A young woman is interrupted as she is reading a letter, and looks straight on. Her interrupter is a camera, with the photographer behind it. She faces the lens with serene confidence. Of course she is at the tintypist's for just that reason... to be "caught" in the midst of reading her letter.
Photographers' studios were getting more and more sophisticated as photography was getting more commonplace and affordable. Here we see a convincing 3 dimensional "backdrop" of a window in a brick building, complete with curtains. The curtains are probably real. The bricks, however, are painted on a light movable prop-board with a narrow shelf as the windowsill. The subject stands behind it to complete the illusion. But what of the objects in front of the brickwork? Are they real, or are they another cleverly painted trick?