Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Back Page - The Photo Mask

group of four in forest

In many of the old RPPC and Cabinet Cards the portrait is set within a photo mask. This is a cut out mask that is placed between the negative and the photopaper before it is exposed so that the resulting print appears to be framed inside a heart or a leaf or just a circle.

Here are a few.

New Additions

Cabinet Card woman
Cabinet Card Man

Family Group with bows
On this one the photographer moved the mask slightly during exposure in the dark room to produce the fuzzy line of the oval.

Girls and guys
Five Children

CDV portrait
Large Group

The oval, vertical or horizontal, is probably the most common photo-mask.

Three in the studio

Two children in a wagon
Tailgate Drinking Party

Six children and a dog.
Two women

Trio in cut out
20110910 couple in studio RPPC
Two girls


Cabinet Card portrait of a man


Now, the one at the left was not done the same way.

First the print paper was exposed with just a leaf pressed in the middle. Then the leaf was replaced with the portrait negative and exposed to light again. The result is a black border around the portrait.

baby in cutout
two children in cutout
child on porch
Woman,  Hat, Fan
This one was done like the "leaf" portrait just above.


RPPC Woman and Child
Man and pair of horses

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.

Or try out the NEW

And don't miss
Cabinet Card Gallery
Penny Tales
Square America
Tattered and Lost Vernacular Photography
The best FOUND PHOTOGRAPH 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. Okay, I'm not gettin' the duck foot at all. Love these, but the duck foot is weird.

  2. Gosh, I don't get that one either. I theorized it might be a family crest or a Christmas bell.

    I think in reality, the photographer just folded a sheet of paper, cut out what he thought was a random design and then printed the picture through the hole. Then he had to do some fancy talking to get the family to buy it. It still looks like a duck footprint.

  3. Oh wouldn't that have been fun to watch. A duck print. The husband had asked for a nice duck print to hang on his wall and the wife came home with this.

  4. That's funny! These old prints always have a story.

  5. Thanks! You know, you could be right! I didn't think of that. Maybe the customer's name was Bell!

    Thanks for reminding me about this page, I have some new discoveries to add. I'll do that today.



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