La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, 1928

The Passion of Joan of Arc, 1928

Falconetti in Carl Th. Dreyer’s “La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc”, 1928. Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

The Criterion Collection DVD/Blu-Ray cover

Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc, 1412 – 1431) is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Hundred Years’ War and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint.
Joan of Arc was born to Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle Romee, a peasant family, in north-east France. Joan said she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orleans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.
After having led numerous military battles against the English during the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc is captured near Compiegne and eventually brought to Rouen, Normandy to stand trial for heresy by French clergymen loyal to the English. Her judges try to make her say something that will discredit her claim or shake her belief that she has been given a mission by God to drive the English from France.
The trial of Joan of Arc was politically motivated and it’s one of the most famous trials in history. After Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.
In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. In the 16th century she became a symbol of the Catholic League, and in 1803 she was declared a national symbol of France by the decision of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.
La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) is a 1928 silent French film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. The film was directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and stars Renee Jeanne Falconetti as Joan. It is widely regarded as a landmark of cinema, especially for its production, Dreyer’s direction and Falconetti’s performance, which is often listed as one of the finest in cinema history.
The representation of Joan of Arc in Dreyer’s masterpiece is radically different from the image of her as a national warrior heroine in shining armour that was found in every French schoolbook, and the director almost completely leaves out the historical events of the Hundred Years’ War. The sets were big and costly but severely stylised, almost abstract looking in their sparseness. Dreyer places his camera in positions that rarely afford the observer an overview of the space in which the action is taking place. In consequence, all attention is concentrated on the spiritual and psychological confrontation between Joan and her judges, which is underscored by the dynamic, fast cutting and, not least, by the gigantic close-ups that lay bare every nuance of the characters’ reactions.

“In order to give the truth, I dispensed with “beautification.” My actors were not allowed to touch makeup and powder puffs… Rudolf Mate, who manned the camera, understood the demands of psychological drama in the close-ups and he gave me what I wanted, my feeling and my thought: realized mysticism.”
Carl Theodor Dreyer: Realized Mysticism in The Passion of Joan of Arc

Prior to its release, the film was controversial due to French nationalists’ skepticism about whether a Danish person could direct a film that centered on one of France’s most revered historical icons. Dreyer’s final version of the film was cut down due to pressure from the Archbishop of Paris and from government censors. For several decades it was released and viewed in various re-edited versions that had attempted to restore Dreyer’s final cut. In 1981 a film print of Dreyer’s final cut of the film was finally discovered in a mental institution in Oslo, Norway and re-released. Despite the objections and cutting of the film by clerical and government authorities, it was a major critical success when first released and has consistently been considered one of the greatest films ever made since 1928.
On 28 March 2018, The Criterion Collection will release a new digitally restored copy of The Passion of Jean of Arc in DVD and Blu-Ray.
Carl Theodor Dreyer (1889 – 1968) was a Danish film director. He is regarded by many critics and filmmakers as one of the greatest directors in cinema. His best known films include The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Vampyr (1932), Day of Wrath (1943), Ordet (1955), and Gertrud (1964).
Dreyer was born illegitimate in Copenhagen, Denmark. His birth mother was an unmarried Scanian maid, who gave him up for adoption immediately. He spent the first two years of his life in orphanages until his adoption by Dreyer family and was named Carl Theodor after his adoptive father. His adoptive parents were emotionally distant and his childhood was largely unhappy. But he was a highly intelligent school student, who left home and formal education at the age of sixteen. He dissociated himself from his adoptive family, but their teachings were to influence the themes of many of his films.
As a young man, Dreyer worked as a journalist, but he eventually joined the film industry as a writer of title cards for silent films and subsequently of screenplays. He was initially hired by Nordisk Film in 1913. His first attempts at film direction had limited success, and since the Danish film industry was in financial ruin he left Denmark to work in the France. While living in Paris with his wife, he met Jean Cocteau, Jean Hugo and other members of the French artistic scene.
In 1928 he made his first classic film, The Passion of Joan of Arc and four years later Vampyr, a surreal meditation on fear. Both films were box office failures, and Dreyer did not make another movie until 1943.
Denmark was by now under Nazi occupation, and his Day of Wrath had as its theme the paranoia surrounding witch hunts in the seventeenth century in a strongly theocratic culture. With this work, Dreyer established the style that would mark his sound films: careful compositions, stark monochrome cinematography, and very long takes. In more than a decade before his next full-length feature film, Dreyer made two documentaries. In 1955, he made Ordet (The Word) based on the play of the same name by Kaj Munk. The film combines a love story with a conflict of faith. The Word was the first time Dreyer had a film unanimously proclaimed a “masterpiece” by Danish critics. Internationally, the film was a big hit as well, winning the Golden Lion for best feature at the 1955 Venice Film Festival and an American Golden Globe for best foreign film the following year. Dreyer’s last film was 1964’s Gertrud. Although seen by some as a lesser film than its predecessors, it is a fitting close to Dreyer’s career, as it deals with a woman who, through the tribulations of her life, never expresses regret for her choices.
Dreyer died of pneumonia in Copenhagen, on 20 March 1968, at age 79.

Falconetti in a French postcard, by Editions Sid, Paris (ca. 1920’s?)

Renee Jeanne Falconetti (1892 – 1946) -sometimes credited as Maria Falconetti- was a French stage and film actress of Corsican-Italian ancestry, born in Pantin outside Paris. Growing up poor, Falconetti was schooled by nuns who did not much encourage her acting ambitions. Her fortunes improved when she met a much older factory owner whose she became secretary. Against all odds, Falconetti was admitted to the Conservatory, where she trained under the tutelage of Eugene Sylvain, who years later would play the grand inquisitor in The Passion of Joan of Arc.
During World War I, Falconetti entertained the French troops and started getting small parts on stage. She became established in the early 1920s, mainly playing “Boulevard roles” (light comedies) but also performing some classic repertoire and doing a fair bit of singing.
Dreyer discovered Falconetti while she was performing La Garconne, a scandalous play about a free thinking feminist. By the time Dreyer watched her act she was already a celebrated stage artiste, and had appeared in one film, La Comtesse de Somerive (1917). Falconetti was 35 years old when she played the role of 19-year-old Joan of Arc in La Passion. During nine months of filming with Dreyer, Falconetti endured some very tough and demanding work conditions but poured everything she had into her performance. Her portrayal is widely considered one of the most astonishing performances ever committed to film, and it would remain her final cinematic role. The emotional highlight of the shoot was the scene that required her to cut her hair, something she had agreed to in her contract. Many technicians are said to have cried with her during that scene.

“…in Falconetti, who plays Joan, I found what I might, with very bold expression, allow myself to call “the martyr’s reincarnation.”
Carl Theodor Dreyer: Realized Mysticism in The Passion of Joan of Arc

In 1929, Falconetti was at the peak of her career. She acquired her own theatre, though it quickly went bankrupt because of mismanagement. When her millionaire benefactor passed away, she became increasing unstable and unreliable in her professional life, although she still maintained the favour of the Boulevard audiences. In the early 1930s the public spoke more of her extravagances than her performances. In 1935 she was singing in a cabaret under a pseudonym and acting in a play with Louis Jouvet. It was the last time she acted in France. Falconetti left France and spent a few years in Italy and Switzerland. Although she was almost broke, she maintained a frivolous lifestyle. As her financial situation deteriorated, she headed to South America, in 1942. After spending a year in Rio, she arrived in Buenos Aires in 1943. By now she had lost what remained of her fortune, presumably from horse-track gambling. Though Buenos Aires was full of expatriate French actors, she only managed to form a small company of amateurs, which performed four plays at a small, insignificant theatre. To make ends meet, she gave elocution classes to young French-Argentines.
As the years passed, her activity slowed. When she attempted to make a theatrical comeback after World War II she was heavily overweight. Falconetti passed away on 12 December 1946 under mysterious circumstances. Some sources say she died as the result of a self-imposed crash diet. Her remains were entombed in an Argentine cemetery until 1960, when they were cremated. Her ashes now rest in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.

Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: Joan of Arc
Wikipedia: The Trial of Joan of Arc
The Criterion Collection: The Passion of Joan of Arc
Wikipedia: The Passion of Joan of Arc
IMDb: La passion de Jeanne d’Arc
Wikipedia: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Danish Film Institute – Carl Theodor Dreyer
Wikipedia: Maria Falconetti
European Film Star Postcard: Maria Falconetti
NY Times, March 31, 1929: “POIGNANT FRENCH FILM”
Carl Theodor Dreyer: “Realized Mysticism in The Passion of Joan of Arc”

Mark Cousins & Lars Von Trier on Carl Dreyer
Excerpt from 2011 documentary, The Story of Film: An Odyssey


Gloria Swanson, New York, 1924

Edward Steichen – Part Two

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Actress Gloria Swanson with black head wrap dramatically made up behind a screen of lace (Edward Steichen, Condé Nast/Corbis), New York, 1924. The photograph was first published in the February 1928 issue of Vanity Fair.

Gloria May Josephine Swanson (1899–1983) was an American actress and producer. She was a star in the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon.
Swanson began her career as an extra at the age of 14 in Essanay Studios. She left school to work full-time at the studio and made her film debut in 1914.
Swanson moved to California in 1916 to appear in Mack Sennett’s Keystone. In 1919 she signed with Paramount Pictures and worked often with Cecil B. DeMille, who turned her into a romantic lead.
In the space of two years, Swanson rocketed to stardom and was one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood. During Swanson’s heyday, audiences went to her films not only for her performances, but also to see her wardrobe. She was frequently ornamented with beads, jewels, peacock and ostrich feathers and other extravagant pieces of haute couture. Her fashion, hair styles, and jewels were copied around the world. She was the screen’s first clothes horse and was becoming one of the most famous and photographed women in the world.
So successful were her films for Paramount that the studio was afraid of losing her and gave in to many of her whims and wishes. But, in 1927, she decided to turn down a million dollar a year (approx. $13.6 million in 2017) contract with Paramount to join the newly created United Artists, where she was her own boss and could make the films she wanted, with whom she wanted, and when.

Joseph P. Kennedy presents Gloria Swanson in The Trespasser (1929)

In 1929, Swanson jumped into making talkies. “The Trespasser” was released by United Artists, and earned Swanson an Academy Award nomination.
Sadly for Swanson, The Trespasser proved to be one of her only two hit talkies. Subsequent follow-ups like What a Widow!, Indiscreet, Tonight or Never, Perfect Understanding, and Music in the Air all proved to be box-office flops. Despite the disappointments, Swanson was well remembered by Billy Wilder, a writer on Music in the Air, when he was casting the part of Norma Desmond in his masterpiece Sunset Boulevard (1950).
Although she made the transition to talkies, as her film career began to decline, Swanson relocated permanently to New York City in 1938, where she began an inventions and patents company called Multiprises, which kept her occupied during the years of World War II. This small company had the sole purpose of rescuing Jewish scientists and inventors from war-torn Europe and bringing them to the United States. She helped many escape, and some useful inventions came from the enterprise.
Swanson made another film for RKO in 1941 (“Father Takes a Wife”), began appearing in the legitimate theater, and starred in her own television show in 1948. She threw herself into painting and sculpting, writing a syndicated column, touring in summer stock, engaging in political activism, radio and television work, clothing and accessories design and marketing, and making occasional appearances on the big screen. But it was not until 1950 when Sunset Boulevard was released (earning her yet another Academy Award nomination) that she achieved mass recognition again.
Although Swanson only made three films after Sunset Boulevard, she starred in numerous stage and television productions during her remaining years. She was active in various business ventures, traveled extensively, wrote articles, columns, and an autobiography, painted and sculpted, and became a passionate advocate of various health and nutrition topics. She became a vegetarian around 1928 and was an early health food advocate who was known for bringing her own meals to public functions in a paper bag.
Swanson was married six times. Most of the marriages were brief and, in an interview, she said, ”The mess I made of marriage was all my fault. The trouble with me is that I’ve always been too independent.” Gossip columnists wrote voraciously about her marriages and purported love affairs, dwelling particularly on one with Joseph P. Kennedy, the Boston financier who was to found a political dynasty. For more than half a century, Miss Swanson denied having an affair with Mr. Kennedy, but then she wrote about it in her 1980 autobiography, ”Swanson on Swanson,” which won admiring reviews and became a best-seller.
On April 4, 1983, Swanson died in New York City, aged 84.

Gloria Swanson and I had had a long session, with many changes of costume and different lighting effects.  At the end of the session, I took a piece of black lace veil and hung it in front of her face.  She recognized the idea at once.  Her eyes dilated, and her look was that of a leopardess lurking behind leafy shrubbery, watching her prey.  You don’t have to explain things to a dynamic and intelligent personality like Miss Swanson.  Her mind works swiftly and intuitively.” Edward Steichen: A Life in Photography

Edward Jean Steichen (1879–1973) was an American photographer, painter, and art gallery and museum curator. He was born in Luxemburg, but his family immigrated to the United States in 1880.
Steichen is a major figure in the evolution of American photography and exhibition design. Having begun his artistic career as a painter, he was later a founding photographer of the Photo-Secession group, together with Gertrude Kasebier, Clarence White, Alvin Langdon Coburn, and Alfred Stieglitz. With Stieglitz, he first exhibited European “modern art” at Gallery 291 in New York City. He was, also, the most frequently featured photographer in groundbreaking magazine Camera Work during its run from 1903 to 1917.
His photos of gowns for the magazine Art et Décoration in 1911 are regarded as the first modern fashion photographs ever published.
During World War I, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a photographer, leading the aerial reconnaissance division in France.
In 1923, he began a 15-year career at Condé Nast, serving eventually as Chief Photographer and creating iconic portraits of politicians, actors, and socialites for publications including Vogue and Vanity Fair. During these years, Steichen was regarded as the best known and highest paid photographer in the world.
In 1944, he directed the war documentary The Fighting Lady, which won the 1945 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
After World War II, Steichen was Director of the Department of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) until 1962. Among other accomplishments, Steichen is appreciated for creating The Family of Man, a vast exhibition consisting of over 500 photos that depicted life, love and death in 68 countries. The exhibition was seen by nine million people.
Edward Steichen died on 25th March, 1973 at 93 years of age.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Gloria Swanson
IMDb: Gloria Swanson
Wikipedia: Edward Steichen
AnOther mag: Ten milestones in the life of Edward Steichen

See also my other post about Edward Steichen’s work
Mary Nolan, Hollywood, ca. 1929

Mary Nolan, Hollywood, 1929

Portrait for Vanity Fair magazine
Edward Steichen – Part One

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Vanity Fair Magazine: Actress, Mary Nolan, with light eyes and disheveled blond hair, wearing a light sleeveless dress, sitting on a sofa, clutching a scarf, and biting her lower lip. (Photo by Edward Steichen/Condé Nast), 1929

Mary Nolan (1902 – 1948) was an American stage and film actress, singer and dancer. She was born Mary Imogene Robertson in Louisville, Kentucky. When her mother died, his father placed Mary in a foster home and later in a Catholic orphanage in Missouri.
In June 1912, she travelled to New York City to be near her oldest sister. She began working as an artists’ model and later she hired as a dancer in Ziegfeld Follies. As a showgirl, she performed under the name “Imogene “Bubbles” Wilson” and soon became one of the most popular Ziegfeld Girls.
While working in the Follies, Nolan began a tumultuous and highly publicized affair with actor Frank Tinney. He was married to former singer and dancer Edna Davenport, with whom he had a young son. Tinney drank heavily and reportedly physically abused Nolan regularly. On May 24, 1924, Tinney and Nolan got into a physical altercation in her apartment after he awoke to find her alone with a male reporter. After the altercation, Nolan attempted suicide. On May 28, she appeared before New York City Magistrate to report the assault and to press charges against Tinney. Nolan had bruises on her head and body. Tinney was arrested the following day. In June 1924, the case went before a grand jury. Based on the evidence, the jury refused to indict Tinney on assault charges. Afterwards, Tinney claimed the whole ordeal was a publicity stunt concocted by Nolan. After the grand jury hearing, Tinney decided to leave New York to perform in vaudeville in England. In early August 1924, he booked a trip on the Columbus ocean liner. Two days before Tinney was set to leave, he and Nolan reconciled and were photographed together outside of a Broadway theatre. Nolan wept as she watched the Columbus depart and told reporters on hand that she was still in love with Tinney. Nolan’s tearful goodbye to Tinney was covered by the media, which prompted Florenz Ziegfeld to fire Nolan later that day. Ziegfeld said that he fired Nolan because she had promised to end her relationship with Tinney. He added, “She broke her promise and I discharged her on account of the notoriety and also to prevent a possible disruption of the morale of my cast.”
On September 20, 1924, Nolan set sail for France where she was scheduled to appear in vaudeville. She made her way to London in October, where she reunited with Frank Tinney. By December 1924, Tinney had resumed drinking and began to physically abuse her again. In early 1925, Nolan finally ended their relationship. She left the United States shortly thereafter and began making films in Germany. She appeared in seventeen German films from 1925 to 1927 using a new stage name, “Imogene Robertson”.
Upon returning to the United States in 1927, she attempted to break from her previous scandal ridden past and adopted yet another stage name, “Mary Nolan”. Shortly after signing with Universal in 1927, Nolan began a relationship with another married man, studio executive Eddie Mannix. Mannix used his clout to further her career and Nolan found some success in films. Shortly after Desert Nights was released in 1929, Mannix abruptly ended the relationship. This angered Nolan, who threatened to tell Mannix’s wife of their affair. Mannix became enraged and beat her unconscious. Nolan hospitalized for six months and required fifteen surgeries to repair damage Mannix inflicted on her abdomen. While hospitalized, Nolan was prescribed morphine for pain. She eventually became addicted which contributed to the decline of her career.

Poster of a 1930 American drama film directed by Harry A. Pollard, starring Mary Nolan.

By the 1930s, her acting career began to decline due to her drug abuse and reputation for being temperamental. After being bought out of contract with Universal, she was unable to secure film work with any major studios. Nolan spent the remainder of her acting career appearing in roles in low-budget films for independent studios.
Nolan was married once and had no children. She married stock broker Wallace T. McCreary on March 29, 1931. One week before they married, McCreary lost 2,69 € million on bad investments. The couple used McCreary’s remaining money to open a dress shop in Beverly Hills. The shop went out of business within months and Nolan filed for bankruptcy in August 1931. Nolan divorced McCreary in July 1932. She made her final film appearance in 1933.
After her film career ended, Nolan appeared in vaudeville and performed in nightclubs and roadhouses around the United States. Her later years were plagued by drug problems and frequent hospitalizations.
In 1939, she returned to Hollywood and changed her name to “Mary Wilson”. In 1941, she sold her life story to The American Weekly, which was serialized under the title “Confessions of a Follies Girl”, and appeared in several issues.
In spring 1948, she was hospitalized for malnutrition and was also treated for a gall bladder disorder. On October 31, 1948, Nolan was found dead in her Hollywood apartment at the age of 45. An autopsy later determined that Nolan had died of an overdose of Seconal. Her death is listed as an “accidental or suicide”.
Among Nolan’s few possessions was an antique piano once owned by Rudolph Valentino. It was later sold in an estate sale.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Mary Nolan
IMDb: Mary Nolan
Wikipedia: Frank Tinney
Wikipedia: Eddie Mannix


Circus workers, Cologne, ca. 1926

aka. Indian Man and German Woman
August Sander, part six

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Zirkusarbeiter, Köln, 1926 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

August Sander (1876–1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. He has been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century”. August Sander took a methodological approach in his monumental documentary project People of the 20th Century. He classified his photographs into seven groups and multiple sub-groups, reflecting the social structures and developments of his time. This portrait is from the portfolio entitled ‘Travelling People – Fair and Circus’ within the sixth group, ‘The City’. It is one of a series of photographs that August Sander took of performers and other members of the famous Barum Circus. Between 1926 and 1929 the circus toured the Rhineland cities of Dortmund, Remscheid and Cologne. Sander portrayed the circus people as representatives of a certain urban type that he named ‘travelling people’, which also included vagrants and gypsies. The caravans, tents and makeshift domestic environments depicted in the photographs of the members of the Barum Circus emphasise the nomadic nature of their lives. During the Weimar era (1918–33) circus caravans wound their way across Germany, occupying urban wastelands and other ‘in-between’ spaces, momentarily revitalising them as sites of wonder, exoticism and permissiveness. In the popular culture of Sander’s Germany, the mobile circus milieu was synonymous with ‘dangerous’ and ‘primitive’ types – particularly gypsies and people of colour. Sander’s dispassionate circus shots feature both these ‘types’. Historians have used them to illustrate the photographer’s liberal values, values that led to his victimisation under Nazism.
The Circus Barum was founded in 1878 by the East Prussian animal dealer Carl Froese in Konigsberg as Barum’s American Caravan menagerie. After the death of Carl Froese in 1907, his daughter Helene took over the management together with her husband, the animal trainer Arthur Kreiser. From 1935, Margarete Kreiser-Barum, the daughter of Kreisers, continued the family business. She run the circus successfully through the years of the Second World War until it was destroyed in a bomb attack in 1944. In 1946, she dared a new beginning and toured with a new Circus Barum until her death in 1970.  In 1972, Gerd Siemoneit-Barum bought the circus and directed it until 2008. On 26 October 2008 the last performance of the Circus Barum took place in Northeim. Rebecca Siemoneit-Barum and her company Barum & Bauer Performance GmbH took over a part of the animal stock and staff. Since 2012, she is presenting the “Circus Barum Weihnachtsspektakel” in Gottingen.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Tate Papers, Katherine Tubb: “Face to Face? An Ethical Encounter with Germany’s Dark Strangers in August Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century”
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation
Tate, London
Wikipedia: Circus Barum (in German)

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911
The Notary, Cologne, 1924
National Socialist, Germany, 1937
Cadet, Germany, 1944


The Notary, Cologne, 1924

August Sander, Part Three

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Notar, Köln, 1924 (Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur – August Sander Archiv)

August Sander (1876–1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. He has been described as “the most important German portrait photographer of the early twentieth century”.
In 1911, Sander began with the first series of portraits for his work “People of the 20th Century”. In this series, he aims to show a cross-section of society during the Weimar Republic. August Sander became renowned for this work in which he put together hundreds of portraits of people from different levels of society and occupational groups in a series of portfolios developed in a project spanning decades. The series is divided into seven sections: The Farmer, The Skilled Tradesman, Woman, Classes and Professions, The Artists, The City, and The Last People (homeless persons, veterans, etc.). By 1945, Sander’s archive included over 40,000 images.

This portrait of a notary presents an unusual composition within the scope of its portfolio ‘The Judge and the Attorney’, and its larger group ‘Classes and Professions’, in August Sander’s ambitious project ‘People of the 20th Century’. Sander divided his photographic opus of more than 500 images into seven groups, made up of 45 portfolios classified according to the estates, professions and living environments of the German people. While many of the images taken after 1920 are studio portraits or set within the workplace, this outdoor image presents some external narrative detail. Perhaps at his subject’s behest, Sander photographed the notary standing before the stairwell leading to his home, his Doberman Pinscher poised at right angles before him, investing the scene with anticipation and dynamic tension. Attired in a walking coat and hat, and holding a walking stick and the dog’s rolled-up leash, the notary is here pictured far from his professional arena.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: August Sander
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur
August Sander Foundation

See also my other posts about August Sander’s work
Widower with his sons, Cologne, 1914
Confirmation candidate, 1911

Out of Work, New York, 1921

Emil Otto Hoppé – Part One
Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Out of Work, New York, USA, 1921 ((E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection))

Out of Work, New York, USA, 1921 (E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection)

Emil Otto Hoppé (1878–1972) was a German-born British portrait, travel, and topographic photographer active between 1907 and 1945. Born to a wealthy family in Munich, he moved to London in 1900 to train as a financier. While working for the Deutsche Bank, he became increasingly enamored with photography and, in 1907, jettisoned his commercial career and opened a portrait studio.
Within a few years, E.O. Hoppé was the undisputed leader of pictorial portraiture in Europe. Rarely in the history of the medium has a photographer been so famous in his own lifetime among the general public. His reputation attracted many important British and North American figures in politics, literature, and the arts. In the era before the first World War, Hoppé photographed many leading literary subjects and figures from the art world, such as Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, John Masefield, Léon Bakst, Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and other dancers of the Ballets Russes, Violet Hunt, Richard Strauss, Jacob Epstein and William Nicholson, some of whom were included in his 1913 exhibition.
In the early 1920s he was invited to photograph Queen Mary, King George, and members of the royal family. Other subjects of the 1920s included Albert Einstein, Benito Mussolini, Robert Frost, Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw and A.A. Milne. In the 1930s Hoppé photographed a number of dancers at the Vic-Wells company including Margot Fonteyn, Ninette de Valois, Hermione Darnborough and Beatrice Appleyard.
Hoppé also made portraits of the street types of London: he photographed English cleaners, maids, and street vendors both in his studio and on the street. He continued this practice of capturing ordinary working men and women throughout his career as he traveled throughout the world.
Although Hoppé was one of the most important photographic artists of his era and highly celebrated in his time, in 1954, at the age of 76, he sold his body of photographic work to a commercial London picture archive, the Mansell Collection. In the collection, the work was filed by subject in with millions of other stock pictures and no longer accessible by author. Almost all of Hoppé’s photographic work—that which gained him the reputation as Britain’s most influential international photographer between 1907 and 1939—was accidentally obscured from photo-historians and from photo-history itself. It remained in the collection for over thirty years after Hoppé’s death, and was not fully accessible to the public until the collection closed down and was acquired by new owners in the United States.
In 1994 photographic art curator Graham Howe retrieved Hoppé’s photographic work from the picture library and rejoined it with the Hoppé family archive of photographs and biographical documents. This was the first time since 1954 that the complete E.O.Hoppé Collection was gathered together. Many years were spent in cataloguing, conservation, and research of the recovered work.
Sources/More to Read:
Wikipedia: E.O. Hoppé
E.O. Hoppé state collection
National Portrait Gallery, Hoppé Collection

Female Workers of the Chocolate Factory Cima-Norma, Switzerland, 1904-1932

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Operaie della fabbrica di cioccolato Cima Norma 1904-1932 (Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta, Corzoneso)

Operaie della fabbrica di cioccolato Cima Norma 1904-1932 (Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta, Corzoneso)

Roberto Donetta (1865-1932) is one of Swiss photography’s great outsiders.
He was born in the Blenio Valley in Ticino, one of the poorest regions in Switzerland; an Italian-speaking territory to the south of the Alps. Donetta had married young at the age of 21, and had seven children to feed and provide for. He was forced to emigrate, like most of his countrymen. He went to Northern Italy to sell chestnuts on the streets and later to London to work as a waiter, returning just 15 months later, sick and exhausted. Somewhere along the way, he met a sculptor, Dionigi Sorgesa, who in addition to teaching him the basics, gave him a camera. Making a living as a travelling photographer and seed salesman, Donneta eventually found his way back to Switzerland, settling in the Casserio of Corzoneso.
Between 1900 and 1930, he took more than 5.000 photographs, which were preserved merely by chance. These capture the archaic life of his compatriots in the Valle di Blenio, which at the time was totally isolated.
The Blenio Valley is a mountain valley, quite mild at the bottom and on the western slopes, but alpine and barren up on the heights. Just two entities still testify today to a more modern industrialised world: the hotel Terme di Acquarossa, a sophisticated place for urbanites on summer vacation in Donetta’s day; and the striking Cima Norma chocolate factory.
In 1903 Cima brothers established the chocolate factory “Cima” between Torre and Dangio villages. Torre village has been familiar with the production of chocolate since 19th century, when the population worked as chocolate manufacturers abroad. In 1913, Giuseppe Pagani became Cima’s owner, and in 1914 bought “Norma” chocolate factory in Zurich. Cima Norma factory constantly increased its growth until the 60s, when it produced 500 tons of chocolate and employed 340 people. But, in the following years, competition became stronger and finally the factory closed in 1968. Machinery and raw materials were sold, while the buildings became a military warehouse; they were later made available to organise arts and crafts workshops and to build lofts. Cima Norma deeply influenced the life of workers and citizens of Blenio Valley; for instance, it provided male workers with houses and female workers with a hostel, where nuns taught them housekeeping and manners. Donetta photographed both the Cima Norma factory and the hotel Terme di Acquarossa frequently as they were fixed points in social life in the valley.

“The details of the photographs are fascinating. The placement of the figures in Female Workers in Front of the Chocolate Factory Cima Norma for example, where the left two sitting figures have their legs crossed in the opposite direction while both rest their face in their hands, a central figure, and then two figures interlocked as in an infinity symbol looking at each other. The ‘line’ of the photograph changes from one height to another. We observe that Donetta stages his photographs with infinite care, even when there is a blank wall behind the sitter.” 
Dr Marcus Bunyan – Artblart

Roberto Donetta, Self-portrait –Bleniotal, © Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta

Roberto Donetta, Self-portrait –Bleniotal, © Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta

Donetta’s personality was full of contradictions. On the one hand, he expressed considerable interest in all the phenomena associated with the advent of modern achievements, such as photography. On the other hand, he was decidedly conservative when it came to the cohesion of the family or his close links with nature. The latter prevented him from leaving the valley to look for more secure work in town. He lamented the constant changes associated with road building and new railway lines, which he did not see as a blessing for the valley. In his capacity as a photographer he succumbed to the fascination of the modern, yet at the same time he expressed a deep respect for long-standing traditions and rituals. Festivals, weddings, funerals, processions, outdoor church services, these were inconceivable without “il fotografo”. Donetta made photography an important part of those rituals, and over the course of time the photographer was as much a part of the valley as the parson was of the church. This is surely the source of the quality of his photographs: the people did not dissimulate, indeed it’s almost as if they forgot that someone with a camera was watching, so self engrossed do they look, serious, at one with themselves.
Children have a special place in the work of Roberto Donetta – not only because he photographed them regularly and readily, but also because of the originality of the respective images. He took the young people seriously, and they in turn were his accomplices, becoming involved in his creative ideas. The presence of children in his work can also be explained from a socio-historical viewpoint: children played an important role in everyday life and contributed to their family’s economic survival. Sometimes even the worries of the older people are reflected on their little faces. The high infant mortality in the Blenio Valley at the beginning of the 20th century also left its mark. The repeated experience of losing a child increased the need for portraits. Roberto Donetta fulfilled the wish of many parents to try and hold on to their offspring, at least in an image. What is particularly moving is when they called on the photographer to immortalize a small child on his or her death bed.
In an era of great change, Donetta became a unique chronicler who at the same time saw himself as an artist who – self-taught – experimented freely and knew how to master his medium.
When he died, Donetta owed money to many of the town’s locals who had help support him throughout his economic hardships. His wife and family had abandoned him and moved to France years ago, but he was obviously well-liked within his community. When the Commune of Corzoneso held an auction of his belongings to retrieve some of the expenses that helped keep him afloat in his last years, his remarkable collection of photography was ironically the only thing they couldn’t sell for any value. By default, the Commune of Corzonesco became the owners of the Donetta archives, which were re-discovered in the mid-1980s by Mariarosa Bozzini. The Roberto Donetta Archives are housed in the Casa Comunale of Corzoneso, which is responsible for the supervision and conservation of his work.
Sources/More to Read:
Messy Nessy: Memories of a Lost Valley: 5,000 Photographs Discovered in an Attic
Wikipedia: Roberto Donetta (in German)
Fotostiftung Schweiz: Roberto Donetta – Photographer and Seed Salesman
Fondazione Archivio Fotografico Roberto Donetta (in Italian)
Artblart: Roberto Donetta at Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur, Zurich
La Fabbrica Del Cioccolato: Our Story
Ticino Top Ten:  Historic Trail Blenio Valley


Mr. Jose D’Angelo’s family, Peru, ca. 1920’s

Colorized by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorized by Manos Athanasiadis

Mr. Jose D'Angelo's family (Jose D'Angelo) ca. 1920's

Mr. Jose D’Angelo’s family (Jose D’Angelo) ca. 1920’s

The following article: Exhibition honors Peruvian 3D photography pioneer Jose D’Angelo is from EFE Agencia’s site (March 4, 2015)

After almost a century of gathering dust, the work of a Peruvian amateur photographer has come to light in an unprecedented exhibition titled “Estereografias. El mundo en 3D del senor Jose D’Angelo” (Stereograms: The 3D World of Mr. Jose D’Angelo. The exhibition, which runs until May 17 (2015) at the Peruvian Catholic University Cultural Center in Lima, features 20 of the more than 300 three-dimensional images previously seen only by D’Angelo’s relatives, said curator Jokin Aspuru.

Jose D'Angelo in 1916

Jose D’Angelo in 1916

Jose D’Angelo Gutierrez (1873 – 1954) was born to Italian immigrant parents, in Ascope a town in Northern Peru. He was a bank manager of the former Caja de Depósitos, an entity that in time became the Banco de la Nacion. His work was to travel across Peru to open branches throughout the country. In his spare time, he took pictures of places he visited, creating a “serious and important” archive documenting family and social customs of the period, Aspuru said.
To create 3D images, D’Angelo learned the stereoscopy technique that became “the first mass visual phenomenon,” allowing people to view three-dimensional images through a stereoscope. D’Angelo employed a binocular camera that takes simultaneous photographs from slightly displaced angles. Once the images are placed in the stereoscope, the brain works to match the distance between them, creating the illusion of three dimensions.
D’Angelo was an organized, rigorous and meticulous photographer who classified all his material according to the subject of his photographs. Aspuru, found all of the photographer’s work stored in a small, four-drawer chest. Inside were more than 300 stereoscopic plates with pictures taken between 1915 and 1930, neatly classified with tags marking sections, such as “Family,” “Lima” and “Miscellaneous.”
“D’Angelo was always an amateur photographer, but he took photography very seriously,” Aspuru said. “He knew what he was doing.”
Sources/More to Read:
EFE Agencia: Exhibition honors Peruvian 3D photography pioneer Jose D’Angelo
Centro cultural PUCP: Estereografias, el mundo en 3D del Sr. D’Angelo
Wikipedia: Stereoscopy
Peru 21: Estereografias
Foro Peruano de las Artes: Jose D’Angelo Gutierrez


Citizen’s Military Training Camp, Maryland, 1922

Colorization by Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization & Restoration by Manos Athanasiadis

Citizens' Military Training Camp, Fort Meade, Maryland (August 21, 1922)

Citizens’ Military Training Camp, Fort Meade, Maryland (August 21, 1922)

Citizens’ Military Training Camps (CMTC) were military training programs of the United States, held annually each summer during the years 1921 to 1940. The purpose of CMTC’s was to train young men (17 to 30 y.o) for thirty days in order to promote citizenship, patriotism and Americanism, as well as benefit the young men individually and instil a sense of obligation to the country through physical, athletic, and military training. Those interested filed an application, which included a medical fitness statement, and a certificate of good moral character signed by a prominent citizen such as a member of the clergy, current or former officers of the armed forces, or a schoolteacher.
The program consisted of four training levels: Basic, Red, White, and Blue. There was no obligation to join the regular service, but opportunities did exist to do so.
The largest number of CMTC participants in the III Corps area, which included men from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, trained at Camp Meade, Maryland. In 1923, about 4,000 attended Camp Meade, and the number remained high in 1940 at approximately 3,000. CMTC camps held at about 50 Army posts nationally. At their peak in 1928 and 1929, about 40,000 men received training, but as a whole the camps were a disappointment at their multiplicity of stated goals, but particularly in the commissioning of Reserve officers.
The photographic album containing the series was provided by Cronhardt and Son from Baltimore, Maryland, and depicts various activities that occurred at the Camp Meade CMTC, including rifle shooting instruction and practice; physical exams; marching; artillery practice; and cavalry training.
Among known participants were Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, Robert Penn Warren, Walter S. McIlhenny, Chuck Yeager, and William Guarnere.
Sources / More to Read:
Wikipedia: Citizens’ Military Training Camp
Ghosts of DC: The Citizens’ Military Training Camp
US National Archives
Buy a Print:
Red Bubble



Tiger Hunting in India, ca. 1920s

Restoration & Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Restoration & Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Tiger Hunting in India, ca. 1920s

Tiger Hunting in India, ca. 1920s

The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is the most common subspecies of tiger, constituting approximately 80% of the entire tiger population, and is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and India and has been hunted in those countries for centuries.
The tiger hunting had been considered a manly and courageous feat with game trophies being collected as symbols of valor and prestige.
While the tiger was widely extant and not threatened up to the first decades of the twentieth century, hunting and habitat loss reduced its population in India from 40,000 to less than 1,800 in a mere hundred years.
Despite the prevalence of tiger hunting as a royal sport for centuries, the consequences were larger during the British Raj (rāj, meaning “rule” in Hindi – was British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947) due to the use of far superior firepower and an interest to hunt shared by a much larger number of colonial aristocrats.

Never attack a tiger on foot—if you can help it. There are cases in which you must do so. Then face him like a Briton, and kill him if you can; for if you fail to kill him, he will certainly kill you.” —Walter Campbell, My Indian Journal

Tiger hunting was an important symbol in the construction of British imperial and masculine identities during the nineteenth century. Precisely because tigers were dangerous and powerful beasts, tiger hunting represented a struggle with fearsome nature that needed to be resolutely faced “like a Briton,” as Campbell put it. Only by successfully vanquishing tigers would Britons prove their manliness and their fitness to rule over Indians.
Kings and lords, generals, and Maharajas went out in large parties, carried by 10, 20, 30 or even 40 elephants; their servants often drugged and baited tigers before they arrived so the hunters were in little danger. They legitimized the slaughter by vilifying the cats, casting them as terrible, bloodthirsty beasts with an unquenchable desire for human flesh.
After ascending the throne in 1911, King George V and his retinue traveled north to Nepal, slaying 39 tigers in 10 days. Colonel Geoffrey Nightingale shot more than 300 tigers in India. In the 1920s, Umed Singh II, the Maharaja of Kotah, modified a flaming red Rolls Royce Phantom for tiger safaris in the Rajastani hills, outfitting it with spotlights for night hunting, a mounted machine gun and a Lantaka cannon.
The killing escalated after 1947. Independence ushered in a hunting free-for-all. Soon after, hunters streamed in from around the world, seduced by the guaranteed premiere trophies advertised by travel agencies – tiger, elephant, rhino, lion, and other iconic species. And then, as models and Hollywood starlets draped themselves in cat skin coats, a fashion craze for fur took hold in the U.S. and Europe. A tiger pelt fetched €47 in India during the 1950s; 10 years later, rugs and coats sold for €9.425. Things changed, however, when Indira Gandhi took the reins as prime minister in 1966, outlawing the export of skins and appointing a Tiger Task Force. In 1971, the Delhi High Court banned tiger killing, despite opposition from the trophy hunting industry that was raking in €4 million a year.
Today there are 45 tiger reserves, comprising about one percent of India’s land, but still the wild tiger is one of the most threatened species on the planet. By 2011, the total population was estimated at fewer than 2,500 individuals with a decreasing trend. None of the Tiger Conservation Landscapes within the Bengal tiger’s range is considered large enough to support an effective population size of 250 adult individuals. Since 2010, it has been classified as Endangered by the IUCN.

In November 1924, Brigadier General William Mitchell, published this account of a three-day tiger hunt in eastern India with the maharaja of Surguja. (Excerpts from National Geographic, see links)
…Used to hunting all my life, I had never dreamed of a spectacle and a moment like this… To the top of a rocky outcropping the tiger jumped, not more than 50 yards away, and at that instant I let go the bullet from the Springfield. The beast was knocked down flat in its stride; but, without losing speed, it was up with a terrific roar and on again… I could see its face plainly, depicting rage, fearlessness, and pain…
We examined the position of the tiger when I first fired and found pieces of cut hair where the bullet had struck; also deep claw-marks in the hard rock. We found where my second bullet had hit the rock and not the tiger, just as it fell for the second time, and were tracing it up the cut bank when the native who was posted in the tree behind my machan called that the tiger was lying in the water of the nala and had not moved for a long time… Soon we saw the tiger, stretched at full length in the water of the stream, with its teeth clutching the roots of a tree in a death grip and its legs drawn back as in the act of springing.

These animals are game as long as a breath remains in their bodies…

We had killed so many animals during our last three days that their pelts were not sufficiently dry to pack, so we had to spread them on top of the automobile truck that was to carry our baggage south, allowing them to dry en route.
The Maharaja saw us off, the band played the Star-Spangled Banner, the guard of honor presented arms, and our wonderful sojourn at Surguja was over.

Wikipedia: Bengal Tiger
Wikipedia: Tiger Hunting
National Geographic: Tiger Hunting in India 1924
National Geographic: A Concise History of Tiger Hunting in India
“Face Him Like a Briton”: Tiger Hunting, Imperialism, and British Masculinity in Colonial India, 1800-1875
Slate: Hunting the Hunters