Thanks to more modern cameras and easier to use, by the end of the 19th century also amateurs began dealing with photography, to various effect, as a matter of fact. The ambition of many was to create themselves countenances placed in family albums. However, the posing for portraits in renowned photographer’s studios continued, as respectful citizens and their families wished their official effigies to be perfectly executed.

When seeing such photographs, why not take a closer look at the furnishing of the background, as although the setting used to be most frequently arranged by the studio’s owner, it was meant to render the character of the flats of those who were photographed. On other occasions, the photo background was formed by a hand-painted open-air decoration. Moreover, the general practice was to retouch faces. Not so much for embellishment; quite simply the twitching eyeballs and involuntary eyelid movements made the models’ eyes disappear from the photo. Therefore, until the invention of cameras allowing for a brief exposure, certain details simply had

to be painted. This accounts for the fact that so many photographers were painters at the same time (e.g. Willnow, Strożecki) and so many painters would seek position at photographer’s studio to enhance their financial standing (e.g. Gerson, Gierymski). What is more, an artist-painter was perfectly capable of turning the sepia or black-and-white positive into a coloured one by simply applying water-colours.



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