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Date: Around 1869
Place: Unknown, possibly Washington, D.C.
Photographer: Unknown, possibly J. C. Tarisse
Note: The Lion Collection ascribes this portrait to E. F. Hunt, Camden, NJ, but this seems too early for a Camden photo. The notebook referred to in the previous entry also contains notes for a poem about a photograph Whitman refers to as "Tarisse's head," and in Whitman's 1867-1875 address notebook, he records a "Mr. Leybold J. C. Tarisse 424 Penn av. bet 4th & 6th sts." In an 1869 Washington Chronicle article, Whitman, describing the best photographs of himself, noted that "Mssrs. Seybold & Tarisse, on the Avenue, below Sixth, have a good head, just taken, very strong in shade and light." The notes for the poem suggest this might be the portrait being described: "From Shadows, deep & dark I peer Out." The lines in this MS poem could also refer to .030 or .031; William Kurtz was a master of shadow in his portraits, which gained a reputation of being in the "Rembrandt style." On the reverse of a print in the Kendall Reed collection, Horace Traubel did not care for this photo and "always objected to sending out these pictures because the photographer had immodestly painted the cheeks." Whitman disapproved of retouching negatives or prints, since the "photograph has this advantage: it lets nature have its way."
Type: Print
Credit: Oscar Lion Collection, New York Public Library
ID: 032

Image 032


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