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I found this image while servicing one of our dumpsters at the property I work at. Since I work with elderly persons, something like this is quite common.

I did some research on the photographer,..( Ira Martin was the photographer ) Macy was the name of the studio,..and Vinton, Iowa was where it was found. ( his logo was at the right bottom corner of the mat.), turns out he was a photographer from the 1800's. I even discovered one of his kins that has a site that has recorded the family history..Ive already contacted her.

What really left an impression on me was this families facial expressions...especially the womens. My supervisor ( who is a history buff ) was telling this time of the history was very hard on women. Makes you wonder what kind of life they had.

Also,...I wonder why someone would want to get rid of such a piece of family history?

Once again,..my supervisor was telling,..some of this images held very bad memories in the family history.


Inregards to the image,...the lady who rented the property and owned this image passed away last month.

The photo with its original frame was left on the side of the dumpster.

Oh,..and by the way,..in the back of the mat,...was the order and pricing for the image,... $1.50 was the total.

Some corrections for above...

Ira Martin Macy's photo studio
Vinton, Benton County, Iowa


Comments 19

  • Alessandro Deidda 11/12/2009 17:51

    James Dean ritratto in bianco e nero a matita
    James Dean ritratto in bianco e nero a matita
    Alessandro Deidda
    Bellissima immagine Mi piacerebbe farne un ritratto
  • hrishikesh thakur 15/04/2009 17:04

  • Robert L. Roux 03/10/2008 16:52

    times change
    but the people
    stay the same ...

    greetings from the north
  • Pat Ackerson 25/12/2007 0:43

    Great photo. I've spent a lot of time on our family's old photos and history. It is very special that you have preserved this for others to appreciate.
  • John Holmes 14/05/2007 20:05

    nicely presented and told. well done. jh
  • Sonja Rasche 02/05/2007 22:11

    That is indeed a treasure. i like that a lot and I am glad you have shown it.
  • PINDORIUS 30/04/2007 13:14

    very,very interesting. A good work about a document. I like these serious expressions and he atmosphere of another time
  • rwesiak 29/04/2007 17:13

    great, that you found it, the womens faces are so bitter, super documentary raulito hug rosi
  • Pascal Viyer 27/04/2007 22:37

    Great docu
  • Petra Sommerlad 27/04/2007 21:20

    I still have very old photos of my family. At this time it was unusual to smile on photos, because you had to absolutely remain still and stiff for the time the photographer would work. Usually "normal" people had problems in keeping a smile for a longer time without changing mimics. So they were asked to remain "still". Going to a photographer at this time was a serious thing like going to church and so everybody would dress in the finest stuff and put on all jewellery possible to give a perfect impression.
    Very many old photos have been thrown away because the younger generation did not even know who was on it and just showed no interest in the photograph in itself. LG PEtra
  • Sergio Pessolano 27/04/2007 19:26

    Great documentary image.
  • Maguire 27/04/2007 15:37

    Wonderful documentary. Not only the image but your report on the work you've done to try and trace the origins of this. So often people will just throw old photographs away when the owners die, not appreciating that they are items of great social documentary. Local libraries should regularly endevour to invite people to submit them to their archives rather than the dump.

    Most of history has been a hard time for everyone below a certain social rank.. men and women. They all look thoroughly unhappy but then getting your photo taken in those days was a serious business and it was hard to sustain a smile for as long as it was necessary to expose the neg. Great work and I admire your interest in this old photograph and your investigative journalism in researching its history. Hats off to you.
  • When 27/04/2007 11:10

    ....oh and Raul...the expressions. Back in the day they didn't smile. The subjects had to stay perfectly still. Sometimes they would have braces up the back that had cradles for the neck to rest on so that the would stay still. It is harder to maintain a smile, but a staight relaxed facial expression could be held longer. So many of the images of the time the people are very sober looking.
  • Inez Correia Marques 27/04/2007 10:56

    great docum. and photo..
    .. yes what is good for our eyes sometimes is very heavy in someone else 's heart.. thank you for sharing