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RUSSIAN BALLET SYMPOSIUMBarnard/Columbia U. Oct. 12 & 13

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#16 Amy Reusch

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 06:59 AM

Wikipedia is such a surprising resource... I should know by now to turn there first... but sometimes my consciousness is stuck in the pre-wikipedia world...
However, http://en.wikipedia....Carte_de_visite doesn't really answer something I've been wondering about. They weren't really used as visiting cards, then were they? The "visite" was the famous person's visit to the photographer's studio, or just because it was the same size as a calling card? I understand that they were collected, but how were they distributed... did people get them at the theater? So they were a souvenir? Or did one just buy them at a newspaper stand or book shop?

Still, ViolinConcerto, you took the notes... I had a pad & pen in my lap but found I had to concentrate too hard on keeping up with the speed of the info with foriegn names coming out of Souritz while deciphering the accent to be able to keep notes... Not a problem with the round table, and I should have bestirred myself, but by then I seemed to have settled into a different mental mode.

Anyway, Thanks!

#17 rg


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Posted 16 October 2007 - 07:20 AM

free association guessing here:
i suspect the 'CDV' identification comes from the fact that these little 'albumen' photos were printed the same size as standard carte de visite of the era.
my sense is that these items were sold by the photo studio that produced them. (perhaps in 'payment' to the artistes sitting (or standing) for the photographer, a number were given to the personality in the photo, which i suppose. given the subject's happiness with the results, could become items used as calling cards or souvenirs to friends, admirers, etc.
but as i say this is all free association on my part, i am not a photocard expert.
my scattershot efforts toward understanding these items go mostly toward identifying the subjects and not in the direction of understanding the form of the photos themselves.
as usual, i suspect someone on BT knows some keen hard facts on this subject. mel may yet chime as a font of accurate information.

#18 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:05 AM

Yes, rg, you are correct in that the CDV was a salted-paper or albumen print which was used as the carte-de-visite was in the days when such things were still prevalent in social circles. They were also much used as postcards are used today, for advertising and publicity purposes. (John Wilkes Booth had several THOUSAND of himself in his estate - actor with big ego, you know)

Many paper CDVs are found today with one corner bent in the proper manner for visiting cards, (upper right meant "come over to my place", left corner meant "Drop me a quick letter", and other variations. CDVs were easy and inexpensive for the "collodion artiste" to make, as they were often made using an ambrotype "negative" on a glass sheet. The practice of the CDV even came down into the 20th century, with the ferrotype (tintype) photograph in a 1/9 sheet size. But ferrotype technology was different. Each picture was a direct-positive, and unique. The photographers would mount these little metal photos in a paper frame so that the giver could write a one- or two-line message and perhaps sign them.

If you want to collect these little historic photos, resist the urge to try to remove the photo from the backing, no matter how fragile the latter may seem. The photo will roll up into a tight little tube, and the paper conservators are still working on a good way to reflatten them and mount them on acid-free board. "Tintypes" don't care. You can remove the paper around them with no damage to the photograph, but I find the frames part of the charm of collecting them.

#19 rg


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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:53 AM

thanks, mel. i suspected you'd be able to sort out a good deal of the past history surrounding these cards.
i'd never dream of trying to remove any of these fragile pix from their backing - even in the cases where the corner is lifted a little from the mounting. w/ rare exceptions how these things come into my hands, is how they remain there.

#20 Ray


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Posted 16 October 2007 - 11:29 AM

the conference organizers have already asked for presenters to submit their presentations as e-copy for eventual posting on the web.
i suppose if all do so, the full conf. will be given in written form on line; the site, i believe would be one connected to the harriman institute.
the 'diaghilev in venice' presentation by sjeng scheijen (a careful and multi-lingual scholar from netherlands) was esp. good during the sessions early in the day.
if i hear more about the publication on line of the proceedings, i'll post the info.

Thank you!

#21 Amy Reusch

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 12:18 PM

Thanks. I think my interest stems from wishing they were still common practice today... I'd love to collect these of contemporary dancers I admire. Eliot Feld put collector cards in his programs in one of the early Joyce concerts, but no one seems to have kept up the practice. Seems like good publicity/branding... We still have baseball cards after all.

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