An Old Shaver

An Old Shaver

The following editorial comments for “An Old Shaver” appeared in The Photographic Times, where it appeared as the frontis gravure plate for the Friday, March 15, 1889 issue:


Our photogravure illustration this week will be especially welcomed by portrait photographers and those who strive to make pictures with the camera from life”—human life.
“An Old Shaver ” has many suggestions to give the observing and studious ones, in posing, arrangement of accessories, and lighting. It is a famous photograph, having received honorable recognition in more than one exhibition where it has been shown. But Mr. Dumont has told us its history briefly. We quote from his personal letter to us:

“This old man,” he writes, “is the same one whom you are all familiar with as the subject of ‘Solid Comfort,’ and the picture is one of five studies that I made of an old man who used to peddle oranges around the streets and offices in this city; but as his wants were greater than his income, I had the pleasure of making up the deficiency until he was taken sick, and I had him sent to the poorhouse, where he died, greatly to my disgust, as I have never been able to find another model whom I could do anything with or get any expression as I could with him. After taking this picture I discovered that my developer had given out, and after leaving him for not less than fifteen minutes I came back and found him with his razor up to his face just as I had left him; he hadn’t moved a muscle.

“This picture was awarded a silver medal at the Amateur Photographer Home Portraiture Competition, London, in 1887, and is one of four for which I was awarded a diploma at the New York Exhibition the same year.” (1.)

print details: recto: within lower left corner of image: J. E. Dumont.
– engraved at lower left corner outside margin: Copyright 1888. John E. Dumont.


1.  The Photographic Times:  March 15, 1889: p. 127

An Old Shaver

Image Dimensions17.5 x 14.9 cm Friday, March 15, 1889 No. 391

Support Dimensions27.7 x 19.9 cm