6/22/2008

Photo of the week - The Krügers

Date: Early 1900's
Photographer: F. Vogel
Sitter: Maria and Martha Krüger
Provenience: Germany

After a long break it is about time to return to my own collection of old photos. This I got at a flee-market in Berlin (when on a hunt for old photos flee-markets are the best place to go; that or odd vintage shops, there is a lovely one in Prague, close to the great square that I can recommend - though they are mainly aimed at the Art Deco-era they have some older photos too which you can buy for a rather small sum).

The print on the front of the photo says 'F. Vogel, Gr. Lichterfelde, O., Jungfernstieg 3' and on the back someone has written (and judging by the lack of steadiness in the writing it is done by an elderly person) 'Maria + Martha Krüger'.

Gr. Lichterfelde (or Gross Lichterfelde as it is really called) is a part of Berlin, now in the borough of Steglitz-Zehlendorf in the south most part of the town. Lichterfelde was, in the 19th century, growing considerably because of all the the wealthy Berliners who moved there and built fancy villas, and the two new parts of the village that was founded were named Lichterfelde West and Lichterfelde Ost. In the 1880's the parts were all gathered under the name of Gross Lichterfeld - and this photo studio was situated in that part that was Lichterfelde Ost. It became a part of Berlin in 1920 - years after this photo was taken.

The sitters are probably mother and daughter (or possibly two sisters with a great age-difference but that is impossible to tell for sure). That they are closely related is obvious, even without the writing on the photo, the two have very similar faces. That they are rather well off is obvious, both from the way they are dressed and were the photo is taken, it is a district of the well to do, and at the turn of the last century photo-studios was a very common thing so it is most likely that the photo is taken close to home.

The two are well-dressed, but not too fancy, the woman in a dark, long-sleeved dress and hat. This should not be viewed as a sign of her being in mourning, at the time black was a colour of fashion and the girl is dressed in a white dress - which she would not have done had they lost someone close enough for the woman to dress in all black for. It should rather be seen as a typical example of how a woman and a girl of the upper classes dressed in the first years of the 20th century.

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