On His Way

PhotographerSamuel Adelstein

CountryUnited States

MediumGelatin Silver


View Additional Information & Tags

California, Landscape, Figure, Men: Occupational, Supports, The Orient


Image Dimensions: 23.7 x 16.4 cm
Support Dimensions: 26.1 x 17.7 | 38.0 x 30.3 cm (cropped to edges of pasted primary mount)

Associated Blog Posts:

California Pipe Dreamer

Most likely taken in California, this photograph shows an Asian man who is possibly a farm or other type of worker carrying his lunch pail while setting out on a journey.


Samuel Adelstein, ca. 1866-1934, was an active member of the California Camera Club whose pictorial works including a series of nude studies were published in Camera Craft in January, 1918 as part of his self-authored article: “An Enthusiast’s Experience”. The year before, the journal stated he was “an enthusiastic amateur photographer, a native son, a Director of the California Camera Club, and one of the Board of Governors of the Civic League of Improvement Clubs and Associations”. Immersing himself in the art of photography around 1916, he specialized in making enlargements (from sharp negatives) with a soft-focus Verito lens.


Civically minded, he was chairman of the (San Francisco) Fillmore Street Improvement Association from at least 1907-08.

In 1925 the 32 page booklet “Santa Barbara, California” was published by Southern Pacific Lines, authored by John Steven McGroarty with photographs by Adelstein.


print notes recto: signed in black ink at lower left corner of image: Samuel Adelstein. signed in graphite on lower margin of secondary mount: left: “On his way” (clipped at left) & right: Samuel Adelstein

verso: in graphite centered: On his way.   ?

Camera Craft associate editor Edgar Felloes, writing in the September, 1922 issue, made the following review of the photographer’s work:
Enthusiastic Amateur

Samuel Adelstein, member of the California Camera Club, may be considered one of the lucky ones among amateur photographers; he comes and goes as he pleases and his camera is a part of him. Many will envy him, he apparently has nothing to think of but this hobby.

Quite recently Mr. Adelstein had a collection of seventy of his pictures on view at the Public Library in Santa Barbara and the attendance was most flattering. The artists of the community gave unstinted praise to his work. It was through their solicitation that these pictures were brought together for public exhibition which was pronounced a great success.

Mr. Adelstein takes all his pictures with a 3¼ x 4¼ Ensign Reflex Camera equipped with a Carl Zeiss Tessar Ic lens, and like so many photographers these days has recourse to enlarging. For this purpose he uses the Verito Soft Focus lens, and most of his prints are made on Artura Carbon Black paper.
-E.F.  (p. 426)


Provenance: Former collection, Bay Area, Marin County, California family via San Francisco 2015 Auction House sale.

On His Way