Juxtaposing Autochrome, Americana, and Anachronism

There are some words I just love the sound of. Often they’re unusual words and they only fit in rare circumstances.

For example, the word anachronism. It means something or someone who exists out of its proper time and place in history. Imagine walking down the street where you live and a pterodactyl happened to fly overhead. Or if a flapper walked into the Salem Witch Trials. (Who do you think would be more terrified? The flapper or the colonial settlers?) Arnold Genthe’s autochrome photographs were anachronistic because color photographs were not the norm in 1906!

People in a car under a large pine tree 1906


I love the misty look Genthe’s photos have. It reminds me of that song Summer Breeze–a 1972 hit by Seals & Croft!

Another word I like is juxtaposition, or putting contrasting things together, like those peanut butter and banana sandwiches Elvis loved.

So I’m juxtaposing Arnold Genthe’s anachronistic photographs with Summer Breeze and another song from 1959 called Sleep Walk by Santo & Johnny for you to enjoy together. And there you have it: it’s all tied together! And it seems like it works.

Arnold Genthe. circa 1906.


House with a person seated outside at an easel and two people at a window circa 1910


Alice Krass. 1935


Two men walking along a road through woods. circa 1910


Two Isadora Duncan dancers. Circa 1920.


Arnold Genthe’s bungalow in CA 1906


Woman wearing a black kimono with floral decorations standing next to a tree in the garden of Genthe’s studio in San Francisco. circa 1910.


Two women seated at a table in Genthe’s studio on Clay Street in San Francisco. circa 1910


Woman wearing a blue dress with a white fur wrap holding Buzzer the cat on her lap. circa 1910


Boy and girl standing on a dirt road leading to a three-story house, Circa 1910


In the last photograph, Genthe photographed people dressed up in eighteenth century clothing. That’s anachronism

Outdoor activity with people dressed in eighteenth-century costumes. 1906


all photos are courtesy of the Library of Congress

6 thoughts on “Juxtaposing Autochrome, Americana, and Anachronism

  1. What an odd photographic style. Actually, back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, fancy dress parties where people dressed up as if in different time periods were very common certainly in wealthy England though I am not so sure about America.

    Alice Krass above, the lady with the blouse of red flowers, has very striking features and such long tapered fingers!

    I know a man whom I would call an anachronism. It is as if he lives in the 1950’s even though it is the year 2022. He will even wear a bowler hat to Mass and we don’t even live in Britain…if anyone in Britain actually still wears a bowler. It is if he has a nostalgia for the past and refuses to step into the present. He is unduly set in his ways. He was raised in the 60’s as a child and came to age in the 70’s so why he acts this way is a bit of a conundrum. Nostalgia is a funny thing though, and somewhat blind in its reveries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed Alice Krass’ fingers as well. She looked very haughty and interesting.
      Your friend with the bowler hat sounds like a fascinating person! Maybe that style suits him. I’m afraid I’m a little that way myself. Save the plumbing, I think I’d feel much more at home in the 1900s or the 1920s than I do today. Certainly the styles suit me better than skinny jeans!


  2. I loved everything about this! The photos were all amazing and so lovely…. The songs brought back memories for me, Summer Breeze because I graduated the year it came out, and Sleepwalk was a song my parents would listen to on their stereo….I loved it then as now…. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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