FOUR BLACKSMITHS, A HORSE, AND A PORNOGRAPHER IN EAST LIVERPOOL, OHIO

This cabinet photograph looks like a scene from a Clint Eastwood western feature film. It is as if the four men are looking into the street to watch Clint challenge four outlaws to a gunfight. More likely, this photograph captures a portrait of four men who work in an East Liverpool, Ohio blacksmith shop. Note that two of the men are holding  tools of their trade and also take notice that there is a tool box in the center of the image.  In additon, two of the men are wearing aprons and all four men are wearing what appears to be appropriate blacksmith garb. In the center of the photograph is a pretty horse. The photographer of this wonderful portrait is Culbertson’s Art Studio. The Culbertson studio is associated with the seamier side of photography and created quite a scandal in East Liverpool. Harry and Leon Culbertson were brothers and at one point were business partners in the Culbertson Brothers photography studio. On 5/10/1892, Harry was arrested on a charge of taking lewd and indecent photographs. His legal defense was that the photographs were “purely works of art”.The Lowell Daily Courier (Lowell, Massachusetts) reported the story on 5/13/1892. Culbertson claimed that two unknown young woman came to his studio and induced him to photograph them “undraped”.  He left town shortly after his arrest.

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Published in: on February 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Horses weren’t pets. They were essential to life. These men’s faces, young and old, show the toil and determination demanded by their arduous and in points, – complex profession. – Per the photographer, a request for an undraped image was probably grounds for the accusation of “lewd” indecency. – In those times nudity wasn’t considered an art form. – But compare that to today. Filth is labeled “art”. – Well, I needn’t begin to compare the times. – Thanks for another excellent card with interesting research.

  2. Politics aside, this horse was probably well taken care of for the time. I knew a Man called Timothy back in the 1970’s Van Cortlandt Stables. I was young at the time, I knew nothing of his life. I was able to witness how he was able to shoe a horse; even the most; let say not the most cooperative horse with ease. He was man from the time… He loved working with horses. I was into photography at the time and to the present, but I never wanted to intrude. He will forever live in my mind…

  3. I LOVE your blog 🙂 I love colorful characters of ages past!


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