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Posts Tagged ‘Dogs and Photography’

These photographs are from one of my recent acquisitions: an album of photographs, mostly snapshots, taken by a County Cavan family between 1900 and 1920. William Coyne is wearing strangely formal attire for a photograph taken in the backyard of a Dublin house: the full dress suit is matched by a stiff white collar and top hat. Sarah’s upswept hair and lace blouse/skirt combination were typical of the early twentieth century. 

I haven’t been able to definitively locate the Coynes on either the 1901 or 1911 census. He might have been the statistician William P. who in the 1901 census lived on St. Stephen’s Street or the Chief Inspector of Great Northern Railways who resided in Phibsborough? 

Despite the serious demeanour of the humans in these photographs the images make me laugh. The cat’s arched back is caught perfectly by the camera and the dog’s quizzical expression, as he stares up into this owner’s face, add a comical twist to an otherwise grim atmosphere. 

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Stuffed dogs were often as used as studio props in the 19th century although I am pretty sure that the animals featured in this post were alive when photographed.

There is something comical and slightly absurd about this image of a serious legal clerk called T.M. Barcroft and his dog! It was included in a photograph album compiled by the Foley family of Clontarf in the 1910s and 20s.

This early Dublin carte-de-visite features a nondescript looking dog whose owners obviously thought he was worthy of photographing. The card contains no additional information except for the photographer’s name and address, F.H. Mares, who worked from Grafton Street in the early 1860s and 70s.

This fashionable young lady was photographed along with her dog by the Leinster Photo Company of 39A Talbot Street, Dublin. I love the white feather boa! The photograph was posted from Tamworth, England to a friend in New Jersey in May 1910.

The photograph above includes both a baby and a dog and was taken at John J. Thompson in Omagh, County Tyrone. I wonder if the dog was jealous of the new arrival? Amazingly, the photographer has succeeded in getting all three to look at the camera. Note that the sitter’s feet are hidden behind a patterned cushion which blends in with the studio’s floor covering.

If you’d like to see more canine images, The Kennel Club’s exhibition of vintage dog photographs is showing in London until the 13th of January 2012 and you can see some of them here.

I also recommend the following titles which show that the family pet was a favourite subject for photographers throughout the years: The dog observed: photography 1844-1983 by Ruth Silverman begins with anonymous American daguerreotypes of the 1850s before moving on to the work of big name photographers like André Kertész and Lisette Model whilst Catherine Johnson and William Wegman’s Dogs is a beautiful book of found photographs which were published by Phaidon in 2007.

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