Over the years while directing and producing my documentary films, I have acquired numerous historical artifacts related to the topics these films explore. It started in 2007 after I began a documentary about dogfighting with a working title “Fighting For Their Life” (which later pivoted to examine breed specific legislation and became “Guilty Til Proven Innocent“) after NFL star quarterback Michael Vick became the primary suspect in running a dogfighting operation.
I quickly became fascinated by the topic and history of pit bull dogs, and sought out old photographs and other items for inspiration. From time to time I will be writing blog entries about some of these items I’ve collected and researched, because I’ve noticed other people share the same fascination as I do about this history.
The first item I am going to write about is one of my top five favorites in my physical collection – a photograph from the 1890s (circa) of a white pit bull dog standing. The type of photograph is called a cabinet card – an extremely popular type of photograph developed in the latter portion of the 1800s, where an image was mounted on a card intended on being displayed in a sitting room rather than placed in an album.
I, unfortunately, do not have any information regarding the dog or his owner, but I was able to get a little more information on the photographer. His name is Edward Carey Dana. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1853, moved to New York, New York where he opened up a photography studio in Brooklyn at 565 Fulton Street. He eventually opened two other locations – another one in New York City on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, as well as one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…the studio location where this photograph was taken.
Mr. Dana died at 44 years of age in 1897 due to kidney problems, but became well known for being a skilled and accomplished photographer during his short time here.
This THE ARCHIVES blog entry is part of the research pre-production phase to the docuseries – “ONCE IN A LIFETIME“. For more information about the film, go to:
Watch the “Once In A Lifetime” Concept Trailer:
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