Saturday, November 30, 2013

That Latest Obsession -- Historical Boyfriends!

Whilst perusing the internets for visual inspiration, I tripped up over My Daguerrotype Boyfriend -- an absolute motherlode of historical hotties from (mostly) the 19th century, when photography was brand spanking new and portraiture was all the rage. 

Having a boyfriend from history isn't anything new for me. I'm always flipping through a history book and crushing on someone -- and with websites like Historically Handsome Men, Fuck Yeah Historical Hotties, Bangable Dudes in History (a personal fave for the pie charts alone) and more, there's plenty to support my strange habit. My eye usually latches onto stuff like this because I genuinely love history.  After awhile, I started to wonder what the people I would read of actually looked like.  And then I started to wonder about everyone else. I began to dig through old photos, researching, looking for a glimpse of a real face.  And all at once, I would find them. Most of the time, they seemed just as startled to see me.

Case in point?  The German Federal Crime Police Office took four contemporary paintings to create this photograph of Mozart, circa 1777.

It doesn't matter if I'm mending a day dress, rereading a biography or singing at a 1920s tea social. Peering into the past illuminates the present.  A lot of what seems convoluted nowadays -- especially in politics -- is much more easily understood in historical context. 

And besides, all of this is great fodder for spinning yarns into songs that make you want to sing along with them. If I'm nothing else, I'm a storyteller.  And all of this feeling and inspiration has to go somewhere.

Peter "Black Prince" Jackson, c. 1900. From Jamaica by way of the Virgin Islands. Not surprisingly, he was also known as Peter the Great. His claim to fame? He won the Australian heavyweight title in 1886 with a knock out -- after 30 rounds. (ka-BOOM.) I can feel fearlessness emanating from him in waves, from all the way over here. According to the website: This boxer boyfriend found his calling after putting down a ship’s mutiny using his powerful fists. (He pulled that off as a teenager, folks.) A fine specimen of physical development indeed.

His tombstone says, This was a man.  Now that's an epitaph.

Believe it or not, this is President Rutherford B. Hayes when he was in his twenties. I always wondered what was under all that beard.  In later years, he looked like he smelled of foot odor, mulch and a great deal of regret. (Don't believe me? Click here.)  Who knew he was this gorgeous? 

Unknown Japanese man from the 19th century. Stunning, isn't he. His hair softens that hard steady look but I'm fairly convinced that he's looking right at me.  How old is he?  How long is his hair?  Is that the handle of a knife at his waist? *sigh* I have way too many questions...

I know this sounds hokey, but I can't believe how real he looks. 

 Sioux Indian smoking a cigarette, 1908 -- looking absolutely drop-dead resplendent.  I love everything about this picture.  And him. Simply put, he's beautiful. So confident and self-assured and so styled out, it hurts a little. I don't know what I love more: the whiteness of his shirt, those (beaded?) cuffs or the look on his face.

Tintype of an unknown young man, 1850. His gloved hands, those clothes, the glowy halo around him. So lovely. His dress is straight out of antiquity but that face is here and now. Seriously, this brother looks way too familiar. As God is my witness, I could have sworn I saw him last week on 135th and St. Nick.  I remember him because he smiled at me as I passed him by...

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