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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.

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Oscar Wilde by Napoleon Sarony

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