I came to collect Antique Photography in 2003...
It was about the same time my press photo career
(such as it was ) was on the wane and didnt interest
me as much as it once did.
I had set out to photograph the movers and shakers
as well as entertainers I enjoyed or felt were Iconic in
their feilds. the Greatest people of our time if you will.
Frankly, I accomplished more than I could have ever
hoped and though the money was never very good...
I waded through for the sake of History.
I realized that those photographers from the 1800s
Had gone somewhere I could never go and were better
than I was, For that Reason.
At first I collected Daguerreotypes, before realizing
that the ones I really liked with great clarity...were in
the $250 price range so not something I could buy on
a regular basis. I then turned to Cabinet Cards made
about 30 years later, so not as old.... but equally
There were many more types of 'Cabs' ....
available out there.
Women with long hair to the floor, Circus photos,
Occupational of all sorts, Music oriented...on and on.
Now one particular type caught my eye.
The Advertising cabinet card !
It seems in the 1880s the good folks of the midwest,
( Iowa especially) were in the habit of dressing the
women in all types of things.
they would have Merchant carnivals and Fairs
where the young womens attire would reflect
that of the small town's shops and stores.
Oftentimes they would hold a sign naming the
shop they represented...and as in the photo above,
I guess "Potpourri" would be the best way to
describe the types of Items they wore.
In fact... they competed in a pageant of sorts,
comparing such curious Fashions.
These cabinets however are very rare...and costly
and as of this writing I have only been able to nab
(Cab photo: Lena and Esther Dunning of Mt. Ayr Iowa)