It’s not hard to fall in love with Buster Keaton. He makes it so easy. Which is why I’ve always (and in my case always is a matter of a few months) been very mystified by this photo. It’s so unusual. He’s unmade, there’s an odd tension in his brows, and he almost has an agasp, or irritated expression. Basically, not the normal Stoneface, downtrodden sympathetic look, that he relentlessly strikes in every photo.
As per my unrelated obsession with antique and vintage photography, one thing I can say almost conclusively after analysis, is this is something of a snapshot or amateur photo. The light is harsh, lighting up the background and his back more than his face. It’s a hard spot and doesn’t look like any kind of bounce is used at all, the photographer was not a professional in my estimation. Not only that, but the hat he’s wearing is in rough shape, as though it was being heavily used at the time, or an old prop grabbed in haste.
But it doesn’t stop there. It’s terribly exposed to match the terrible lighting, which is why his light-facing shoulder is nearly invisible. So, to conclude, it seems to be imprompt, and unskillful on the part of the photographer, which may have something to do with Buster’s unusual expression.
Such a unique photo in such bad condition, that I’d see go by again and again on my dash, finally got to me, which is why I fixed it. I enhanced it be able to get a better view, so if anyone wants a singular post of the enhanced version, let me know and I’ll post it.