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Stereoview of a Photographer with Stereo Camera on a Donkey. 1890s

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    Posted 6 years ago

    rniederman
    (324 items)

    Images of photographers and their cameras are interesting additions to my collection. Many pictures typically show stoic looking practitioners standing proudly next to their beloved cameras. I have several examples posted here on CW. But every once in a while an unconventional image - much less a stereoview - appears. This particular stereoview of a photographer on a donkey holding a wooden field stereo camera is definitely unusual and brings a smile every time I look at it.

    The stereoview, entitled “Chum and I”, was produced by the Sterro-Photo Co. in the 1890s. And poor old Chum doesn’t look all that happy having someone sitting bareback posing for pictures. It might have been inspired by the famous 1870s picture of William Henry Jackson’s assistant and mule laden with the photographer’s mammoth format view camera. Regardless, this borders on being a somewhat silly picture.

    This stereoview is also an example of a very inexpensive production method. The original image was re-photographed with title information and then a single picture of the stereo pair was mounted on cardboard. This is the same way 1880s Goodwin Old Judge photographic baseball cards were produced and sold. (Another CW post of mine describes the production process in detail.)

    I think the original image could be older than the Sterro-Photo Co. publication. A careful look at the camera shows glints of brass bindings on the standards and other distinctive design details. The camera appears to be a wetplate “view-box” made by the American Optical Company that was available from the 1870s to mid-1880s. Then again, the original image could be 1890s and the photographer kept the older camera.

    This stereoview was also believed to be a portrait of the photographer C.L. Pond in Yosemite. At this time, I’ve been unable to find proof of this attribution and consider it an anonymous person.

    Ohhh ... and it’s been a couple years since I put forth a caption contest challenge, and this picture definitely deserves witty commentary. So let your imaginations go crazy and have at it ... again ... it’s not a contest per se and the most enlightening / funny captions will be rewarded with recognition by your peers!

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    Comments

    1. valentino97 valentino97, 6 years ago
      "Thank goodness he's not a war photographer"
    2. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
      Great image. I agree a little silly, but a very uncommon and desirable subject matter!

      Thanks for sharing.

      scott
    3. vetraio50 vetraio50, 6 years ago
      'A Bum Shot'.
    4. racer4four racer4four, 6 years ago
      Great post - laughing!

      "but his legs are longer than mine!"
    5. antiquerose antiquerose, 6 years ago
      Love it --- This Photo should be called:

      "...Me and my tired old A$$ ..." LOL

      Thanks for sharing -- Great old Photo!!
    6. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 6 years ago
      I tried to give 2 loves but it didn't "take"! By the way, that's not a mule! Mules are really, really big! Think donkey, & we have plenty of them down in the islands.
    7. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, BB2 for the comment and info ... I changed the title and description to be a donkey!

      Thanks for the comments, Scott!
    8. fortapache fortapache, 6 years ago
      Matthew Brady's foray into gold mining was less than successful.
    9. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      kyratango
      lisa

    10. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      valentino97
      Manikin
    11. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      jscott0363
      Radegunder
      vetraio50
    12. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      fortapache
      blunderbuss2
      Michael
    13. verbatim verbatim, 6 years ago
      Excellent image.
    14. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      sanhardin
      farmlady
      David
    15. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 6 years ago
      I thought about it, but didn't mention it earlier. It's bad to ride on a donkey's back! Much better on the donkey to sit just over it's hind-side, just over their back legs. A local in St. Eustatius gave a Canadienne girl a donkey to ride. A friend explained about sitting on it's rump, &, of course, I added that it was better on the donkey, to face backwards! (Hey, that's me!). We got laughs for over a week!! True story!! LOL!!
    16. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      Nicefice
      ho2cultcha
      snowman3
    17. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      mrcolorz
      f64imager
      Efesgirl
    18. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 6 years ago
      I've refrained from saying this, buy the humane way to ride a donkey is by sitting on it's rear haunches. This photographer obviously wasn't accustomed to riding donkeys & probably more of a comedy shot.
    19. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      BB2 ... I appreciate your observations about the proper way to ride a donkey. I was thinking about it after the first time you mentioned it and realized the photographer didn't stage the picture correctly or, as you point out, it is a comedy pic. Anyhow, hopefully Chum lived happily on.
    20. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 6 years ago
      Oh! And don't forget facing to the rear. LOL!!
    21. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      Sean
      verbatim
    22. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      leighannrn
      shughs
    23. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      kyratango
      Roycroftbooksfromme1
    24. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, ho2cultcha!
    25. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, egreeley1976!
    26. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks, SpiritBear!
    27. rniederman rniederman, 6 years ago
      Thanks!
      Radegunder
      EricB

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