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Tony Grist

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Early 20th Century Dreamboats [Feb. 5th, 2017|01:01 pm]
Tony Grist
In a comment on a previous post sorenr says "I still find it interesting that young men in those days are largely represented as unashamedly pretty in portrait photography. There is often an almost effeminate (to the modern eye), Valentino-esque quality, especially the lips and eyes."

As it happens I have a couple more photos that perfectly illustrate his point.  To begin with, there's this extremely glamorous image of my great-uncle, Harold Bridges- my grandmother's brother (previously seen as a small boy in Easter finery)- as a soldier of the Great War. For those who take an interest in such things I believe he's sporting the cap badge of the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment.

.

I can't tell you much about Harold. He died in his fifties, of something complicated, and his younger sister Joan is listed on the death certificate as next of kin. He never married and from the not-in-front-of-the-children way in which he was spoken of by the adults I've always assumed he was gay. At the time of his death he was working as an estate agent's clerk.

And then there's this, my grandfather photographed by The Hollywood studio (no less) in Bogota sometime in the early 1920s. Much Vaseline has been applied to the lens and if the result isn't the spitting image of Valentino or Ramon Novarro it's not for want of trying...



Yes, it's a bit blurry, but then so is the original. Blurry is a deliberate aesthetic choice.

What was my grandfather doing in Bogota? I don't really know. Overseeing some engineering project or selling heavy machinery I suppose. He was newly married and a rising star in his profession.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sovay
2017-02-05 08:14 pm (UTC)
To begin with, there's this extremely glamorous image of my great-uncle, Harold Bridges- my grandmother's brother (previously seen as a small boy in Easter finery)- as a soldier of the Great War.

He looks like he's starring in a film about it. The three-quarter distant gaze, the rakish angle of the cap, the soft shadow across his eyes—he could be having a romance with Colin Clive off set of Journey's End. Do you have any information about the photograph itself, who took it, where?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-02-06 11:33 am (UTC)
'Fraid not. The photo just is. Someone has written Harold's name on the back- so we know it's him- but there's nothing to say who took it or where.

It's got to be the work of a professional, I think. It's just too accomplished and knowing to be amateur work.
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