All of the portraits are different, but in certain ways, they’re all the same. Each piece features a female subject wearing a traditional white dress, seated at an angle, her eyes looking directly into the camera. There’s little ornamentation. The backgrounds are plain, the women are unsmiling, their hair cropped short, and the chairs they’re sitting on are concealed by the draping fabric of their full skirts.
But elements of the subjects’ individual personalities shine through. Petrona, as seen in “Petrona,” wears golden rings on all her fingers, while Aminta wears a hairnet; Elena Copia’s shoulders squarely face the viewer, while Vilma’s sideways gaze feels vaguely ominous.
These small but perceptible variations point to something else, composition aside, that Rumié’s portraits have common. They’re portraits of people who usually go unnoticed. All of the subjects are middle-aged or elderly women—what some scholars refer to as the “invisible demographic”—not to mention that, in this case, they’re women working in the thankless profession of selling goods in the street.