Portrait of two young men posed with a crescent moon prop.



Portrait of two young men posed with a crescent moon prop.


Late 19th century.


Tintype, 5¼ x 4⅜ in.

I have always collected books and other works on paper, so at the age of eighty, despite giving collections to libraries in my zone of affection, my house is pretty full. Idea: collect something not as space consuming as books…like photographs.

I collect “folk photography,” images rapidly produced at amusement parks or by itinerant photographers in small-town or rural America, places where photographs were otherwise a luxury. I concentrate onportraits of persons posed with a crescent moon prop, many of the props painted as the face of the man in the moon. The resulting images range among couples in a holiday mood, children with or without adults, dogs and cats, and sober-faced family groups dressed for the camera. Why would anyone want a portrait taken with the man in the moon or any crescent moon prop?

Most of these images are now found as “real photo postcards,” popular during the early twentieth century and, much less frequently, as exhibited, in the earlier form of tintypes.


Donald Farren