A few weeks ago I wrote about posing devices employed by photographers to guarantee their clients sat still for their pictures. At that time I also asked if anyone had photographs of the actual head rests and other equipment. Jeffrey W. Deitchler answered the call and sent me two pictures. Thank you!!
Can you spot the head rest over on the right? It’s the metal arm sticking into the picture. It’s likely that this photo of three men was once in a paper enclosure that hid the device.
Photographers used a variety of devices to keep folks still for their portraits. Chairs, tables and columns gave clients something to lean on. These head rests could be adjusted for the height of the customer and some of them were sturdy enough to gently brace the sitter. However, these rests could also literally clamp around a neck, for instance, to hold someone in place. Sounds pretty uncomfortable!
Here’s what Lake Price’s Manual of Photographic Manipulation (1868, 2nd edition, available on Google Books.) had to say about head rests. There are drawings of other types of these devices.
This is the first time I’ve incorporated original page views in the blog. Let me know if you love it or hate it. It makes the blog a little long, but I really like reading the original text.
Jeffrey sent me one more picture to share with readers. It’s one of his Ford ancestors photographed in Michigan. The entire posing device
I hope you’ll check out the video podcasts on my YouTube Channel.