Getting the cleaver, 1880s

Getting the cleaver, 1880s
Fri, 07/30/2021 – 10:56

Physical comedy seems to have been particularly popular across small towns as a form of amusement, perhaps reflecting the prominence of vaudeville. In the photographic studio, sitters emulated slapstick performances they might have seen on stage. As modernity extended to these places, social mores gave way to individualism and public character was replaced by personality and momentary diversion. Cards like these make it easy to forget that a mere twenty years earlier, most people were nervous about getting their portraits made, and were often upset by the results.

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M. C. Hosford, West Rutland, Vermont
Getting the cleaver, 1880s
Albumen silver print
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

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