Early Photo Criticism

Thirty or so years ago I used to frequent a terrific antique/collectibles shop on SW 2nd Avenue (I think) called Cal’s Books and Wares. For a few years, sparked by what I found there, I collected several hundred photo postcards—actual photographs printed photographically as postcards dating from about 1905-1920.

Usually they were blank on the address side, or maybe they had been mailed and sent, but just with a few words of hello.

But here’s an exception that I really like because it is an early (c.1910) example of photography criticism (and an example of how we all do art criticism from time to time):

Photo Crit x2Dear Cousin:- I am up home now and Daisy took my picture. She says it looks just like me. But my hair is punched up on one side and my hand is shaded so it looks just like a claw. Then I look so sad and Jewish, but I look Jewish anyway. I’m a great big girl now and I don’t expect you would know me. I’m big enough so if I pass the teachers exam in the spring I am going to teach school next year.

What did you get for Christmas? I got a whole lot of nice things among which was just a dandy emerald set ring.

Daisy is just doing things with her camera. If you were here I just know she would take your picture.

Bess.