Glass and silver

I didn’t want his glass and silver
to be a lady or to serve him dinner.
So I pawned his linen for my lens,
went out collecting sinners
to fix to plates, to make friends
at fairs and taverns with distillers
whores or natives; create on paper
facts for him to find a little later.

Jessie Tarbox Beals
America’s first female photojournalist
c. 1904

For Kerry’s prompt at toads, a 55 on early photojournalism (maybe). I will also link up to Poetry Pantry tomorrow morning.

December 1, 2018

34 responses to “Glass and silver

  1. A wealthy woman who bought her first camera when she was 16. I have done a tone of research on early women photojournalists. I never considered Beals a photojournalist but rather a photographer. she took tons of photos of shops and tea rooms in Greenwich Village which she was paid for, tons of photos of rich people’s cats and dogs, a few portraits of wealthy people and a few self portraits.

    • I had to do some reading on her to confirm my assessment of her…
      1. Though born in a wealthy family her father lost most of the money to drinking.
      2. She won her first camera at a competition
      3. She was the first woman to be published in a journal and took assignments from news papers…

  2. I’m sure one really had to know about light and how to use it properly – the photos shown looked pretty well lit – not dark and blurry as many were back in the day. It obviously was a passion of hers.

  3. I love this so much. ❤

    My favorite:

    "So I pawned his linen for my lens,
    went out collecting sinners"

  4. Gosh, I love this poem, Bjorn. The voice is so authentic, and I do love the way you phrased her articulation of self-discovery.

  5. Hi Bjorn, this was fun. I liked your list of sinners, guess I’ve rubbed elbows with all three. I tell of the Juarez prostitute but not here, no I wasn’t a client.
    ..

  6. I love your slant on the image, Björn, and the way you tell it from her point of view:
    ‘I didn’t want his glass and silver
    to be a lady or to serve him dinner.
    So I pawned his linen for my lens,
    went out collecting sinners’.

  7. Little gem here Bjorn, not only sharply descriptive but emotive of a liberated woman a century ago. You kept it 55 and smartly rhymed. Good work.

  8. A vivid poem that matches the way she leans into the photo below…you can feel the curiosity and enthusiasm

  9. Love it! Very cool. You’ve created a cadence here, that juxtaposes wonderfully with the content.

  10. kaykuala

    I didn’t want his glass and silver
    to be a lady or to serve him dinner.
    So I pawned his linen for my lens,

    A determined lady with a mind of her own giving back without remorse. she would make it a success at something that required resolve and courage.

    Hank

  11. Ah yes tribute to those pioneering women who knew what they wanted and stepped out and did it. Nice one Bjorn.
    Thanks for dropping by my sumie Dunday this week

    Much💜love

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