Photography – Still Magic


Snapshot advertisement for Johnston, the Magician; person and place unknown, purchased New York City, 2016; collection of E. Lee Eltzroth

It is Halloween 2016 and, unlike previous years, my post this year will be brief.

I recently spoke before a county historical society and told them that I began taking photographs when given my first camera at four years of age, and that I immediately knew it was some kind of magic that made a photograph possible. I knew for a fact that photographers were magicians because my photographs were really awful, but there were so many good ones out there!

I still feel that way, and although it is true that with digital photography everyone  is a magician, many digital photographs are better than others — those photographers definitely have the magic touch.

Hypnotism was once associated with black magic and the supernatural.


[The Hypnotist] John Adams Whipple, daguerreotype, ca. 1845; Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 2005.100.76

Did you know that this Halloween is the 90th anniversary of the death of the most famous of all magicians Harry Houdini? One of the larger collections of Houdini materials is at the University of Texas Harry Ransom Center in Austin.

And to close this short post, here is a link and information about William H. Mumler’s “Spirit Photos.” More magic in photography! All images on this site by Mashable are via the Getty Open Content Program. If that isn’t enough, here are some more recent “spirit photographs” — actually it’s the double exposure.

© E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or the author’s photographs without  written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. The piece can be re-blogged, and excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: