JF Ptak Science Books Post 1125
I honestly cannot say when I first started noticing photographs in this odd category--it may have been from police images, early mugshots, that started with (the first) antropometrist Alphonse Bertillon, showing deformities and cracks and creases and blemishes and tattoos on felons; or in the earlier and floundered phrenological work of Franz Gall1, who looked pretty much for the same but with more liberal doses of social philosophy But it is a restricted category, that's for sure. Even when you look closely at paintings and engravings it is rare to see even a secondary image of someone's head squarely, directly form the back.
And then came this pair of photographs presented on the endpages of Cathy Luchetti's Women of the West (Antelope Island Press, 1982)--its a wonderful book about 19th and early20th century women as pioneers int he American West, told mostly in their own words. It wasn't until I closed the book that I found this picture (which is odd for me as I'm mostly back-to-front with a new book) and decided on this post. The photos do tickle some old memories of 19th c back-of-the-head photos featuring extraordinary hair length, Civil War wounds, spinal and neck injuries, young Hopi girl hairstyles, and that sort of thing--but in this case, I can't see anything unusual about the back of this woman's head. It looks as though it is just the back of her front. I think that most of the time that we see back-of-the-head it is for something special or unusual in some way (and I won't even get into 20th/21st century stuff like Valdemort's surprising hiding spot)--it seems in this case, it is not. Its just the back.
1. Gall's book's title really lays it all out: The Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System in General, and of
the Brain in Particular, with Observations upon the possibility of
ascertaining the several Intellectual and Moral Dispositions of Man and
Animal, by the configuration of their Heads, published 1819.