This 1922 portrait of three sisters from a Massachusetts studio had great promise: a painted backdrop superior to what one often sees, the furniture made to seem a part of it rather than stuck in front of it; good natural lighting; but perhaps the stage managing of the subjects accounts for the lack of success in getting pleasant expressions – all but the baby are somewhat wan and unengaged. As I have noted before, the personalities of the children have much more to do with the outcome than the talents of the photographer, in fact I would imagine that this same photographer had used this setting with other children who responded very well and the results were likely very satisfying. As it is, the best little face is the baby who looks almost more like a painting than a photograph.
Kudos to the photographer who had everything right that was within his control! He cared about his work – he signed and dated it right in the image.