Artist’s Altered Cabinet Cards Depict Fantastical Visitors

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Would You Look Forward to Their Next Visit or Run Away?

Read more about how this artist has fun with the Victorian tradition of cabinet cards:

Altered Cabinet Card Portraits by Colin Batty

Cabinet cards were a way that a visitor would let someone know they had come to call. These cards,  included a photograph of the visitor. That could be a very handy way to connect names and faces, wouldn’t you say?

Larger than their predecessor, the calling card, cabinet cards were popular in the late 1800s. This larger size allowed people to display the photographs. It also revealed a personal’s facial characteristics with more clarity–including any perceived “faults.”

Since no one really wants to leave an ugly photograph behind, photographers of the day hired artists to alter the images. They actually modified the negative itself in order to provide a more perfect print for the customer to distribute.

Altered Cabinet Card Portraits by Colin Batty

The above cabinet card could perhaps have been left behind by the offspring of Alice (as in, Through the Looking Glass, and Alice in Wonderland) and the Caterpillar.

Other images appear to depict people who might have starred in the circus sideshow tents. Some include aliens. Still others reveal heroes in our midst, as the Victorian Superman below, acts of violence, and just about anything else that Batty’s mind, and paintbrush, can come up with.

Yes, you read that right–Batty is a traditional painter and these images are created using traditional paint and brush, not a computer

Altered Cabinet Card Portraits by Colin Batty

Artist Colin Batty has a new book, Meet the Family, that takes some of these popular cabinet cards and reimagines them as if were from alien callers–and the photography studio didn’t do any retouching to humanize them. (Or perhaps they did!)

A series of these altered cabinet cards is available in a book titled, Meet the Family. Other original images are available for sale individually at Peculiarium in Portland, Oregon.

This is the complete collection of Cabinet Cards by UK artist Colin Batty. Colin starts with original, vintage cabinet cards and paints directly on the card. No computer. The cards range in age from the late 1800’s to the early 1900s. Each picture is an original vintage picture, with all the wear and life of a 100 year old photograph.

Hailing from Britain, Batty is a talented painter whose other work has appeared in several films, including Tim Burton’s, Mars Attacks, the Oscar nominated short, The Sandman.

Colin Batty altered cabinet card

images via Peculiarium

Original source, and where you can get more information on Colin Batty and his altered cabinet cards: Peculiarium, Lost At E-Minor, Archie McPhee’s Endless Geyser of Awesome

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