Friday, October 10, 2008

The headless gambler

Photo Credit: The Michael Gregorio Collection.

Inspired by the Israeli cover of A Gentle Axe, Michael Jacob - who happens to be one half of crime author Michael Gregorio - sent me the headless photo above from his collection of Victorian photographs and daguerreotypes. He has very kindly given me permission to use it here.

Here's what Michael said about the image:

Double-exposure trick photography of this sort first began to appear in the 1860s. The more common examples featured men drinking, playing chess or cards, the same sitter appearing twice, and thus – to the great amusement of our Victorian forebears – playing with himself!

‘Beheaded’ portraits are extremely rare, so I thought you might like to see another one from my collection of Victorian photos.

This example was made by Enrico Andreotti, a photographer who was working in Florence in the 1860s. It portrays a card-player who has lost everything – including his head – by betting on the lowest card in the pack.

Don't forget, I'll be talking to Michael and his wife Daniela (the other half of Michael Gregorio) at the Trevi Noir Festival, on the first of November. Book your tickets now!

And I thoroughly recommend 'A Critique of Criminal Reason' - a wonderfully atmospheric and grisly tale.

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