This portrait, a gift from the wonderful Lizzie Bramlett, is apparently a practice photo by a budding new photographer. On the back the maker has listed the day (June 25, 1932), the time (4:00 pm), the camera setting (F6.3, 1 sec.), and the distance (six feet). The right corner is a little fuzzy, but the older woman at her sewing machine is a beautiful composition of light and darkness.
The seamstress is clearly older. Streaks of her gray hair are lit up in the photo. She has the full chest and broad hips that many women get as they age. Her dress is quite long and I wonder if she ever took to the shorter fashions of the late 1920s. It looks like a cotton house dress to me, with the small prints favored by many older women. Does it have a belt or is she wearing an apron that accounts for the tight line around her waist?
Look at all the different prints in the picture—the dotted theme of her dress, the floral pattern on the wall, the dots again on the curtains, the geometric pattern of the rug. It is almost a relief that the fabric she is sewing appears to be pure white.