DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY SITS ON THE FRONT STEPS OF A HOUSE IN LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK (1887)

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A family therapist might find it interesting to analyze this portrait of three women and a man sitting on the front porch of a house in Lake Placid, New York. The therapist might note that three of the subjects are looking off in one direction while the young woman (sitting the closest to the bottom) is staring in the opposite direction. What is going on with this young lady? Not only is she oppositional but she is displaying horrible posture (slouching), and a “bored out of her mind” expression. The gentleman in this image is also exhibiting an interesting expression. He looks like the cat that ate the canary as he flashes a mischievous grin. He is holding a book/magazine. Perhaps the reading material is humorous. The four individuals in this photograph seem totally disconnected from each other. If the four subjects comprise a family, than they seem to be lacking warmth and a sense of being a cohesive unit. This photograph has an inscription on the reverse side. The inscription states “The Westside, Lake Placid, 1887”. The name of the photographer can be found embossed on the lower left hand corner of the image. His name is listed as “H. T. Hull, Amateur”. The word amateur appears so that viewers of the image would know that the photograph was not taken by a professional photographer. When photography became available to non professionals, there would be competitions held for amateurs so they could have places to exhibit their best photographs. This photograph measures 8 1/4″ x 6 1/4″.

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Published in: on January 23, 2015 at 12:03 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I beg to differ. “Dysfunctional families” are usually the ones you see lined up in identical holiday sweaters. – All grinning.

    • How about this maxim? The only non dysfunctional family is the family that you don’t know very well.

  2. A little history of “The Westside,” later to become the White Face Inn, is found on this site – http://lakeplacidhistory.com/history_spot_files/WhitefaceInn.pdf

    • I wonder if the lady’s posture and pained expression is the result of an uncomfortable corset, never designed for that seating option. But what do I know?

      • I was going to say the same thing. In all the seductive photos of that time, the ladies that are supposed to be stretched across their sofas like cats can barely lean up on one arm. For all the bare arms and shoulders, they’re all wearing corsets and could not make one movement in comfort.

        The fellow in the photo is merely pleased to be surrounded by all his women, and in possession of what in all probability is a magazine he would never let them read.

  3. Interesting photo, I don’t see dysfunctional here? Everyone pictured has a different style for certain.

  4. They are most likely summer boarders and not related at all.

    • Considering the mother is on top, Daughter next, spitting image of each other. The second daughter shows the family line also. This looks like a family portrait. Question is, is the gentlemen a son or the father… Somewhere in time… 🙂


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