bogardusA nicely groomed gentleman, dressed in formal clothing, poses for his portrait at the Bogardus studio in New York City. The subject has an imposing mustache and a rather austere expression.  Abraham Bogardus (1822-1908) was a descendent of Dutch settlers of New York’s Hudson Vallery. He opened a studio and gallery in New York in 1846. In 1849 he opened a branch gallery in Newark, New Jersey.   His business was very successful. Bogardus was a noted celebrity photographer. In 1868 he was one of the founders of the National Photographic Association and served as the organization’s President for five years. Bogardus was a major witness at the trial of William H. Mumler. Mumler was a “spirit photographer” and he was brought to trial for fraud. Bogardus was hired by P. T. Barnum to fake a photograph of him with the “ghost” of Abraham Lincoln. The image was used as an example of the ease at which a photographer could create fake photographs of ghosts. From 1871 through 1873 Bogardus partnered in owning his studio with Daniel and David Bendann. Bogardus was not a big advocate of extensive retouching. He spoke at national conferences about his belief in minimal intervention. The popular photographers Sarony and Mora did not support the minimalist approach. Mora worked particularly hard to create celebrity portraits with an idealized appearance. Bogardus’s philosophy caused him to be very popular with male portrait sitters. In fact, Cornelius Vanderbilt insisted that Bogardus be the only photographer allowed to sell his portrait. Wishing to retire in 1884, after 38 years of business, he put his studio up for sale and in the advertisement he stated that “The reputation of the gallery is too well known to require one word of comment”. Bogardus’s studio had been located at a number of New York City addresses and the photograph above was taken at his last location. Bogardus was also a talented writer. He published many articles in photography journals and in addition during much of the 1880’s he edited a well respected monthly entitled “The Camera”. The photograph below is a portrait of Abraham Bogardus.