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-   -   Famous or notable people after 1840 who are not in photographs? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=775294)

syncrolecyne 11-16-2015 01:07 AM

Famous or notable people after 1840 who are not in photographs?
 
Around 1837, Louis Daguerre developed the Daguerreotype, and around 1839-1840, portrait photography rapidly spread across the developed world. As a consequence, we generally have photographic images of nearly all heads of state/government, significant artists, authors, composers, generals, etc. after this period.

However, I imagine due to a variety or reasons, such as vanity (or a lack thereof), religious or moral objections, a simple lack of desire to sit for a photograph, some prominent person who lived well after the advent of photography has no photograph. Also, if someone only sat for one or two images, there may be no surviving pictures.

Are there any people who have shunned or otherwise avoided photography, yet are notable in some respect?

bibliophage 11-16-2015 02:24 AM

There are plenty of photographs of the last emperor of China, and at least one of his immediate predecessor (reigned 1875-1908), but as far as I can tell there are no photographs of the three previous emperors:

The Daoguang Emperor (reigned 1820-1850)
The Xianfeng Emperor (1850-1861)
The Tongzhi Emperor (1861-1875)

A couple of famous Native American leaders who were famously never photographed are Cochise (died 1874) and Crazy Horse (died 1877).

journeyman_southpaw 11-16-2015 02:40 AM

Do people who lived in obscurity their entire lives and only got recognized after they died count for the purposes of this discussion? If so, some artists would likely qualify, I'm thinking of early 20th century jazz and blues musicians in particular, considering that no confirmed photos of Robert Johnson surfaced until the '70s.

Vincent van Gogh is close, but there's one confirmed photo of him as a kid and another of him as a teenager. There are no photos of J. M. W. Turner who was well-known in his lifetime but he died in 1851, not far into the age of photography, so not sure if that counts. Ditto Mary Shelley who also died in 1851.

Senegoid 11-16-2015 03:23 AM

Cecil Adams

Ranchoth 11-16-2015 03:52 AM

Mary Jane Kelly.

Technically, she's in two (confirmed) photographs, it's just that she and her face aren't...particularly recognizable.

Peter Morris 11-16-2015 06:39 AM

Crazy Horse, probably. There is an alleged photo, but experts dispute its authenticity.

No known photos of Cochise, according to this book.



Also, no undisputed photos of any of the Brontė sisters.

MikeS 11-16-2015 07:05 AM

Emperor Ninkō of Japan (1800-1846) does not appear to have ever been photographed. (Or, more accurately: if he was photographed, his photograph is not available online.) However, his successor the Emperor Kōmei does have an extant photograph, as do all his successors.

CalMeacham 11-16-2015 07:28 AM

Almost All the presidents and vice presidents who were around for photography were, apparently, including Andrew Jackson, who died in 1845. The sole exception is Richard Mentor Johnson, the ninth Veep, under Martin van Buren. He died in 1840, so maybe he was just a bit too early for photography to be sufficiently widespread, and he wasn;t quite important enough (unlike van Buren, who WAS photographed, although he lived for over twenty years after RMJ's death.)

Leo Bloom 11-16-2015 07:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Senegoid (Post 18862490)
Cecil Adams

:) I was gong to say Bigfoot.

CalMeacham 11-16-2015 07:36 AM

Interestingly, although we have photographs of the photographic pioneers Louis Daguerre, Henry Fox Talbot, and John Herschel, we don't have any of the originator of the art, Nicephore Niepce (although we have engravings). Arguably, he was just TOO early.

CalMeacham 11-16-2015 07:41 AM

Although she lived until 1850, I don't think we have a photograph of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein. A quick search turns up nothing but the portraits I've seen before.

CalMeacham 11-16-2015 07:51 AM

Muhammed Ahmad, the self-proclaimed Mahdi who lead a large contingent of Sudanese against the Turco-Egyptian leaders. He lived from 1844 to 1885. I can understand the lack of photographs -- this was far from Western innovations, which wouldn't have been that important to his people.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ahmad


I wondered if there might be some Islamic prejudice against photographs, since Muslim art traditionally avoids representations, especially of people. I note, however, that the sultan of the Ottoman Empire have, since the beginning of photography, had their photos taken, so that isn't necessarily a prohibition. (Note that, even though many of the images in the link are paintings, photographs of those after 1840 do exist):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...Ottoman_Empire

Bayard 11-16-2015 08:14 AM

There are only two photographs thought to show former Taliban leader Mullah Omar. However, the authenticity of even those is debated.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Omar

Lucas Jackson 11-16-2015 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by journeyman_southpaw (Post 18862463)
Do people who lived in obscurity their entire lives and only got recognized after they died count for the purposes of this discussion? If so, some artists would likely qualify, I'm thinking of early 20th century jazz and blues musicians in particular, considering that no confirmed photos of Robert Johnson surfaced until the '70s.

Vincent van Gogh is close, but there's one confirmed photo of him as a kid and another of him as a teenager. There are no photos of J. M. W. Turner who was well-known in his lifetime but he died in 1851, not far into the age of photography, so not sure if that counts. Ditto Mary Shelley who also died in 1851.

Of possible interest: http://www.neatorama.com/2006/08/26/...ring-van-gogh/

Really Not All That Bright 11-16-2015 09:01 AM

Banksy?

Schnitte 11-17-2015 05:15 PM

I would have been inclined to say Thomas Pynchon, who's still alive, but it seems that some very few photographs of him have indeed been published.

nearwildheaven 11-17-2015 05:23 PM

On a related note, Isadora Duncan died in 1927, and yet there are no known moving images of her.

Captain Amazing 11-17-2015 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nearwildheaven (Post 18867826)
On a related note, Isadora Duncan died in 1927, and yet there are no known moving images of her.

Here's one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaFZbhbcft0

Peter Morris 11-17-2015 05:49 PM

Nijinsky was never filmed, either.

Horatio Hellpop 11-17-2015 06:52 PM

Geechie Wiley, a blues singer from the 1930s, made kind of a big impact in recent years. Her most famous song, "The Last Kind Words Blues," was featured in the movie Crumb and a big article about her appeared in the New York Times a couple of years ago. She made three single records in her career and sang in nightclubs up through the 1950s. The people who know about her really, REALLY know about her. No known photos.

Part of her legend is that she was wholly unknown outside of a small group of black music fans. Robert Crumb, as a teenager, began his lifelong fascination with jazz and blues 78s and would walk through black neighborhoods in Philadelphia in the late 50s-early 60s, knocking on doors, offering 25 cents apiece for any old records the residents might want to part with. He scored some amazing rarities, including "Last Kind Words Blues," and any fame it has today is the result of copies from the 78 he bought in this manner 50+ years ago.

A couple of other musicians, like the Residents and Question Mark from "? and the Mysterians" are pretty coy about their actual identities and have no known photos.

nearwildheaven 11-18-2015 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain Amazing (Post 18867862)

:cool:

When and where was this discovered?

nearwildheaven 11-18-2015 06:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 18868007)
A couple of other musicians, like the Residents and Question Mark from "? and the Mysterians" are pretty coy about their actual identities and have no known photos.

KISS were that way in the late 1970s too. This led to all kinds of rumors; the most ludicrous was that they were women, and Paul Stanley's costume negated that! :p A more reasonable one was that they were black, which would have been an issue at the time WRT the kind of music they played.

Had Paul been black, he would had to have been very light skinned.

Ethilrist 11-18-2015 06:46 PM

Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) is remarkably camera-shy; there are only a few photos of him out on the web.

Little Nemo 11-18-2015 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CalMeacham (Post 18862733)
Interestingly, although we have photographs of the photographic pioneers Louis Daguerre, Henry Fox Talbot, and John Herschel, we don't have any of the originator of the art, Nicephore Niepce (although we have engravings). Arguably, he was just TOO early.

It was the brief period between the invention of the photograph and the invention of the selfie.

Little Nemo 11-18-2015 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 18868007)
Geechie Wiley, a blues singer from the 1930s, made kind of a big impact in recent years. Her most famous song, "The Last Kind Words Blues," was featured in the movie Crumb and a big article about her appeared in the New York Times a couple of years ago. She made three single records in her career and sang in nightclubs up through the 1950s. The people who know about her really, REALLY know about her. No known photos.

Robert Johnson is one of the most famous figures in the blues genre. And he lived until 1938, when photography was relatively common. But there are only two photographs of him. (There was a recent claim that a third photograph had been found, but it's apparently now been disproven.)

dougie_monty 11-19-2015 12:19 AM

Harry Winston--a jeweler who once owned the Hope Diamond.
The Imam Yahia, head of state of Yemen in the late 1940s, was never photographed--he forbade it under pain of drastic punishment. On the day that a likeness of him appeared in a Ripley column in 1948, he was reported to have been assassinated.

F. U. Shakespeare 11-19-2015 05:32 AM

There's no known photograph of Willie Brown, a friend and associate of Robert Johnson's (he's mentioned in one take of Johnson's "Cross Road Blues", aka "Crossroads") and an influential bluesman in his own right.

Early Delta blues singers sort of existed in a different, time-shifted era: poverty and Jim Crow made it much less likely that they'd have access to technologies like photography than their mainstream, urban counterparts (let alone white stars) of the same era. Charlie Patton was possibly the most famous Delta blues singer, and there exists one known photo of him.

D18 11-19-2015 07:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 18871391)
It was the brief period between the invention of the photograph and the invention of the selfie.

I'm afraid there was no such period, alas!

Fuzzy_wuzzy 11-19-2015 07:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nearwildheaven (Post 18867826)
On a related note, Isadora Duncan died in 1927, and yet there are no known moving images of her.

I was about to make a similar point about George Orwell. Despite working for the BBC there are no moving images, or voice recordings of Orwell.

Really Not All That Bright 11-19-2015 08:11 AM

Actually, there is footage of Orwell (or at least of Eric Blair, since he hadn't written anything yet).
Quote:

Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop (Post 18868007)
A couple of other musicians, like the Residents and Question Mark from "? and the Mysterians" are pretty coy about their actual identities and have no known photos.

New-ish heavy metal band Ghost has six members, and all of their names and faces are a secret. The singer wears King Diamond-esque makeup and is known only as Papa Emeritus, and the rest wear masks and are referred to as "Nameless Ghouls."

I'm not sure any of those people count, though; their record labels obviously know who they are and there are bound to be pictures of them somewhere.
Quote:

Originally Posted by nearwildheaven (Post 18870808)
KISS were that way in the late 1970s too. This led to all kinds of rumors; the most ludicrous was that they were women, and Paul Stanley's costume negated that! :p A more reasonable one was that they were black, which would have been an issue at the time WRT the kind of music they played.

I don't think it would have been that big a deal. There were a number of non-secret black hard rock musicians around at the time, or before; Hendrix (and Billy Cox) and Phil Lynott spring to mind.

Shakester 11-19-2015 08:55 AM

Nick Drake (d 1974) was a not-unknown musician during his life - 3 albums released on a major label, even if they didn't sell well - and there is no film footage of him as an adult, only still photographs. There's also no authenticated live recordings or photos of his performances.

Saint Cad 11-19-2015 12:52 PM

I think a distinction should be made between famous people of which there were no photographs and those that actively avoid photographs (like Watterson)

Really Not All That Bright 11-19-2015 12:54 PM

Why? The OP specifically referenced both.

nearwildheaven 11-19-2015 01:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 18872111)
I don't think it would have been that big a deal. There were a number of non-secret black hard rock musicians around at the time, or before; Hendrix (and Billy Cox) and Phil Lynott spring to mind.

Not if there was a single non-white member. But all of them? It could have been a big deal.

A decade later, along came Living Colour, a black hard-rock quartet, and nobody batted an eye at that (until the inferior knockoffs, the best known being 24/7 Spyz, came along).

Check out the excellent documentary "A Band Called Death" for some insight into race and music in the mid- and late 1970s.

Peter Morris 11-19-2015 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fuzzy_wuzzy (Post 18872007)
I was about to make a similar point about George Orwell. Despite working for the BBC there are no moving images, or voice recordings of Orwell.

So what? Isadora Duncan and Nijinsky were famous dancers. Their fame is baseupon movement. Technology existed to capture said movement, but wasn't used. (Or at least only a few seconds.) Not recording them is something of a loss to history.

Orwell fame is not based on moving, or for his voice. It's no huge loss that they weren't recorded.

Little Nemo 11-19-2015 02:06 PM

If we're talking voice recordings, one surprising example is Adolf Hitler. There are obviously hours of recordings of him giving public speeches. But he deliberately used a "public" voice in his speeches. There's only one recording of his voice speaking in the conversational tones he used normally.

Really Not All That Bright 11-19-2015 02:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Morris (Post 18873158)
Orwell fame is not based on moving, or for his voice. It's no huge loss that they weren't recorded.

Not sure I agree with that. A huge part of an author's life is live readings of excerpts from their books, even if those are generally not attended by a large fraction of those who read the books.

Annie-Xmas 11-21-2015 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Schnitte (Post 18867808)
I would have been inclined to say Thomas Pynchon, who's still alive, but it seems that some very few photographs of him have indeed been published.

Can't say "Pynchon" without "J D Salinger."

dougie_monty 11-21-2015 02:31 PM

Perhaps he was very infrequently photographed in the first place.

Horatio Hellpop 11-21-2015 05:32 PM

There hasn't been a new photograph of Steve Ditko (Spider-Man co-creator) in almost 50 years. He's become something of a cult figure.

Fuzzy_wuzzy 11-22-2015 04:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Morris (Post 18873158)
So what? Isadora Duncan and Nijinsky were famous dancers. Their fame is baseupon movement. Technology existed to capture said movement, but wasn't used. (Or at least only a few seconds.) Not recording them is something of a loss to history.

Orwell fame is not based on moving, or for his voice. It's no huge loss that they weren't recorded.

I pointed out this lack of film & voice recording of Orwell purely as a curiosity. Though it now looks as if a small film record of him has been found recently. Still, as someone who worked for the BBC it's an interesting factoid that his famously strained voice has not been recorded.

botsgotme 11-22-2015 08:41 AM

Howard Hughes was almost never photographed, after about 1948.

dougie_monty 11-22-2015 10:24 AM

I bet the guy who played The Invisible Man in the British TV series has never been photographed.

the_diego 11-22-2015 07:37 PM

Most women of Saudi Arabia, full-face that is.

Colibri 11-22-2015 07:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the_diego (Post 18880949)
Most women of Saudi Arabia, full-face that is.

Which of them were famous or notable?

the_diego 11-22-2015 08:22 PM

Royalty and aristocracy? The only one I've seen full-faced in pictures is Mai Yamani.

psychonaut 10-17-2016 05:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ethilrist (Post 18870892)
Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) is remarkably camera-shy; there are only a few photos of him out on the web.

The same might be said of The Far Side's Gary Larson. I know of only a couple photographic portraits, plus a 1986 interview on 20/20.

jtur88 10-17-2016 08:37 AM

German-American author B. Traven. There are one or two photos of the person he is thought to be, but none of a person who professed to be Traven.

xnylder 10-17-2016 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dougie_monty (Post 18871562)
Harry Winston--a jeweler who once owned the Hope Diamond.

I realized this thread's been resurrected, but right now there's a photo of Harry Winston right on his Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Winston

Channing Idaho Banks 10-17-2016 10:44 AM

Has anyone ever seen a picture of Buckethead?


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