Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Confession

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.

If I could go back in time and have dinner with just one photographer, it would be Bogardus. I love his work. I love his
wisdom. I love his wit.


By A. Bogardus

An old friend of mine has been telling around that I had taken the picture of Noah. Now, I meant to keep that to myself, but as it has leaked out, I may as well ''tell the.truth."

I have pictured many sea captains in my day but it was a hard time I had with the old gentleman. Of course, I worked the wet process; in fact everything was damp; he had only been out of the Ark two days and still had his sea-legs on.

At first he wondered where I came from, as I was not one of his passengers, but then everybody expects to see a camera man around (they are there every time). I had to give him a long sitting, but he said he was in no hurry, as the menagerie season was over and the animals had paired-off.

He moved badly at first—had a kind of wave-y motion ; no instantaneous plates to be had in that neighborhood and I was compelled to count the time (sixty minutes), as the dampness had stopped my watch for the last forty days and forty nights.

I offered to give him a marine background, but he said he had had marine views enough to last him his life time. I proposed a Bust, he said that was just what he was ready for. I finally secured a good negative with good printing qualities; did not have to salt my paper, every thing salt enough around there.

When I showed him the print he said it was too old and had a shad-oh on the face. Mrs. Noah criticised it and said he should have been shaved, but all the barbers had gone to the watering places.

He said he would take it if he could have it at dub rates. I agreed to this, as I wanted to make a collection of prominent men and prominent men were very scarce just then. A full account of the interview was published the next morning in the Mount Ar-a-rat daily Photographic Times.

I asked him for his autograph and like all great men he at first objected, but finally said he would consent. He had a Pen but no ink, as he had not carried on much correspondence lately, and the mails had not been regular. I soon furnished him with a few drops of nite-writf of silver and I value that signature as worth oceans of ordinary seamen; he merely signed Noah and did not give me his other name.

I wonder if there would be a demand for the pictures of the "Ancient Navigator" if I should put some on the market. I know he was not popular in his day but he "meant well," and did not water his stock much more than they do now-a-days. I think they would sell.


Bogardus, A. "A Confession." The Photographic Times. New York: Scovile. 1887.


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