Charles Redington Mudge, As Photographed By John Adams Whipple

At some point in the course of the war, Charles Redington Mudge sat for the well-known photographer, John Adams Whipple.

During that time, Whipple made several plates. At least three that I know of. One of Mudge standing, and two sitting.

In the preceding post, I showed the standing pose. But by far the most common, and emotionally resonant, are the two that show  Mudge seated– one with his hand under his chin, the other with his hands folded on the table.

There are many versions of the “hand under chin” frame. Most of them are cropped and low resolution. Good at best, not great.

In the early 2000s, I took a period print of this frame, currently in a family residence, to be archivally re-matted, and I used the opportunity to make a high resolution scan of it. This particular print is quite large and may actually have been part of the studio’s retouch process. A grayish wash or ink has been directly applied to the paper, smoothing out both Mudge’s uniform, and the drapery over the table.

Here below, is a version of that scan, sized for the Web.




And here are two alternate versions of the “hand under chin” frame.



As I mentioned, there is a second frame showing Mudge sitting; this one with his hands folded on the table. I have only found this one print. Unfortunately there is a lot of speckling, and it is hard to remove without sacrificing overall image quality.



Notice the difference in his eyes, indeed the psychology as a whole, between the two frames.

I don’t want to speculate, or project, as to the reasons for the difference between them, but it would be no great leap to say this was a young man carrying a heavy burden, and, for a moment, it showed.


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