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- The Photograph as Artifact
The Photograph as Artifact
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The original photograph (Figure 1) is one half of an unidentified stereograph of a manikin dressed in Plains Indian clothing. Comparative research in the photographic archives of the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archives and private collections brought to light the following three related prints: Figures 2, 3, and 5 as featured below.
Figure 2–a full stereograph of the original image--turned out to be a red herring. Published by J.F. Jarvis, Washington, D.C., and credited to him as the photographer on the mount of the print, it was part of a series of stereographic views that he produced of Washington. Jarvis identified this image as “115. Red Cloud.” However, further research on the Jarvis stereograph showed that he was not the actual photographer. His Red Cloud identification was probably printed on the mount at some unknown date when the image was mass produced for inclusion in his series of Washington stereographs.
Figure 3 has a copyright date of 1873 printed on the mount with identification of the photographer as C. Seaver Jr. The print was identified as "Indian Chief." The essay on the back of the stereograph (figure 4) was titled "The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.," thus providing verification of the locale and giving information on the Smithsonian and the manikin's location on the ground floor of the Smithsonian Castle. Verification of the copyright date was obtained at the Library of Congress. The photographer listed was Charles or Chandler Seaver, Jr. (b.1839 d.1879).
Surviving prints of Figure 5 are credited to C. Seaver. A stereograph of a Japanese warrior manikin (Figure 6), taken at the same time and place, is also credited to him. The images were taken in 1873 in the Smithsonian's first photo lab.
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