THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH! How would it be possible to describe the lean and lanky artisan better then in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem? Please click here: http://www.hwlongfellow.org/poems_poem.php?pid=38
for his masterful example American poetry and realize that the gent in this archivally sealed and cleaned (not by us) sixth plate might have been a model for Longfellow's visionary work. The hardened smithy was bathed in celestial illumination by a brilliant daguerreian who captured the countenance of the man so successfully that when the complete leather case is opened, the next owner will desire only a quick peek initially so the fellow’s soul won’t be separated from the tradesman. This fire forged character stood before the camera, wearing his workingman’s attire that included a heavy woolen shirt many times patched and repaired. A long dark leather apron shielded his trousers from the burning sparks created by his profession. It was folded down below his waist and probably would have covered most of his torso too. He wore a ubiquitous shiny leather cap without a brim and cocked at a slight angle. His bearded face supported a friendly mouth and an unforgettable nose. Deep set animated eyes peered knowingly into the lens. After all, his maker was also a professional plying his own craft. Need I mention the coiled strength in his blackened hands gripping a hammer and iron pair of tongs that were clamped to his recently completed axe head? He had such magnificent composure standing there silently counting the seconds while the dark slide was pulled. Such absolute artistry and understanding between a patron and his operator created a magnificent masterpiece on this silvery palette that has fine reflected depth and an earthy overall appearance. I must say that at certain angles there are wispy diagonal lines in places and the buff strokes were not completely accomplished either. There is a faint stain in the lower left corner and a few latent pale dots upper left. Curiously, the impression on the repaired leather case shows a stylistic delicate roses theme that I haven’t previously seen. I believe the blacksmith was taken in the late 1840s.
Dennis A. Waters at