I visited my family in Santa Rosa over the weekend. While we were at Mom’s house, my brother and I looked at the huge family bible with a publishing date of 1873 and found a number of old unidentified photographs inserted into openings at the back of the bible. Someone (probably me at an early age) had removed many of them by tearing the openings to release the photos. The pages are now brittle and the paper breaks. One of the photos looked different from the others. When I slipped it out I realized it was an old tintype. Although none of the photos has any identifying information other than being from photographers in San Francisco, Art and I both felt that this is probably a photo of our grandfather, Robert Agnew, and perhaps our great grandfather, also Robert Agnew, who emigrated from Ireland in the 19th century. We suspect it’s our grandfather because the person on the left bears a striking resemblance to my cousin, Charlie Agnew, and to my nephew, Michael Agnew.
I used my iPhone to take a photo of the front and back of the old tintype. The tintype naturally has all of the special effects that my state of the art photographic editing programs offer to make present day shots look old, so I didn’t feel the need to edit it. I set the tintype on my thigh to take the photo so the bottom edge of the shot has a bit of my blue jeans. I didn’t crop that out because this month’s challenge at my camera club is “cell phone photos” and I think it’s kind of ironic to present a 130 year old photograph (I suspect it was taken in the mid 1880’s) using the latest technology.