Thursday, January 26, 2012

Foote notes #4

My sole exposure to L.B. Foote's photos is via the prints at the Archives of Manitoba. To refresh your memory, these are the prints that Foote had in his possession when he died...and they're all 8" X 10" prints.

A few weeks ago, I was able to spend a few hours digging through the Winnipeg Free Press' photo archives with staff photographer Michael Deal and the resident librarians.

In addition to the photos the librarians located for us, we also unearthed a few more photos...and they were all 8" X 10" prints.

None of the images, to my recollection, were taken in a studio. The standard line is that Foote was more interested in shooting anything and everything out in the world than staying the studio and doing portraits.

Remember, Foote had a sales background before he ever picked up a camera.

Foote was the consummate freelancer, a hustler, which is reflected in the range of his subjects and of his clients: from news photography for the Winnipeg Free Press to crime scene photos for the Medical Examiner's Office, to documentary photos for Claydon Brothers Construction.

So you can imagine my shock when, in response to UMP's appeal for Foote photos, we started to see differently-sized images, some of which were clearly shot in a studio.

I've included a sample of these images here, described from top left and then moving clockwise:

Nancy Gates brought in this large image of King Edward VIII at Delta Marsh. The image is approximately 18 1/2" X 14" and is glued to a larger piece of cardboard, which was then framed. I won't say much more about this image, because I'll be doing a Found Foote Photo entry on it, but it is interesting to note that while the picture was shot in 1919, this print wasn't made until 1936...

Marjorie Dawson brought in a photo, shot circa 1912, of her father Oscar John Gottfred in a bike race. The image, 8" X 6 1/8", is glued on a matte frame with a logo reading "L.B. Foote 284 Main Street" to the bottom right. In addition, the photo itself has "Foote Photo" written on the left hand corner.

The third image is courtesy of June Sanderson, whose father is somewhere in the picture, taken some time in the 1920s. It is a long narrow image, 9 1/2" X 5 1/8" in size, and is glued on an plain grey board.

There is no logo or stamp, but the photo has "Foote Photo" in the left hand corner. Interestingly, though it is a different hand, the the placement is the same as the earlier picture of Oscar Gottfred. (You'll remember from Foote notes #1 that it is much more common to see Foote's 'signature' on the right hand side...)

Finally, Vicki Wallace emailed a studio picture of her maternal grandfather, George Edward Boxshall, and his family taken circa 1923. Given that the image was sent via email, I don't know it's precise dimensions, but the photo is in an ornate grey matte frame that includes the text: "Foote and James Winnipeg."

To sum, three weeks ago, I would have sworn up and down that a typical Foote photo was 8" X 10", but clearly if you were a private individual buying a copy of a group photo or commissioning one of your family, Foote gave you a lot of options...

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Thanks to everyone that's shared their images with us! Please don't hesitate to contact us if you've got Foote photos in your private collections...

Ariel Gordon
UMP Promotions/Editorial Assistant

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