when things suggest and/or resemble... (or when portraits are in the center of scrawlings...)
atop is one of the most wonderful and strange cdv's i've ever found. it's from a photograph studio in evansville wisconsin, circa 1890, featuring a strange combination of a photograph of a guy with a horn and a small toy drum, floating in the center of some seriously wonderful scrawlings.
the boy in the center of this universe is clarence baker (at least that is what is scrawled on the back), and the rest of the images are "his chums" (at least that is what is scrawled on the back).
i've never seen a cdv that contained an image surrounded by drawings, and i would assume that the "drawings" are actually scratches etched into the negative. certainly dr. freud would have a field day with clarence's "chums", particularly all the snakes and the man with the horns (oh poor clarence has only one).
i wonder if the bloke in profile with a hat is clarence's alter ego and perhaps the old dude with the top hat pushing clarence forward into life - and oh what a life - is his father. i'm not sure about the strangely scary elf at the top, but clearly the horned guy with the pointed tail in his mouth is the devil - who clearly has clarence's smile...
the cdv kept reminding me of a painting, which i finally remembered was by thomas eakins, pictured below the photo of clarence. since the photo and the painting are from about the same time, i can't help but wonder if the approach of one was influential on the other. eakins painting is an 1897 portrait of henry rowland, who was considered "the highest known authority in this country upon the subject of the laws and principles of electricity..."
it is one of my favorite eakins paintings, not just because of the beautiful notational scribblings on the frame, but also the prism in the center, suggesting not just science, but perhaps some deeper mysteries and alchemical truths...