienced in the field? The gentleman from whom I bought this series of cards was unsure of the exact extent of the agency’s remit, so it is possible she had a thriving, though anonymous career as a model?

When I purchased this card, I was unable to work out what was going on around Gisele’s ear in the second image. Now, being able to enlarge it, I can see that what might have been a small spray of tiny flowers, is actually an ingeniously designed earring. It has bead-tipped filaments that radiate, almost invisibly, out of the central cluster clipped to her lobe. A lovely effect on her dark hair, and one I have never seen before.

In the same photo, there is something of Jackie Kennedy in Gisele’s hair, makeup and clothes. Given Kennedy’s French connections, one may wonder if there is more in Jackie’s style that was fashionably Parisian, than there is in Gisele being fashionably American. Either way, she has the exemplary poise and grace of a fashion icon.

There are some other great photos in this series to come, and some previous posts you might enjoy browsing through.

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USA 1950s

The character on the right of the above photobooth photo reminds me of Jim Nabors, the actor who played Gomer Pyle in a very popular 1960s, US, situation comedy, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. I have no idea whether these two lads are, like Gomer, Marines but the palm tree dotted coastal scene in the backdrop lends a naval/marine feel to the photo that fits my premise.

So what is going on in this photo? It looks to me as though Gomer’s pal on the left, has seen some money fall out of the coin return slot and mistaken that for a malfunction. Gomer has reacted to his pal’s grimace by making a funny face of his own. Therefore they have both missed the fact that the photobooth was already beginnng its work. I hope these boys were not off on a dangerous mission. If they were, they at least had an amusing souvenir of their time at home.

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Above and below – Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle

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Germany 1930s

Here we have a seriously unamused child with, what looks to be, a brand new dolly. Her furrowed brow reminds me of an expression a disapproving, elder relative might direct towards a naughty child. Yet there is a faint trace of a smile in her pursed lips. It is as though the experience of being photographed is eliciting an automatic gesture, that she is determined not to make. The doll is looking sanguinely towards her owner’s face, hoping she is not the object of the girl’s displeasure. The way the stripes of the girl’s top and the plaid of the doll’s dress tonally harmonise, visually emphasises an emotional joining of the two actor’s in this photographic vignette.

As with any other photobooth photos, there would have been multiple photos in this strip. The others might have shown a perky, carefree, smiling child. However, this photobooth photo is the one that survived out in a world of deceased estate auctions, flea markets and online collectibles websites. A rough and tumble world, where photos as small as this one often get jammed in the bottom of a box, bent and mangled by browsers or lumped into and forgotten in a large auction lot with more desirable photos. All this leads me to think that this child’s grumpy-face was not unique to this photo at all. She had her doll. She had her day out. She was tired and wanted to go home and she DIDN’T want her photo taken in a stupid photobooth.

Earlier this month I submitted a diptych of two complete photobooth strips to the curated, self portrait blog strata of the self. I was thrilled that they were accepted. They were published in a post this afternoon, which I have reblogged, below. Please visit and explore the many and varied self portraits in multiple mediums that you will find there.

A good place to start your perusal is the About page which explains the blog’s philosophy and introduces you to Ashley Lily Scarlett the artist-curator. Ashley also has a photography, writing and animation blog, Syncopated Eyeball, which is fascinating to dip into, as well as a photo-conversation site called Between Scarlett and Guest.

© Katherine Griffiths 2017 blog: Photobooth Journal

via Katherine Griffiths: Flinders Street 30 January 2017 — strata of the self

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