Tag Archives: toreadors

Boy in Toreador Suit, Mexico City, August 20, 1949

Boy in Toreador Suit, Mexico City, 1949
Boy in Toreador Suit, Mexico City, 1949
Photographer's imprint, verso, Boy in Toreador Suit
Photographer’s imprint, verso, Boy in Toreador Suit

Here’s a cute photo of a teenage boy in a toreador suit, taken in Mexico City, August 20, 1949. The photographer’s stamp on the back of the print specifies the exact date, which is inordinately helpful. I just wish I could read his name, though – the script on the front AND the typeface used for his name on the back makes it impossible for me to decipher the exact spelling of his last name. Translation of the stamp:

Carlos **unza
A Photographer Whom You Can Recommend
Bolivar 57, Tel: 12.38.84
Mexico, D.F.
20 August 1949

I don’t know that this boy would actually have been a toreador – he could well have been playing dress-up for the camera. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s legit. Google Mapping the studio address, in all likelihood this was a very posh studio in the center of Mexico City, not far from the historic district (I found THREE addresses with the same street number around the city, but the street views of the other two showed nothing that looked like commercial enterprise ever happening there). If anyone out there in cyberland knows who this photographer was, I’d greatly appreciate letting me know the exact spelling of his name and any biographical data about him. Ditto for the identity of the subject – if he was in fact a toreador, someone out there somewhere knows who he is.

I cropped out some of the card the image is mounted on because it would be wasting space on the screen to show nothing of value, and left enough to show the texture and pattern of the card decoration. It’s truly a vintage piece of the period. The stamp I converted to black and white so I could tweak the contrast in Photoshop and make it easier to read.


Aah- the wonders of google. I was trying to figure out the photographers name, and did some google searching, and came up with Carlos Ysunza as a name. Additionally, there is a currently practicing commercial photographer in Mexico City by that same name. I’ll email him and find out if he is the son of the Carlos who took this photo.

A Brady CDV from the Washington DC Studio, and a Fredericks CDV from ¿Havana?

Two more CDVs – a Brady from the DC studio, and judging by the backmark style, a later (post Civil War) image. The sitter is reputed to be named John Randolph, one of the FitzRandolphs of Philadelphia (or could it be the FitzRandolphs who gave the original land grant to found Princeton University?). Evidence is unclear, but the picture is very.

John Randolph, by Mathew Brady
John Randolph, by Mathew Brady

The second CD is from the Fredericks studio, of New York, Havana and Paris. As the subject is toreadors, I’m guessing this was taken at either the Paris or Havana studios. Bullfighting has never had any serious following in the United States, so toreadors would be unlikely to come to New York on a performing tour of the US. I thought I had another Fredericks CDV somewhere in my collection, but I’ll be damned if I can find it – I may have just recorded the address on my New York studio map during a scan of studio backmarks on eBay.

Two Toreadors, by Fredericks of New York, Havana and Paris
Two Toreadors, by Fredericks of New York, Havana and Paris

This is another image that could have been marketed as “gay interest”, thankfully it wasn’t. Despite their costumes and matching fey poses, there’s nothing about them that shouts (or whispers) 19th century code for gay. Pure 21st century wishful thinking.