The scan does not do the original justice. An amazingly beautifully preserved CDV of a Barnum performer. She was originally from Kokomo, Indiana. Hired in 1879 at age 11, she weighed 28 lbs. The photo is then most likely also from that year or within a year or two after that date.
Just added two more cartes-de-visite to the collection, both Mathew Bradys. My first Brady celebrity card – General Joseph Hooker, and my first Brady from his Washington studio. The DC studio mark seems far more rare than the New York studio, so far. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places for them, but out of the seven I have, only one is the DC studio, and of the ones I’ve looked at, maybe 50 or so, I think I’ve only seen the DC imprint two or three times.
I’ve been getting asked for these things more and more recently, and it drives me nuts – it’s not that I’m incapable of writing something thoughtful and relevant about my work, but I’m often submitting different bodies of work to different target audiences, and I have to compose something de novo every time I submit. It’s good to hear that serious gallerists find artists statements somewhere between a distraction and an obstacle to sales.
My work is about human relationships and perception. “Human Commodities” uses humor to deal with a critically serious topic – the way in which we categorize, pigeonhole and commodify each other especially when it comes to intimate relationships. Men, especially, and especially by other men, are categorized as desirable or not based on their physical attributes – musculature, age, race, hair or lack thereof. When seeking a partner, we tend to use food analogies to describe the object of desire. This is natural, as sex is surpassed as a primal urge perhaps only by food. However, by objectifying people, especially through a food metaphor, it reduces them and de-humanizes them. I mean to interrogate and trouble this objectifying process by throwing into (comic) relief the process of commodification of men. I mean to challenge the viewer to question the very stereotypes they use to categorize objects of sexual desire – what makes one man qualify for “prime beef” instead of “sausage”, and can those very same criteria be turned on their head situationally to transform the subject?
I’ve begun a project to catalog and map the locations of Victorian-era photography studios in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia. Using my own collection as a starting point, and skimming back-marks off cartes-de-visite and cased images on Ebay, I’ve come up with some lists, and I’ve begun to put them on a Google Map. Here is my New York list:
DATES OF OPERATION
152 Chatham Street *
#2 New Chambers Street, corner of Chatham *
164 Chatham Street *
643 Bleeker Street
Chas. K. Bill
J. Gurney & Sons
unknown – early
J. Gurney & Sons
5th Avenue & 16th Street
unknown – late
Bailey’s Photograph Gallery
371 Canal Street
Loud’s Celebrated Album Cards
145 8th Avenue
* addresses no longer exist. New Chambers Street & Chatham Street are now approximately where New York City Civic Center and Police Headquarters are now located.
I will be doing the same for Washington DC and Philadelphia as I gather more information. These lists are obviously incomplete – if anyone has more information out there on other studios not captured on this list, please pass it along! My interest is in studios operating before 1900, ideally before 1880. If you have information about a given studio during the Daguerrian, wet plate, and the early Dry Plate eras, please include that as well. In my simplistic research, I’ve been finding that along with the change in media, studios moved around a lot – Mathew Brady had four different locations in New York City alone between 1850-1860.
Although I do not consider my Whole Plate cameras to be “Single Use Devices”, I am truly in love with the format and am very happy to shoot with it, and even moreso to find another member of the (very small) whole plate clan.
Here is my new studio! 443 I Street, NW – a short walk from Mount Vernon Square metro, Chinatown, and a short bus ride out Massachusetts avenue from Union Station. I’ll post more photos of the interior once I’ve had a chance to do some clean-up and get my stuff settled in.