One thing that gets weird about photos shot with costumes, props and a fake background is that eventually the photo will become old, and then it’s more difficult to tell whether the people in the photo are dressed in their normal clothing, were being photographed to promote a play, or just having a novelty photo taken. So the image above might seem like an 1890s version of what a photo of someone in 2024 wearing disco clothes might convey in the year 2156.
Anyway, like with most of these old photos there is little chance we can identify who is in the shot, but nonetheless we put the mystery out there for potential solving. The only clue we have is that according to the Minnesota Historical Society’s Directory of Minnesota Photographers, Willis A. Nye had a studio in Duluth’s Long Building at 7 E. Superior St. circa 1890 to 1892. Toward the end of that run, city directories list the proprietors of Nye’s Studio as Willis Nye’s wife Myra Nye and Frederick Johnson.
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