This is already so familiar to people who love old photographs: the oval portrait of the beautiful lady wearing a high necked dress and a big hat with a decoration on it like a whole bird, a lady with an honest face, not made up or airbrushed or Photoshopped, and all the more beautiful for it, the whole in a deep soft monochrome with a range of tone that’s hard to match today. Her expression is serene with the special serenity which comes from having to sit still for up to three minutes, the exposure times of those early emulsions. This beautiful lady is particularly beautiful, and an important reminder that not all of the Victorians were white. I’ve been thinking about this lady a lot since I found her on Tumblr. I really want to do some research and try to find out who she was, or maybe learn something about the photographer or the circumstances under which the image was taken. But I also want to adopt her into the Kekionga canon and make her a part of local history. Perhaps she is one of the early librarians at the Noakes?
(There’s nothing stopping me from doing both.)