Family in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This carte-de-visite may be the only photo from South America in my collection.  The family isn’t named, but a stamp on the back identifies the studio.  It looks like Compania Fotografica, Rivadavia 420, Buenos Aires:

Family in Buenos Aires 5

Avenida Rivadavia is a major thoroughfare, and 420 is in the heart of the downtown area, surrounded by museums and government buildings.  A photo on Wikipedia shows what the avenue looked like around 1880:

Calle Rivadavia by Samuel Boote
Calle Rivadavia, en la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Samuel Boote, 1844-1921).  Public domain image.


I don’t know anything about the history of Buenos Aires or Argentina, so I’ll end my comments and leave you with close-ups of each member of the family:

Family in Buenos Aires 2

Family in Buenos Aires 3

Family in Buenos Aires 4


In the next post, I think we’ll return to Europe, unless a storm blows us off course.  See you there!


42 thoughts on “Family in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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    1. I think the seated woman is the man’s wife and the girl’s mother. I’d guess she was in her late teens or early twenties when she had the girl. The man does look older. Another possibility is that the girl in white is from a previous marriage of one of the other two, but I don’t see any reason to assume that.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! I think it worked pretty well, except that the girl in white is slightly out of focus. Otherwise, the arrangement has a nice symmetry.

      I enjoyed looking at your website, by the way! Thanks for linking to it in the comments under “The Worst Millennial You Know…But Thankful!” (funny title!).

      Liked by 2 people

  1. As a European, I tend to think of South America as a wild and exotic place, and I tend to forget how similar to European cities any large South American city, like Buenos Aires, or Montevideo for example, would have been. Of course with its own different atmosphere, but still culturally quite close. Look at the picture of the street: it’s not a million miles from Berlin, is it?

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  2. I love the contrast of what I assume to be the daughter’s dress paired with the darker garments of the parents. I wonder if the darker or lighter attire might be a reflection of the person’s age?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wondered about her white dress, too! It brings to mind confirmation dresses, which I often see in North American photos from the 19th century (and later). However, those don’t have black accents, and the sitters are always alone, to indicate the transition toward adulthood. In the case of this family, the white may simply be a sign of the girl’s age (and immaturity).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just love seeing these old photos. The apparel, hair, accessories, etc. is so beautiful. Everything was so intricate and intentional. Sometimes I cringe when I see people at the super market in fleece pajamas and wish it was like it used to be in these times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree! Living in farm country, I’m used to seeing both men and women in dirty tee-shirts and dirtier jeans or Carhartts. Earlier eras had much higher standards than ours for public appearances. There were downsides, though, such as corsets for women and suits for men year-round. I’d be miserable in the summer if I had to wear suits everywhere!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This is a beautiful photograph and a lovely family. They seem very at ease with one another. Perhaps they’ll have a nice lunch when they’re done sitting for their portrait. 😊

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    1. I love the way the two in back have their hands resting on the woman’s shoulders. They may have done so at the suggestion of the photographer, but either way, it’s a sign of closeness and connection (literally) between the three. If you don’t focus on their clothing, they could almost be a family getting their portrait made today.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. As the three are looking in different directions it made me think the young girl is looking forward to the future, the mother is happily in the present and the father is looking at pleasant memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have a far more mundane interpretation. Given the slight hint of humor in the father’s expression, the calm resignation of the mother, and the “omg I’m stuck here until we get this over with” flavor of the girl’s expression, I’d say there’s just been a family conference about how one should behave when it’s time to have a portrait made! When Mom and Dad join forces, teenagers don’t have a chance!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I really like this picture. The woman in the middle is very beautiful. I’d say she looks like an actress. Maybe she’s surrounded by her relatives. Or a couple asked for a photo with an actress. This is just my fantasy-based assumption))

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Looking at the picture, i thought the man was thinking, “im so proud to possess such a beautiful wife, ” and the wife was thinking “How did I end up, stuck, married to this guy,?”and the little girl is thinking, “why cant you two just get along.”

    I also noticed that because of her own hooped skirt and her mother’s broad skirts, the litfle girl looks as if she is floating above the ground.

    This picture reminds me of a series on netflix, from Spain, about a family who owns a hotel. Similar clothes and period, “Grand hotel. “This link has stills from the series and the still numbered 12 has the character the woman reminds me of.

    Cool selection!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I imagine a more positive relationship between the parents, but then I’ve never been married. 😉

      The girl really does look like she’s floating. Maybe she’s standing on something, or behind whatever her mother is sitting on. It’s really hard to tell.

      I hadn’t heard of that series. I may need to give it a try!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. It is very interesting to see this photo from the past, and just as interesting to read the comments. 🙂
    I would never have guessed it was taken in Argentina.
    I am fascinated by the two standing having their hands firmly on the seated woman’s shoulders. It’s almost as if they expect her to levitate if they let go! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, I hadn’t thought of that! They do seem to be holding her firmly in place. 😉

      One thing occurred to me: we don’t know for sure that this family was Argentine. They could have been visiting Buenos Aires from Spain or from another Latin American country. I wish we knew for sure. Maybe they’ll turn out to be famous and someone will recognize them, but I doubt it.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. It looks more Spanish than Argentinian so I wonder if they were a Spanish family who emigrated there. The woman in the middle – particularly her hairstyle and clothing are very spanish.

    Some of my family settled in Argentina. If I can find the photos I’ve scanned of them, I’ll try to compare the clothing as it’ll be a similar period. However, they were originally from Eastern Europe so I don’t know if they’ll have taken the styles with them or not.

    Liked by 2 people

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