Selfies, Box 93, April 1949


I don’t believe Joel would have these self-portraits “selfies”, but I’m sure he would have adopted with the time. The date is April 9, 1949.

Next are the left overs in box 93, two portraits of his mother to set-up the lighting, and then there are a good amount of self-portraits.

Not sure what’s going on in Joel’s mind. He’s almost 28, graduated from COP, and based on the writings on negative boxes, he’s still doing photography class assignments. So he might still be at COP pursuing an Art Degree.

On the other hand, the sheer amount of self-portrait hints at Joel needing a good headshot for a resumé. Who knows ?

Clara Pahl, Joel’s mother, April 9, 1949 (Printed)
Clara Pahl, Joel’s mother, April 9, 1949 (Printed)

For those who wonder how a photographer could do selfies in 1949.

There were a number of solutions. First, there’s a mechanical self timer that could trip the shutter on a Graflex camera, the latter on a tripod of course. Secondly, and the method Joel used here, there are long shutter releases that can trip the shutter on the camera from 6-20 ft away.

One would pre-focus on the zone the sitter is in, use a small aperture for sufficient depth of field, and go for it. That’s why Joel is using his mother to set up the camera and lighting.

Pay attention to Joel’s hands and one can clearly see that he’s not relaxed.

It’s not easy, as in the first portrait, Joel blinks at the same time he pushes the shutter. Yes, it takes practice, and Joel would only find out about this fail when he develops the negative. No instant gratification !

Joel Pahl Dardis, self portrait, April 9, 1949, Stockton
Joel Pahl Dardis, self portrait, April 9, 1949, Stockton
Joel Pahl Dardis, self portrait, April 9, 1949, Stockton

In the above image, and also with some effort in the first image, one can see the rubber hose leading over his left leg (at right in the image). This suggests he’s using a rubber squeeze bulb to trip the shutter pneumatically.

Joel Pahl Dardis, self portrait, April 9, 1949, Stockton
Joel Pahl Dardis, self portrait, April 9, 1949, Stockton (Printed)
Joel Pahl Dardis, self portrait, April 9, 1949, Stockton (Printed)

So, one more lesson in photographic practices in 1949.

I do love the manly chair Joel is using in many of his portraits. Sure looks like a family heirloom.

Cheers !


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