Untitled, n.d.

Unknown Maker

  • 2004:003
  • albumen print
  • 15 5/8 x 20 1/2 in.
  • Framed: 27 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.
  • Collection of the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Gift of Mr. Walter Engels, 2004
Photographers began taking souvenir photos of tourists at the Falls soon after the invention of the daguerreotype in 1839. By the late 1850s, most American artists had switched from the daguerreotype process to large glass-plate negatives and albumen silver prints that combined the exquisite clarity of the daguerreotype and the endless reproducibility of paper-print photography. This view of the “American Falls” by an unknown photographer shows Terrapin Tower and the Horse Shoe Falls from the Canadian side. The image seems to be a composite of two photographs that were reshot into a single albumen print. Notice the details in some of the negative spaces among the figures that do not correspond to the space around them. Also, the figures appear to be out of scale with the popular Maid of the Mist steamboat ferry in the distance. In some ways, this souvenir photo foreshadows the popular digitally-mastered images available at the Falls today.