Because Reading is Fundamental...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

1920's Vintage Photos of Two Wrestlers


Available here.

5 comments:

♥♥♥ w o o l f ♥♥♥ said...

i live in a belgian provincial town, that had its own famous wrestler, once upon a (later than your pictures) time; the pose, it does remind me of him, i knew him vaguely as he was growing old...

scott said...

I love the way these photos were painted on. Photos were often painted on to make then easier to see when printed in newspapers and pulp magazines. I had several similar ones from an old defunct Chicago newspaper dating from the 1940's- the backs had the actual newspaper clippings showing how the retouched photos looked when printed. A few of the images reeked of bigotry...One photo showed an African American man wearing handcuffs while in police custody. The photo retoucher had actualy painted over and widened the mans lips. I guess this was to fit some sort of racist preconceptions...another image of a woman in a bathing suit had shadows added to make her nipples more obvious. A third was of a transvestite being arrested (for wearing womans clothing?) with the
caption "She is a He" with his name and address listed below. Whew!

Joey said...

Wow, those sound like some incredible finds!

scott said...

Joey,

I wish I knew the proper name used to describe these photos. I've seen them here and there over the years, but most people selling them don't know what they were originaly made for.

It seems to me this would be a great subject for a book- perhaps there already is one that's been published but I'm unaware of it because I don't know what to call these retouched photos!

I found mine about 30 years ago in funky vintage store in the Newtown area of Chicago- they were in a huge cardboard box, all from the same defunct newspaper. I cherry picked my favorites- but there were some incredible sports images I regret not getting. One was a flash photo of a boxers face being punched... it a was highly retouched close-up with a glove hitting the boxers face, and at the time I thought it was too painful to look at. It's funny how some objects haunt you- for me that is "one that got away"...

A few years ago I gave my sons some of the photos and sold the rest on ebay. I made $40 to $60 average on them, so they seem collectable for people on a budget.

As usual I really enjoy checking out your blog. You've got a great eye and you get interesting comments from a wide range of collectors.

Joey said...

Hi Scott,

I'm not sure what you would call them either - other than maybe retouched press photos. As you said, they do take on a whole other feel to them once they've been altered. If you have a collection of them you should make a book of them! Jim Linderman is making a few great looking self published books these days on somewhat similar topics. Self-publishing software makes it so easy these days. One of these days I'm going to make my own on folk art articulated figures.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I just think there should be some visual archive for these objects that appear for a few days out in the world and eventually go back into private collections.