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Couple at Niagara Falls in Waterproofs

1860s

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Is it a honeymoon reverie that has brought this stalwart young couple precariously close to the edge of the falls, posing gamely for the photographer in their waterproof slickers? Taken from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and showing the spectacular cliff, Henry Hollister's portrait positions its subjects so that they are framed by the brilliant white foamy spray as the falls stream downward in silvery sheets. The man stands in partial shadow behind his companion, his hand placed firmly on her shoulder as if to steady and comfort her. The balled-up left fist lying in her lap suggests that she was not entirely at ease with their vertiginous positioning, but a tentative smile reveals her to be at least a good sport.

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