Caught Our Eyes: The (Camera) Subject Rules?

I can never resist a demonstration that the subjects of photos sometimes undermine the efforts of even the most professional photographers. The original caption for this photograph emphasizes charity, but the expressions on the two young boys’ faces suggest that they were feeling anything but charitable towards the photographer.

Friendship Charity Fete, Leiter Children. Photograph by Harris & Ewing, 1915. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.05792

Friendship Charity Fete, Leiter Children. Photograph by Harris & Ewing, 1915. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hec.05792

The photo is one of thousands produced by Harris & Ewing, Inc., a Washington, D.C. firm that documented local people, events, and architecture, during the period 1905-1945. Clues in the pages of the Washington Evening Star suggest that the “fete” mentioned in the caption was a fund-raising event held at Friendship, the country estate of John R. McLean. The Leiter children were probably the sons of Joseph and Juliette Leiter, members of a wealthy Chicago family who had relocated to Washington, D.C. a few years before the photograph was taken.

Learn More:

One Comment

  1. Gene / KG7XD
    January 4, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    This picture is priceless. They look like a 1915 version of ‘gangsta boyz’. I can remember my mother dressing me like this when I was 3 or 4 years old…in about 1950.

    Thanks for the great pics!

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.