IS HE DEAD OR ALIVE?

IS HE DEAD OR ALIVE?

It may be the writer in me, but I have stared at this old tintype photo for ages, wondering what the story is. Has her lover died serving his country and she’s just found out? Is that him standing behind her? If so, is he really alive, or dead and just watching over her? She doesn’t seem to know he’s there. Maybe he’s waiting for her to notice so they can have a good laugh. I always thought old tintypes were reserved for serious head shots, farm houses, men going off to war. This one actually seems to want to tell a story. Why?