Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sepia Saturday - Military Portraits

The Sepia Saturday suggestion this week salutes the centennial of the beginning of World War One. Of course we didn't know it was World War One then so we called it "The Great War" or that sad misnomer, "The War to End All Wars."

Photo booth Uniformed Woman

LOST GALLERY has presented many pages of military themed photographs before. So for this page let's just look at faces. Here then is a collection of our military personnel in head and shoulder portraits. They're in a photographer's studio in their home town or a in a photo booth at a fair or a fun park, far from the front lines of conflict.

The reality of war is there, but not on top, not the business at hand.

It's a day at the park with the family, the cotton candy, the rides, the photo booth. Or maybe mom just wants a portrait of her boy in uniform.

Maybe the ship sails tomorrow and this is a last photograph to send back home to the best girl.

They wear a brave face, even a smile. But the tension is there, the anticipation, the stress of the unknown future.

Photobooth soldier
Photobooth Man in Uniform
Photobooth Sailor

Photobooth Sailor
Photobooth sailor
photobooth man in sailor uniform

Spirited and energetic, even cocky, they convey a confidence they know they only grasp tentatively.

Some can make a career of the military. It's a lifelong vigilance for them, protecting what is theirs to protect. It's their job and they enjoy it.

But, most do not.

Some of the uniforms on this page may not even be from a branch of the military. But they are military "styled" which tells us something else about ourselves.

Some recruits benefit from the rigorous training. They learn from their time in the military and gain a knowledge they would not have otherwise. They build strong bodies and return home with a personal discipline that guides them for the rest of their lives.

Some do not return home.

Photobooth man in uniform
Photobooth man in uniform

Photobooth soldier
small portrait guy in army

They're off to help in a situation generated by a gnawing greed or a conceited quest for power. On the surface it's a country of people against another country of people, but it is greed and power in the center of it.

Or perhaps one could make the case that organized religion is the cause of it; one religion hating another. But it's is what the other religion has that is the irritant. One has power or property that the other feels entitled to.

So the religious groups slay each other in the name of their respective gods and of course then help themselves to the spoils.

Weary of the hardships of "war" we are told to call them "conflicts" or "police action" or whatever buzz-word fits that generation. War seems a dragon that needs constant care and feeding. There's sabre rattling and posturing daily, hourly in our world. Threats and innuendo displace diplomacy.

Tinted Photobooth portrait
Photobooth Man

Uniformed man
Uniformed man

"What? You think diplomacy will get us that coveted land by the sea? Let's tell them we have nuclear missiles aimed at their churches. Let's arrest a couple of their border guards. They're being greedy insisting they need all that land for themselves. They should give it to us. They're bigots and hypocrites anyway."

And so on

We try to be positive about it and tell ourselves that it is a lesson learned, that some good comes from everything. Maybe so.

Our corporations learned that the "war machine" is a very profitable enterprise. So nations must keep a military "presence" all around the world costing heaps of cash for real estate and new equipment and other things.

Marine or navy
Photobooth sailor

Sailor in a photo booth
Photobooth boy
Photobooth sailor

Perhaps you weren’t expecting a rant about war. Well, neither was I.

Military Nurse
Tintype sailor
A "modern" day tintype, made at a novelty shop in an amusement arcade most likely. The quality is very poor as it is deteriorating badly. This presentation is highly enhanced.

Now, line up and march on back to see what else you can find in this week's Sepia Saturday collection.

The most popular photographs most popular, Family Group, An album of the most requested photographs in the Lost Gallery.

Area 51 and a Half Area 51 and a Half You are probably not authorized to see these.

Don't take my picture! Oh! You DID didn't you! completely unaware of the photographer This is a collection of photographs that disappear on the way home from the photo processing shop.

And don't miss
Cabinet Card Gallery
One Man's Treasure
Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost
Vernacular Photography
The best
sites on the web.

And for postcards try

All images are the property of Lost Gallery and the author. Permission must be granted for their use. All rights reserved.

THE KIDS Lesson one. It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.

Dee and the Business School Dee and the Business School
The beautiful Dee. A curious story; What do you see?

Neiffel and Helvetica Typehigh

"What are they doing?"


  1. This is certainly a full platoon of servicemen (and servicewoman) !
    I like the backgrounds too which could be clues for the location. As an ex-army brat, I know that some of the companion copies of these photos ended up laminated as military ID cards. You paid a dollar for 4 but needed only the one with the serious face. My favorite is the sailor in the next to last row who looks like his uniform and hat was painted onto the photo.

    1. Thanks Mike Brubaker. I never thought about the ID card usage. I bet that happened a lot! I am not sure what happened to the sailor's shirt. It looks like someone started to watercolor over it and then decided against it.

  2. You're not the only one to rant about this...and we need some good, old-fashioned ranting to get people to listen, to pay've hit all the high points in yours!

    1. Thanks Deb Gould. I usually avoid serious rants about things I can't do much about, but this one just got out of hand. I guess I'll have to buy my own set of politicians to get something changed. We seem to have elected a pack of shrews with a serious lack of ethics. They luxuriate in unregulated lobbying (read pay-offs and kickbacks) and unlimited terms. What have we done?

      Perhaps we didn’t do it at all. Does our vote really count? Or do the corporations simply install their puppets and tell us we elected them? Whoa. I promise I’ll stop now.

      I have to watch my blood pressure. To explain that, I’ll only say that I was eight years old when FDR died.

  3. A provocative display of photographs and especially of words all too true. 'War', in one form or another, has been with the human race since the beginning of its existence. For a while, it was somewhat limited in scope. But as the world becomes "smaller" through technology, the scope of war increases. Perhaps the answer to it all is the total loss of technology. (Aaaack!) But I'm afraid that would only delay the inevitability of its return. Still, there are many nations currently capable of living peacefully together so we must continue to hope and pray for a peaceful world somehow, some way, in some distant future.

    1. Thanks La Nightingail. You are right. There are many nations living in peace at the present time. What motivates the ones that don’t? It is mostly greed and bigotry. And you are right again; technology gives it lightning speed and devastating accuracy.

  4. A rant that's serious about a serious issue. But we still never learn. A great photo collection.

    1. Thanks Bob Scotney. I'm calmer today.

  5. I’ve never seen a gallery of ‘photo-booth’ servicemen before. It’s usually the studio shots we see. It puts quite a different perspective on it. Well ranted.

    1. Thanks Little Nell. I had more of them that I thought I had.



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