Getting the Photo Just Right
Who would have guessed getting the perfect photo has always been elusive?
Photography, French Soldier, 1922, Selfie, Studio Photography, Carolyn Porter, Marcel Heuzé, #MarcelsLetters,
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Getting the Photo Just Right

I don’t know about you, but I take terrible selfies. I have not mastered the combination of best light/best angle/best expression/best pose. Heck, recently I took a group selfie and I almost entirely missed including my own head. I’ve learned I need to take several photos, hoping one will turn out just right.

Maybe that’s why I found this series of photo postcards so funny. They were printed in France, perhaps in 1922 (…if the ’22’ at the bottom is a clue). The hand-painting is charming in a terribly inaccurate kind of way. But that’s not the only reason I find these cards funny. I imagined the studio photographer telling the soldier how to move to get the best angle/best expression/best pose. Who would have guessed getting the perfect photo back then was as hard as it is today?

I wonder who this soldier planned on sending the flowery postcards to. His mother? His lover? Or, was he a player? Did he plan on sending different poses to different people? The back side of all the cards are blank. What do you think his story is?

  • carolyn

    August 17, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Hi Dorie – Interesting! Though the concept that they were printed “en masse” with the intent to use as funeral cards is a punch to the gut.

  • Dorie McClelland

    August 17, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    A few years ago I worked on a book that showed how German soldiers, all ranks, had their photos taken, looking their military best, with a rifle or sword (not flowers), before they were sent into battle. These photos were printed en masse with a short biography on the reverse side and used as funeral cards in case they were killed in action. There are lots of them for sale on internet military sites.