This cabinet card photograph features actor Mac Barnes. He certainly looks like that he is in character to play Jesus in a theatrical production. His long hair, beard, and robe lead me to this hypothesis. An inscription below the image on the cabinet card states “Peace! Sincerely, Mac”. Before seeing this inscription, I thought my generation (Baby Boomers) were the first cohort to use the word “peace” when addressing each other. Mac Barnes (1863-1923) is listed in the IMDb. He was born in Bedford, Indiana, He was a vaudeville, stage, and screen actor. He was known for his roles in “The Food Gamblers” (1917), “The Haunted House” (1917), and  “Experience” (1921), His filmography includes 21 credits from 1909 through 1921. The photographer of this cabinet card photograph is Max Platz (1850-1894) who operated a studio in Chicago Illinois. Platz was born in Germany. His father was a tanner and he moved the family to Racine, Wisconsin when Platz was still a lad. He began his career at age 16 as a “positionist” in his brother-in-laws photographic gallery. His brother-in-law was Henry Rocher, a very talented and well respected photographer. He was Rocher’s primary assistant from 1867 through 1881. In 1881 Platz established his own photography business and encountered immediate success. He was a life long bachelor and clubman and was known for his wit, friendliness, and story-telling. He developed quite a following from members of the theater, German-American society, and the fashion world. His studio was decorated very elaborately. He employed antiques as props, much in the same way as Napoleon Sarony. It is written that his posing style resembled his friend, Benjamin Falk. Platz was an active member of the Chicago Photographic Association in 1893, he played an major role in the Department of Art for the Columbian Exposition. When Platz died in 1894, his studio and negatives went to his friend and fellow Rocher Student Joseph Gehrig and his pupil, James Samuel Windeatt. Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1904) declares that a photographic session with Platz could be quirky. It seems that he had a habit of disappearing mid-sitting in order to find a quiet place to ponder the best poses he could utilize for his sitter. Platz earned the nickname “The Sarony of the West”. This cabinet card portrait is in very good condition. (see scans).   (SOLD)


chicago musician_0002

A musician poses for his portrait at the Rocher studio in Chicago, Illinois. He is playing a large stringed instrument with a bow. I can not identify the instrument and assistance from knowledgable cabinet card gallery visitors would be appreciated. Note the fireplace and fancy chair in the background. The musician is unidentified but is likely someone professional, and not a random person using the instrument as a prop for their portrait. In fact, Henry Rocher (1826-1887) was known for being a celebrity photographer. However, most of all, he is considered the one Chicago photographer who could compete technically and artistically with the great photographers in New York City. The great celebrity photographer Sarony, may have had an advantage by possessing exceptional ability to pose his subjects. Rocher’s nephew and disciple, Max Platz, was also quite a talented and successful photographer. Rocher was known to employ a number of women as operators, including “Miss Garrity” who was a successful photographer in Louisville, Kentucky and in Chicago. To view portraits by Miss Garrity, click on the category “Photographer: Garrity”. Rocher came to the US in 1856. He arrived from Germany, where he had originally learned photography.He was one of the founders of the Photographers Association of America (1880).