[Young Man, Standing, beside Empty Chair with Civil War Kepi on Seat, and Worn Boots, in Studio]
C. Burgess (American)
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 8.6 x 5.4 cm (3 3/8 x 2 1/8 in.)
Mount: 10.2 x 6.4 cm (4 x 2 1/2 in.)
Buck Zaidel Collection
Not on view
The vast majority of Civil War portrait photographs are unidentified. One day, researchers may discover the identity and circumstances of the young man whom a Troy, New York, photographer recorded standing beside a conspicuously empty studio chair. A pair of worn boots and a soldier’s kepi on the seat complete the composition. Is the subject mourning a lost comrade, a brother, his father? Or might he be portraying himself as a civilian contemplating the loss of his former self, a Civil War soldier? For some, the mystery may be more beautiful and pleasing than any future clarification could offer.