Sunday, April 14, 2013

Daguerreotype Bad Boy

No, this photo isn't from the latest Tommy Hilfiger men's fashion marketing campaign. This is Lewis Thornton Powell, one of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, colorized and waiting to be hung on the gallows. During his military trial, his lawyer begged the court for leniency, saying he was insane: "He lives in that land of imagination where it seems to him legions of southern soldiers wait to crown him as their chief commander."
I found this bad boy on my new Tumblr obsession, My Daguerreotype Boyfriend, which is,  as MDB tags it, "Where Early Photography Meets Extreme Hotness." Basically, it's hot guys you will never meet because they died years ago. But at least you can enjoy looking.

I've come across some daguerreotype boyfriends in the course of my own Bad Girl research. Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, for example:
What about you? Have you ever had a crush on a dead man? The first time I experienced it was in college, when I was watching James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause," and realized, "Wow, I'm totally in love with this guy, only he's too old for me. And he's dead." But it didn't stop me from wanting to watch his movies. History is funny that way -- you can reach across the decades or the centuries and feel that you have a personal relationship with somebody you can never possibly (and might not want to) meet.