Original Illustration from Harper's Weekly Published Dec. 16, 1871.
This image is rife with many-layered meanings, raising questions about race, class, and the relationship of photography to the mass media in the Victorian Age.
Reads: "THE TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE COUNTRY.—FROM A SKETCH BY THOMAS WORTH." The engraving is signed in the lower right: "Edwin A Abbey fecit".
The image itself is both strange and highly descriptive. In it, we see an itinerant photographer standing in a doorway with his camera pointed, in a most unlikely fashion, out to the street (or perhaps a field near a farm). A wealthy white family is pulled up outside the photographer's wooden structure in a horse and carriage, as if the family wished to have its portrait taken outdoors. Numerous country folk are watching the scene with interest, including African-Americans, who are depicted in minstrel-like fashion, with exaggerated lips.
NOTE: There is paper loss in lower margin, affecting image. Top margin is affixed to mat.
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Photo Date 1850c Print Date 1850c
Dimensions 10 x 14.5 in. (254 x 368 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Charles Schwartz Ltd.