Oct 9, 2012

"Pete the Kid" or a gunslinger in the making

This summer my mother moved to a home for the elderly. On the attic of her old house there were still some boxes with stuff I had left there. I had to go trough these and make two piles: one for the junk and and one to  take home. In the boxes I found two old photo albums and when I leafed through them many memories from my youth looked at me from the paper. Some pics I took out but the majority landed on the junk pile. That's the fate of most photographs...
There are a few pics that I saved and that I want to show here.


In the top and bottom left pic the gunslinger might look convincing, but the bottom right portrait gives him away. He looks far from mean or weathered like the real Billy the Kid from the end of the 1870's.
The pics here date from a century later, sometime between 1977 and 1980. In those years I had a 35 mm reflex camera and these were made with it. The gunslingers outfit consisted of a toy pistol, an old coat (early 70s style!) and discarded hat from my grandfather. I thought it didn't look very convincing then, but looking at the pics now the outfit isn't that bad at all. The real mean men of the West didn't wear Hollywood outfits, as I have found out later.
The prints were enlarged with a cheap enlarger in the bathroom and tinted in solutions of tea and coffee to make them appear old. I somehow still like them, despite their technical flaws.
Here's the real Billy in the 2.3 million dollar ferrotype that was sold on June 25, 2011.

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