Trying for shadows in this also?

Paul Payne
Trying for shadows on this also? Paul

It was in the 1930’s, as the Cleage brothers reached their twenties, that the “art photos” began.  Before that, there are some actual studio photos and lots of snapshots.  Then we begin to get photos like these, where someone was experimenting, this time with shadow.  The first photo Paul Payne.  See another photo of him, younger, with Hugh Cleage here.  Paul was a life time friend of the Cleage family.  To the left we have the verso of Paul’s photo which says “Tried for shadows in this also?”  All three of these photos have the same number.

Barbara Cleage with shadow
Anna Cleage and Paul Payne with shadows

From this period we have many posed portraits of family members.  Some are 8 x 10 and some are snap shots.  None of them are signed so I don’t know who took them except for the ones that my father took of my mother in California since he was the only one there.  The largest group of snapshots taken during this time, including last week’s Wordless Wednesday photographs of the winter scenes, were taken at the Meadows. (Go to the last paragraph on the linked page to learn more about the Meadows)  There are over one hundred of them, from all seasons and spread over several years.  My Aunt Gladys confirmed that her brother Hugh did set up a darkroom in the basement.

During the 1960’s Henry and Hugh went into the printing business.  They had several presses, a darkroom, an enlarger and more cameras.  I have boxes and boxes that used to hold 5 X 7 film that now hold photographs taken during that time.  More in the weeks to come.  To see more Sepia Saturday entries click HERE.

17 thoughts on “Trying for shadows in this also?

  1. All three photographs are absolutely stunning, you could gaze upon them for hours… That said, the one of Barbara Cleage is truly beautiful, followed by the one of Paul Payne. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  2. well I thought I had many almost too many photos to go through but your numbers surpass min e. There is something so striking about photos with shadows. These have that mystique.

  3. I'd say they got the shadows down to a fine several manners! Wow, they were good….amazing what they did then but if they had the stuff of today…what they might have accomplished!

  4. These are so much more than "mere" photos. You're doing a stellar job of drawing out information and detail about the subjects and the photographers.

    And they are such lovely, lovely pictures….

  5. Wonderful photographs. They remind me so much of my own experiments from the early 1960s : family members against a plain background of wallpaper or a hung sheet, experiments with lighting. We had to work for our photographs in those days.

  6. And to think that many of us today try to avoid shadows in portraiture. The shadows make these pictures.

  7. Wonderful shots–the shadows are great and it is always fun to do sepia photos once in a while. Good luck with your family history research–I'm sure it is fascinating. Mickie

  8. Thank you Angella. What's amazing to me is that I've looked at these photographs for years but never noticed the artistic work going on. Never talked to any of the photographers about it while they were alive. Now would love to hear them tell me about what they were doing.

  9. Hi Kristin, Did you look at Shadow Shot Sunday today. You were featured in one of her collages.

  10. Barbara & Nancy, I didn't go yet today. I'm working on another one for today. I'm going to look now though.

  11. nice to see people putting care into their photography. i certainly would love a peak as you peruse through your piles of photographs, but will patiently wait 'till you post them here.

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