This turn-of-the-century photo features two sisters posing with the casket of their deceased brother. The sisters' expressions look sincerely pained, not as stoic as many from the period. I find that the faces of people in post-mortem photos are usually much more blank than these. I see genuine pain here. I would attribute the usual blank face to the formality of the photography process in an age before snapshots, and the fact that infant mortality was much higher and death was so much more par-for-the-course. Perhaps these young souls were more affected, because they hadn't seen it over and over again like some of their elders. A Bit of History: These sisters were named Sturgill from Ashe, North Carolina. To the right is Gracie Sturgill and to the left is Ola (Oklahoma) Sturgill. The deceased brother's name was Mathes. These names were written on the backside of the frame, and their state of residence was found by typing in their names on an ancestry website. It's amazing, the information you can find on the basis of so little information. This photo is done in a charcoal style that was only popular for a brief period during the turn-of-the-century. It makes the photo look more like art than photography. I was once told what this process is called, but I've since forgot. If anyone knows, please post it in a comment. The size is 16 x 20 including the ornate frame. I find the size of the piece to be quite unusual-- it's strange to imagine this large piece hanging in someone's house, a constant reminder of what's been lost. It looks as if it was meant to hang over a mantel, right in the center of the family's living space.
FringePop is a showcase for uncommon and esoteric cultural artifacts. The focus is on unusual items from both popular and fringe culture, with an emphasis on subversive pieces. The items shown are from the author's personal collection, unless otherwise noted.
I am a pop culture buff and collector, who focuses on the odd, subversive, and fringe elements of Western culture. In 2005, I edited a book for Feral House called "Sin-A-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties." The vintage oddities in my collection include victoriana, sideshow, medical, and kitsch. I am also an amateur sewer, making clothing from vintage mod patterns.