Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paper Moon Portrait Booth at R&E

Russet and Empire is collaborating with Phillipa C Photography for the Junction Design Crawl to create a paper moon portrait booth.  Paper moon portraits were known during the time of their popularity as "Man in the Moon" portraits. It was an American fad that, seems to have begun in the late 19th century.  Older tintypes have been found that suggest that these portraits may date as far back as the 1860s or 70s, but it seems they didn't boom in popularity until around 1900. The style of clothes of the subjects posing suggests the popularity of these portraits reached a peak in the 1910s and 20s. 

Paper moon portraits seem to have been a real departure from the formal studio portraits of the late nineteenth century. The portraits were cheap enough so that anybody could afford to have one taken. Besides studios, more informal "Man in the Moon" portrait booths could be found at arcades, carnivals and county fairs. Many of the people posing on the paper moons were obviously having a good time -- smiling and sometimes cavorting for the camera -- something that was almost never done in studio portraits of the day.  

It is presumed that the popularity of Kodak's cameras eventually killed these paper moon portraits because people could then afford to take their own pictures, but for a few decades these portraits were probably the cheapest way of getting one's picture taken. Photobooth portraits too were surely a contributing factor to the disappearance of the paper moon portrait. Judging once again from the clothing of the subjects posing, the paper moon was starting to wane in popularity by the 1940s, and had all but disappeared by the 1950s.
so come by with your honey or bff, enjoy some refreshments and have your portrait taken with the man in the moon.

Photos and history lesson via here

1 comment:

Radhika said...

Any idea on when the Paper Moon photos from the junction crawl will be posted?