Monday, April 27, 2009

Twice Told Tuesday - Retouching Photographs

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

What would Mr. Ryder have thought of the use of Photoshop? I believe he would have loved Janine Smith for being true to the image, but would have found Playboy's airbrushed models deceitful.


Retouching is deceitful, and I don't like it . . .

Cleveland lost the active efforts of her finest citizen when James F. Ryder, the photographer of countless faces, settled down last summer to the quiet of the retirement which he had earned by a busy life. There is scarcely a home in this part of the country where the name of Ryder is not known for the pictures he has made. Mr. Ryder sat in his study in his flat in the Esmond and talked to a reporter the other day about the things he has done and seen and the people he has photographed.

"Sometimes," he said, "I have been sorry that I taught retouching photographs to America. Still, if I had not done it, some one else would, and I would not have had the start of the rest of the country for a year, with all the advantage that meant.

"But retouching is deceitful, and I don't like it. Left alone, the camera will not misrepresent, but when a skillful retoucher takes the negative of the face of a woman who wants to be more beautiful than the good Lord intended, the result is not always the truth. The instantaneous dry plate in another left-handed photographic blessing.

It has made the whole world photographers and people are content now with snapshots which they and their friends make, and all there is for the photographer to do is to finish the plates for the amateur. If the amateur snap-shotter gets a picture that is funny or cute he is satisfied, and photographic art is left out of the question.

"How different it all is from the old times when people went to the photographer and had a daguerreotype taken and finished so that they could take it away with them. If they wanted more than one they sat for each picture they wanted and paid $5 or $10 for each one. With a boy to help me. I used to make as much money as the big galleries with a dozen employees do now.

The history of retouching? It is very simple. For a long time I had been taken by the beauty of some portraits that had appeared in a Philadelphia publication devoted to photography. I found that they all came from Germany, and that they were made from retouched negatives.

A man named Cyranus Hall, who had worked for me until he made money enough to go to Germany to study what he called nobler art, meaning painting, happened at this time to be in Munich, from where some of the finest of the retouched work came. I wrote him, asking him to send me a retoucher.

He did so, and soon after, the venture was so successful that I had him send me over two more. I was the first American to use the process, which is simply doctoring the negatives after they are taken and smoothing over any defects there may be in the faces of the persons photographed. And people came to me from all over the country.

Note: The most important and first real improvement to the portrait photographer after the advent of collodion was retouching of negatives, which method of finish came to this country from Germany in 1868.


Cleveland's Distinguished Veteran Of The Camera. The St. Louis and Canadian Photographer. 1900.


Both photographs used in article are from:
Ryder, James F. Voigtländer and I in Pursuit of Shadow Catching. Cleveland: The Imperial Press, 1902.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend With Shades - Sunday - April 26

A Monthly - Weekend With Shades - Column

Almost every photograph that I use here at Appealing Subjects and on my main blog, GeneaBlogie, is in the public domain. That means, simply put, that the photograph is not protected by copyright. A photograph can enter the public domain in a variety of ways. First, works of the United States Government are in the public domain. Second, a photograph's copyright may expire. Third, the photographer may have failed to observe certain formalities required by law at the time the work was published. I like finding and using public domain photographs to illustrate historical narratives.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend With Shades - Saturday - April 25

A Monthly - Weekend With Shades - Column

When it comes to taking a group photo, there always seems to be one – one person who completely, unequivocally messes up the shot. I don’t mean The One ruins the photo accidentally by blinking or by glancing in the wrong direction just as the shutter is pressed. No, The One is the person who intentionally seeks to spoil the shot by unscrupulously sabotaging the sacred and unwritten photo-taking rules that make us all smile politely until it’s over.

A common offense is the use of so-called bunny ears – two fingers positioned behind another’s head. Who among us does not have a perfectly lovely group photo in which One Person deviously adds appendages to an unsuspecting friend? To children, this is absolutely hysterical!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

On The Road To Janinealogy

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things."

Today, I have the pleasure and privilege to be the Guest Author on Janinealogy, the blog of the Queen Of Restoration, Janine Smith, of Landailyn Research and Restoration. We met on Twitter and found we share a love of old photographs and their history. Janine has the added talent of being a fine portrait artist who uses her many gifts to restore old photographs. Photographs that look as if there is nothing left to save. Janine is the 2008 Photoshop User Award Winner for Photographic Restoration. Thank you, Janine, for this opportunity!

For those who are visiting Shades for the first time let me be your tour guide. Shades centers around the love of old photographs, all things associated with them, and making connections with the families they have departed.

Below you will find a sample of what is offered to readers of Shades. I hope you enjoy the selections!


Shades Starts The Year With A Bang - Make That A Shot - A story of murder, an attempted lynching, courtroom antics, lies, a hanging, and misappropriated body parts. Not to mention the cabinet card and the part it may have played.

The Tumult Last Night - Why the uproar over this murder?

A Shot Part II ~ The Funeral
- November 11, 1886, Mamie Kelly's body was transported by wagon from the morgue to her home on Hayes Street.

A Shot Part III ~ The Botched Burial - When last we read of Goldenson, he was swaying to and fro in the Hangman's noose with the photograph of Mamie Kelly clutched in his hand.

TWICE TOLD TUESDAY - features a photography related article reprinted from old photography books, magazines, and newspapers accompanied by illustrations and photographs.

Abraham Bogardus - I have a deep affection for Abraham Bogardus. After all, he came up with the name of this digital publication.

Occupations For Women and Photography 1897 - PHOTOGRAPHY is especially adapted to a woman's artistic taste and delicate touch.

WEB WANDERING WEDNESDAY - Shades wanders the world and the web for things to make dating photographs belonging to the collector and the family historian much easier.

The Web Came To Me - Updates to a San Francisco Photographer.

Just Junk And The Kindness of Strangers - Blanche DuBois once said something about relying on "the kindness of strangers." In this Web Wandering Wednesday, so have I.

MANY THINGS THURSDAY - anything that strikes my fancy; you will come to realize I have very eclectic tastes.

From A Simple Postcard - From a simple postcard so much is found. This is another find from the antique stores of Montana.

A Carnival of Images - If a picture is worth a thousand words, why can't words be worth a thousand pictures? That's the premise behind Smile For The Camera ~ A Carnival of Images.

5th Edition - Crowing Glory - There are 11 Editions so far.

FRIDAY FROM THE COLLECTORS - my take on a guest post; these people are phenomenal.

Maureen Taylor - I Do Collect Photographs. The Photo Detective shares her collection of Bridal Photographs.

Janine Smith - Shares her story.

The Best Of - From The Beginning Through September 5, 2008

There are many more since last September in the archives.

The Columnists of WEEKEND WITH SHADES - some of the finest minds and writing to be found discussing old photographs.


Every Picture Tells A Story With A Little Help
Captured Moments Introduction

Preserving Our Ancestors One Pixel At A Time
Meet The Healing Brush

Where Law And Photography Meet
Meet Appealing Subjects

Where The Memories Meet The Future
Feasting On Family History

The Story Behind The Photograph

Archives For The Rest Of Us

Through A Different Lens

The Shades of History
Debuts May 9 with "The Year Was 1878"

Now that we've been properly introduced I hope
you'll visit again.
You never know when you might make a connection.
And that's what Shades is all about!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day - Birthday

Yes, the Earth and I are celebrating. Last year I wrote about sharing this day with the Earth, but actually, the Earth shares the day with me. It didn't get its day until 1970, I got mine a bit earlier.

I'm going to spend the day in the real world, in Seattle, the number five Best US City to be in for Earth Day according to treehugger.

We in Seattle know the truth. We're the number one Green City. Ninety-eight Shades of green, ninety-eight Shades of grey, how I love it.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Twice Told Tuesday - Photographers and Their Props

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

And you thought all those props found in your old family photographs belonged to your ancestors. Think again and thank the photographer.


What the Sitters Lack in the Way of
Scenery He Readily Supplies

That there are many problems to be met and solved in a photographic studio aside from the technical ones of exposure, development and printing, problems of which the average patron is unaware, is clearly shown in a glimpse of "the inside" the opportunity for which was offered at Bussa's DeKalb Street studio the other day.

Some one having laughingly called attention to an odd cloak lying on a chair, the photographer felt moved to point out the fact that the modern camera specialist must have at hand more "props" as they are called in theatrical circles, than many a small sized theatre. Sitter? are constantly dropping in to have photographs made which will convey certain ideas to the recipient.

For instance, there is the man who wishes to be photographed .at work at a desk. He doesn't bring the desk with him or the various articles which must be thereon to impart the desired "atmosphere." The photographer must be ready to step into the breach and produce the desk and accessories. Graduates appear with cap and gown— sometimes—but, alas, without the diploma which was, likely as not, left on the table at home. The obliging photographer supplies a diploma—ribbon and all.

Mr. Bussa's experience has taught him that many bridal parties neglect the trip to the studio on the day of the nuptials and put in their appearance several days later attired as they were at the ceremony. Nine times out of ten, however, the bouquet of the bride, and those of her attendants are absent. No bridal group will appear convincing without the always present flowers. Mr. Bussa is prepared to furnish the necessary bouquets.

These are a few of the articles which are in daily demand. The modern photographer has greater need of .an inexhaustible "magic bag," than the magician.


PHOTOGRAPHER HAS PLENTY OF "PROPS." Abel's Photographic Weekly. 1922.


Young Child With Props. H. K. Bussa. Photograph (Card Mounted). Unknown. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2009.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend With Shades - Sunday - April 19

A Monthly - Weekend With Shades - Column

Spring is here!

What a wonderful season for digi-scrapping! There are so many great photo opportunities in spring. From photos of flower gardens to birds building nests and children hunting Easter eggs to teens vacationing on spring break. There are the religious holidays of Easter and Passover... have you documented how your family celebrates these special spring holidays? What about First Holy Communion, Mother's Day, and that other rite of spring... opening day at the ball park? At the tail end of spring will come kid's end-of-the-school-year picnics, proms, and graduation ceremonies. And then there are all the spring weddings... and anniversaries too! What are you waiting for? Start clicking the shutter and creating scrapbook pages to remember!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Weekend With Shades - April 18

A Monthly - Weekend With Shades - Column

Last month I received so many excellent questions about various aspects of archives and how we can apply them to our family history questions that I felt terrible that I couldn’t answer them all right away.
Hopefully you’ll be patient with me if it takes some time to get to the topic nearest and dearest to your heart!

Since t
here were multiple questions about the topic of appraisal and the ins and outs of throwing items away, and because in my opinion this is the trickiest thing of all when it comes to our (or at least my) own family collections, it seemed like a good place to start.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Carnivals In Town - A Noble Life


Smile For The Camera
10 April 2009

The word prompt for the 12th Edition of Smile For The Camera was A Noble Life. I found it very interesting how each submission interpreted the word prompt. One thing is certain, the love and care that each of you lavished on your "Noble Life" was amazing. Every life profiled was worthy of those who came before and those who followed after. A Life filled with small but courageous acts; filled with love and honor. A simple life, an ordinary life, A Noble Life.

Let's open the cover of this edition of Smile For The Camera's album of images.

Sheri Fenley introduces us to a photograph of 40 acres that was George Wesley Harris and his kingdom in A Noble Life In Southeast Kansas posted at The Educated Genealogist.

Paula Hawk shows us there is nothing more noble than a life spent farming the land in Smile for the Camera ~ A Noble Life posted at Corel Cousins.

My Great Aunt Julie was a fan of Wheel of Fortune, Indian Motorcycles, playing slot machines, and driving fast. She was larger than life Melody Lassalle tells at The Research Journal. Larger and noble.

Mary Beaulieu's ticket to the carnival is Happy Birthday, Grandma! posted at AncestorTracking." This was written in honor of my grandmother's birthday. I can't think of a more noble life." A beautiful photograph Mary, and after reading your post I would agree, A Noble Life.

A lovely old photograph is Ruth Stephens' submission to Smile For The Camera! posted at Bluebonnet Country Genealogy. Ruth describes the man in the photograph as one who spent his life working to improve the lives of other. Truly A Noble Life.

Terri Kallio of The Ties That Bind says, "Although there are many people in my family that I feel have lead a Noble Life I think my Uncle - F/O Willis F. Evers exemplifies a Noble Life. He gave his life fighting during WWII at the young age of 23. I hope you will take time to also read my series for The Carnival of Genealogy- Uncle Uncle - it is a 10 part series titled 'Going Home - The Unexpected' - I share some of his letters and photographs and tell of our going home to be with him in 1989." Teri's series can be found here. And we are treated to another one of Terri's works of art.

Linda Hughes Hiser tells us, "Friends said my great grandfather was possessed of a kindly, quiet disposition that made friends of all with whom he came in contact," in Smile for the Camera--George Ethelbert VanGilder posted at Flipside. And she shows us a wonderful photograph of this man.

"One of my cousins, Rev. T. Neil Libby, was an Anglican minister in Windsor, Ontario and founder of the St. Leonard's Society in Canada," says Earline Bradt in Smile for the Camera #12 - Noble Life - Rev. Neil Libby posted at Ancestral Notes. An extremely interesting historical photograph and an excellent post!

Donna Brown presents Smile for the Camera - A Noble Life posted at DonnaB's Weblog. Donna shows us the photograph of a country pastor who served his community, his family and his church all his life. The church was a calling for Rev. J. Frank Willis and a noble life.

I love Becky Wiseman's photograph found in her post kinexxions: A Noble Life :: A Farmer's Wife. How did women farm dressed like this? One of the most noble lives had to be that of a farmer's wife. Visit kinexxions for this terrific photograph.

Greta Koehl introduces us to her photograph by saying, "One of the things about family research that surprised and delighted me was how compelling the stories of ordinary but strong and decent people like Clarence and Ethel Brinlee can be." Yes, Greta, some of the most compelling. A Noble Life: Clarence Edward Brinlee and Ethel Lena Bennett posted at Greta's Genealogy Bog.

Amy Crooks interpretation of the word prompt A Noble Life posted at Untangled Family Roots is brilliant and spot on. "This isn't so much about a noble ancestor, but more about living in the here and now and remembering those that we are still blessed to have around us. Preserving their memories for history and those to come after us. My current family is no more or no less noble then our ancestors."

Elizabeth O'Neal rides the rails in search of A Noble Life in On the Railroad posted at Little Bytes of Life. This very interesting historical photograph features unknown family or friends who worked for the railroad and Elizabeth's insights into working on the railroad.

Janet Iles has chosen to feature her paternal grandfather as an example of a A Noble Life - William G Iles at Janet the researcher. The photograph is of a handsome young man in uniform who was the epitome of someone who led a simple life, but one that impacted many other lives.

Holly Spencer tells us that memories of others have given her a mental picture of the life of the beautiful young woman in the photograph at A Noble Life: Melissa Jane Lillie Raeburn posted at Raeburn Family Odyssey. "I am there, and I have gotten to know her....I love my great grandmother."

A photograph of Randy Seaver's grandfather Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) posted at Genea-Musings is his ticket to Smile. Randy says of his grandfather, "Family. It was always about family. Parents, wife, daughter, grandsons. In everything I've heard and read about, and by, my grandfather, his fierce love and steadfast dedication was to his family." A Noble Life indeed!

Henry & Henrietta Payne - A "Noble" Life comes to us from Brett Payne of The Photo-Sleuth Blog. This is an absolutely brilliant post! The work that went into this submission is staggering. I loved it! Here is Brett's description "Henry and Henrietta Payne lived through a period of remarkable change in England, the Victorian era. They were born at the start of Queen Victoria's reign and were both gone within a decade or so of her death. However, the changes in their own lives wrought through sheer hard work were perhaps even more spectacular. They struggled from being inmates of the workhouse to respected and relatively affluent citizens of the town of Derby within five decades, giving to their children a far superior start in life to that which had been given them - 'noble' lives indeed."

Jessica Oswalt, our Queen of the unknown photograph, displays another photograph from her great-aunt's photo album. This time we see An Unknown World War Two Soldier at Jessica's Genejournal. The young men and women who served their country in World War II were without question living A Noble Life.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault takes us through the life of a man that struggled throughout the depression years to raise his 11 children by his first wife and 10 more by his second, The Noble Life posted at A Canadian Family. We can only imagine the sacrifices made by this man in raising his family.

foonoteMaven closes the album cover on this edition of Smile For The Camera with Today I Understand - I Wish I had Then posted at footnoteMaven. A small scarifice, A Noble Life. As always my family is here to Smile For The Camera.

Now The Call For Submissions!


Smile For The Camera
10 May 2009

The word prompt for the 13th Edition of Smile For The Camera is All Creatures Great And Small. Show us a photograph of the family pet. The pet that made it into every family snapshot. That pampered pet your ancestors took to the photographic studio to immortalize in an expensive photograph. The best friend who was there for your ups and downs. Bring them to the carnival and share with us how they were loved through the ages. Admission is free with every photograph!

Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!

Deadline for submission is midnight (PT)
10 May 2009

Posted - 15 May 2009


There are two options:

1. Send an email to the host, footnoteMaven. Include the title and permalink URL of the post you are submitting, your name, and the name of your blog. Put 'Smile For The Camera' clearly in the title of your email!

2. Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival, or select the Bumper Sticker in the upper right hand corner.

See you at the Carnival!