1900 - 1930's postcard portraits - The benifit of your knowledge would be great!

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by verian, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. verian

    verian Member

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    I’m doing a little research on old family photos and was interested in which camera would most likely have been used by a professional portrait photographer working between 1900 and 1925. The final images were reproduced as postcards which dates them fairly well as Kodak introduced a pre-printed card back that allowed postcards to be made directly from negatives in around 1902. I have around a 100 portraits and have managed to glean quite a lot from researching things such as the shape of the space for the stamp and wether it is divided at the back etc.

    Whilst the exact camera probably can’t be identified, I’m just looking for any ideas on the sort of ones in use by professionals then. Also, any images (public domain) of what portrait studios looked like, and the cameras themselves, would be much appreciated as I might knock this up into a little article at some point and at the moment I don’t know that much about this era of photography.

    Thanks

    Verian


    p.s apologies if this is in the wrong part of the forum, it is about portraits :smile: I'll perhaps post some when I've had time to scan.
     
  2. DannL.

    DannL. Member

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    Something to consider in your research. Some portrait photographers did "Home Portraiture". Meaning they traveled to your home and did portraiture on the spot. One photographer I know of that was notable in this arena was H.T. Koshiba from Providence R.I. & New York, New York. He worked in the exact time period that you mentioned. So, if they were a traveling photographer, I would assume that their gear must have been portable or small enough to be portable. Climbing stairs, setting up in small homes and apartments, etc . . . it must have been great fun. Later on I can post some measurements of Koshiba prints. Cabinet Card sizes were perty standardized, I believe.

    Dating Mounted Photographs
     
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  3. verian

    verian Member

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    Thanks DannL, I suspect there may have been some of that involved later on, the photographer was Sam Weston of Aberdare, South Wales and he had a studio above a Jewellery shop in Commercial Street (which is most of the info I have on him). The images look like they may be a studio as they have rather nice painted backgrounds. I really must scan some!
     
  4. DannL.

    DannL. Member

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    Was there a typical size for the photographic image area of each, or are their sizes all over the map? I've seen both small and larger cards that were mailable.
     
  5. verian

    verian Member

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    I'll post some images for refrence when I get home, they are all pretty much the same size.
     
  6. DannL.

    DannL. Member

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    Ooops! Sorry about that Verian. I've been way off in left field with my responses. I can see I really need to lay off the Halloween candy.

    Here's a link that describes some of the postcard sizes.
     
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  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    a lot of the papers at that time period were silver chloride / gaslight papers and prints were made by contact printing.
    122 film was a roll film used in folding cameras as well as "post card cameras" like the 3a graflex .. other large negative
    cameras that either made glass plates or used sheet films were often used.
    5x7 was also a loved format of portrait photographers of that time period ... but any large format camera bigger than 4x5 could have been
    converted to have a smaller back or a sliding back to allow for multiple exposures on a larger negative ... which then could be contact printed.

    good luck with your project, sounds like fun -
    john
     
  8. DannL.

    DannL. Member

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    The only photo postcard (postkarte-Carte postale) that I have measures 3-3/8" x 5-3/8". I'ts hand-colored and would be from the period mentioned. To narrow the camera down might be a challenge. The No. 3A Folding Pocket Kodak was popular from 1903 onward. In fact, I use the lens elements from two Kodak 3A's, one set on my 5x7 and I've used a front element on my 8x10.

    Early Danish Photographer

    Early Studio


    Another Studio


    Family Portrait

    My kind of Studio


    1843? a bit early.
     
  9. verian

    verian Member

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    Thanks DannL, sorry I haven't had chance to scan anything yet, Life keeps getting in the way!

    I think mine are aound the time of the first world war, not sure though.
     
  10. verian

    verian Member

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    Took me a while but I managed to scan a few. There was more of a spread of studio and non-studio than I thought when I went through them one by one again.

    PC4.jpg

    PC5.jpg

    PC1.jpg

    PC2.jpg

    They are all printed on postcards. The ones with soldiers are, I'm pretty sure, form WWI, some are older though as they were printed by the company that existed before Watsons, so nearer 1900.