A Cool Old Photograph

Unidentified Calumet, MI Photograph Here’s an old photograph that I promised to share with Kathy Petlewski, but I thought I’d share it with everyone else. The back is in bad shape, and the photographer print is nearly ripped off, but what remains says “Calumet” and half of a photographer’s name. I actually do not have this photograph in my possession at the moment so I can’t give any more description. I’m speculating that it might be a couple of the immigrant Pytlewski brothers, but I will never know for sure unless someone can identify them.


12 thoughts on “A Cool Old Photograph

  1. Hi there,
    I’m a digital editor, and I hope you don’t mind but when I saw this photograph, I thought I’d practise my skills and retouch it 🙂

    Here’s the finished result!


  2. Wow, this is a really old post, but thought it was interesting. These two folks are actually deceased in the photograph and propped up by two stands you can see peeking out behidn their feet. These types of photographs weren’t uncommon in those days. If you look closely you can see the stands, and the strange looks on their faces give it away aswell. The man on the left actually only has his left eye hald way open. They were usually held open by some strange device or painted ontop of the eyelids. Creepy.


    1. Thanks for pointing this out. I never noticed this before. I did know that this was a practice back in this time period. I just never entertained the thought that my ancestors participated in this sort of ritual.


    1. Hi Robert,

      Its nice to meet you. I’ve already bee directed to the polish website. I haven’t been able to make a connection to those Pytlewskis. Although, this does not mean there isn’t any.


  3. Hey there. My name is James and I’m an art student. I was given an assignment to retouch an old photo, and I happened upon your photo here. (just as one of the people above had).

    I also hope you don’t mind that I retouched it in photoshop to bring out the details and stuff. Here is a link to the before and after if you would like to see it 🙂


  4. The comment above by Jake is incorrect. Post-mortem photography was quite popular in the 19th century, and if you look at online auction sites, you’ll quite frequently find people selling old photographs of what they claim are deceased people. However, the allegedly dead subjects are often standing up in the photos, and the descriptions of the photos explain that the bodies were held in place by posing stands.

    As early photography required quite long exposures, posing stands and head clamps were frequently used in portraits to help (live) subjects sit or stand still long enough to get a clear image. However, it is unlikely that the stands were actually used for post-mortem photography, as it would be extremely difficult, if not entirely impossible, to stand a corpse up and pose it using only a posing stand. Post-mortem photographs were generally taken with the subject lying down or propped up into a sitting position using pillows or other aids.


  5. I think that both of these men are deceased….Look behind their feet, you can see the ‘stands’ that were used to prop them up!


  6. Hi, it is an internet myth that a stand on old pictures means people are deceased. They are NOT!
    And you only need to look on this picture to see that both men are alive.
    Never was a stand used to make a dead body stand upright! The stand could nod held that weight, look at the feet of the stand!


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