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Tintype Cowboy: 1939

Tintype Cowboy: 1939

A tintype cameraman on a San Antonio, Texas, street. Photo by Russell Lee, March, 1939. View full size.


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Still around

Yes, it was developed on the spot, inside the camera, and not as difficult as you might think. Sometimes tin, sometimes paper. By 1939 it would probably have been a direct-positive paper rather than a tintype. I have that exact same camera but direct-positive print paper is not easy to find these days.

That car

It's a 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe. It has aftermarket fender skirts, and it looks like there's some extra (non standard) chrome trim on the front fenders and grille. It's funny, you see a lot of cars like this at car shows today--with lots of extra stuff on them--and I always think of them as kind of fake. This is a nice reminder that people were dolling up their cars back then as well.


you're right. She's got jodhpurs. But the man with the dark beard; I agree he's most likely the photographer but the only thing scruffy about his dress is his hat. Cigarette was very acceptable at that time. His shirt looks quite new. His jeans look brand new. He has a full untrimmed beard a style that goes in and out of fashion. I'd say he looks interesting. But your link to jodhpurs is why I take time to reply. It made my day!!!!!!

Great Looking Automobile

Can anybody identify the year, make and model?

The photographer…

…is the scruffy looking dude on the right, isn't he?

And is that woman wearing jodhpurs?

Helpful tip: Don't do a google image search for jodhpurs with SafeSearch off. You might come across this wonderful image (Safe for work, but not for appetite.)

Tintype Still Done!

There are still photographers that do tintype. Some, like Wayne Pierce, set up shop at reenactments and do a lot of business.

Sort Of An Early Polaroid...

I never thought of tintype photography as being so well suited to on-site, relatively quick development. No wonder it was so popular at one time with street, beach and event photographers. A little Googling even uncovered a source for a tintype photography kit that will allow you to take this type of photo with a more modern film camera.

But as with so many other things that have gone digital, photography doesn't seem to be nearly as macho as it appears here.

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