It has been some time since we looked at a simple studio portrait of a soldier from the First World War. I always enjoying analysing these photographs as there is a myriad of little clues to pick up that tell you something about the picture. Is this a studio portrait taken in the UK or is it taken just behind the lines with the soldier dressed as he came out of the trenches? What nationality is he? Is he a raw recruit or a grizzled veteran?
This week’s photograph is of an Australian soldier and is full of character and atmosphere:
This photograph of ‘Teddie’ was certainly taken just behind the lines, as witnessed by the rough ground in front of the backdrop and the simple attire of the subject. He wears just a shirt and interestingly a pair of very long shorts with his puttees and boots, which still have mud plastered over them:
The shorts are held up by a simple leather belt, although brace buttons are also clearly visible:
We can tell he is probably an Australian by the slouch hat worn on his head:
One final detail worth noting is the small, private purchase identity disc worn on his wrist:
All in all this simple postcard has quite a few little points that can be teased out to give some information on its subject and it is this kind of detective work that I so enjoy with old postcards and photographs.