Monday, September 20, 2010

Sepia Saturday: From a Favorite Book

Back in June when I was on the coast enjoying the beach, I found this book at Sun Dog Books in Seaside, FL. I did not purchase it that day, and when I went back for it, I could not find the one copy. In July when I was in Monroeville, AL and browsing the cozy little shelves of Beehive Coffee & Books and chatting with Mary Badham (aka Scout), I found a single volume again! This time, I made it mine! I had remembered it only as a picture book, but in her introduction Victoria Randall shares a brief history of photography. Beginning with the daguerreotype, named for Frenchman Louis Daguerre, to tintype, to ambrotype, calotype, cyanotype, (all TYPES new to me), and collodian, up to George Eastman's introduction of the first film camera. With this, came the traveling portrait photographer, and most specifically featured in this book: The Pony Man. Throughout America were photographers going from town to town with an outfitted pony and a suitcase full of riding costumes. In her modest (120 pages)
treasury of nearly a hundred charming photos spanning from the 1880's to the 1960's, Randall includes many personal details and inscriptions for each image. Here are just a few captured by my camera. If you love sepia photographs and children and ponies,
you should give yourself this book.

CIRCA 1939
Doesn't she remind you of Bonnie Butler in GONE WITH THE WIND?

CIRCA 1918

CIRCA 1918
(click on pictures of the book to enlarge)

CIRCA 1971 Near Fort Rucker, AL

Our first born, Cameron, is seen riding his made in England Mobo walking pony.
I think this is the last one of these sold from Pizitz's in downtown Birmingham.
My Tennessee cousins had owned one, and I had longed for a Mobo to show up under my Christmas tree when I was a pre-schooler. Years later, I was astonished to find him in the toy department and sent word immediately to Santa. He reserved the toy before Cameron was born. Happily for his first Christmas, it became his first and only pony. Alas, there were no traveling pony photographers by this time. This is an old Polaroid I took, with a newly added sepia effect.


When it's midnight in the meadow and cats are in the shed,
And the river tells a story at the window by my bed,
If you listen very closely, be as quiet as you can,
In the yard you'll hear him,
It is the pony man.

Opening lines of the "The Pony Man" by Gordon Lightfoot
For other Sepia Saturday Posts, click HERE!


alaine@éclectique said...

What a lovely book! Reminds me of when my brothers and I would go down the road to ride the Shetlands.

willow said...

This book is WONderful!! I adore vintage photos of children and ponies, next to those of children and their dogs, of course! Cameron is just too adorable on Mobo. Our kids had one of those big plastic ponies suspended with springs on a metal stand. Oh, how they loved that thing.

FireLight said...

Alaine, my sister and I had a hearty, strapping Welsh pony, and he seemd huge compared to some Shetlands raised on a nearby farm. We used to visit them and coddle and pet them as if they were puppies!

Willow, though we lived in the country far from the base, we were not sure how long we would be any where, so Mobo was perfect. He has a special place in the corner of our family room.
You must see this book; keep an eye out for it!

Derrick said...

Hello Fireight,

Lovely photographs, especially the last one. Early polaroids never seemed to have good colour, so I imagine this sepia effect has done it no harm at all!

FireLight said...

Derrick, remember when we thought a Polaroid was state of the art in photography? Apparently the cameras have a loyal following. I recently heard a news story that the company is producing the film again!

Betsy said...

That is a lovely book! I'm glad you came across a copy after 'loosing' the first one! The photographs are wonderful!

Your little Cameron is adorable in that photo!

Joan said...

What a beautiful book. I love the photo of your wee son on the walking horse. Isn't it funny how we remember things we longed for as children. Mine was a little doll with hand knitted clothes that belonged to my school friend Ruth. I remember it so well and she doesn't.

FireLight said...

Betsy, thanks for stopping by. I am not here as much as I would like to be, but I will not abandon all of you. Hope all is well with your 5 Men!

Joan, welcome to you! Thank you for stopping by. I must get down to New Zealand! Poppping over to your blog right now!

About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat