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White House Photographers: 1918

White House Photographers: 1918

1918. "Press correspondents. Photographers on White House lawn." At center: Artie Leonard of National Photo. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Newsreel Lore

Tommy Baltzell, aka John Thomas Baltzell, worked for Pathe News, and is credited on IMDB with directing and producing a 1918 documentary film titled "Washington's Sky Patrol." Joseph C. "Brownie" Brown worked for Hearst International Newsreel. For your interest, I found entries for almost all of the photographers and cameramen in this photo on "The Dope Sheet," a blog site devoted to identifying and recording the deeds of early newsreel cameramen and the companies they worked for. Here's the page of entries for Tommy Baltzell.

Backwards Hat

I think the one gentleman is wearing his hat backwards so that the brim does not interfere with his ability to look through the viewfinder of his movie camera.

[It became their trademark style, in fact, and often caricatured, as in this 1925 cartoon. - tterrace]

Press Photographers Wanted (No Weaklings Need Apply)

What four of the shooters are packing (and I mean packing; it weighed almost 12 pounds) is the Press Graflex built by Eastman Kodak’s Folmer & Schwing division from about 1907 to 1925. Costing roughly $2,400 in 2012 dollars ($145 in 1918), it was designed for news media work and had a reputation for robustness. It had a focal plane shutter capable of 1/10 to 1/1000 second shots plus timed exposures. It was a single lens reflex camera, but instead of an optical viewfinder you looked into that curved eyepiece on top down to the image, which a 4x5-inch mirror projected onto a glass plate. Pressing the shutter caused the mirror to leap out of the way, and the resulting torque could make a photographer stagger. Our friend via Shorpy, the great Lewis Hine, was a Graflex fan. Here he is.

Did Secret Service get a bit lax?

Third from the right (in front): the guy looks like Billy the Kid. Are you sure that's a camera he's holding?

Who ARE those guys?

The photographers' names, from the White House News Photographers Association web site.

[Excellent detective work! Click to enlarge. - Dave]

Hal Hall, Joe Johnson, Harry M. VanTine, J.C. Brown, Alley West, Arthur Leonard, Tommy Baltzell, Frank Cullen, George Dorsey, Charles Simons. Far right: White House Policeman; at rear: Reeves, White House gardener.

Rebel Photographer

There's always gotta be one clown with his hat on backwards.

The modern Photographer

seen here sporting the latest in the new compact portable Cameras.

Such Cameras make it simple to catch the subject at their most candid. Why, you hardly know they're there!

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