August 18, 2015
The fire’s still burning bright in this old man
1870’s old smiling man from Algona, Iowa. Burlingame. CDV. Private Collection.
The oldest sitter in my collection! He must have been in his 70’s or 80’s at the time of this picture, always a feat at a time when the average lifespan was much shorter. I find it fascinating to think this man was born in or around 1800. I cannot begin to imagine what his life was like, the changes he witnessed, what he had seen and experienced, good or bad, and after all that for him to smile like this. So unusual too for a carte de visite of the period.
He looks like someone who led a very fulfilling life. There is fire and a zest for life in his piercing eyes old age did not manage to dim. And to complement the effect he still had a headful of thick, snowy white hair.
There is a different kind of true beauty that transcends age and is deeper than the fleeting skin-deep one of youth; this content looking, dignified old man is proof. (I bet though, that he was quite the gentleman in his younger days too!)
I love his generous neck scarf too, the way he tied it in a nice bow.
D.W. Burlingame’s. Fine Art Gallery, Algona. Iowa.