I think these are ‘self portraits’ by Nita orchestrated with the help of her mother, taken at home in London with domestic tungsten lighting (standing lamps). It looks like Nita has emulated the Hollywood 1930’s style of under-lighting the face to create drama. The image of her holding a cigarette below is very reminiscent of a well known Garbo photo- I will try and find the image of Garbo- it feels like a subliminal 30’s Hollywood image. Can you see the chemical marks running from her forehead to her chin? These are on the tiny passport sized print (I don’t have a negative for this). I love the documented decay of the process here.
I also need to start to collect images of Nita’s hands- they are quite extraordinary- and carry on being so later in life, circa 1960. See below:
The dirt, chemical traces & colour on the print surface below feels tangible and gritty. A reminder of the analogue process and time itself.
Above: Striking domestic ‘self portraits’, circa 1935.
Below: Hollywood, Paramount film set photograph, “Search for Beauty”, 1933