Saturday, June 08, 2013

Lionel Wiggam Photo

One of the things I've often thought about collecting for myself is photographic portraits of poets. If there was ever any part of me that thought this was a serious proposition it was dashed to the floor and trampled on recently by reading the sale catalogues from Bonhams of the Roy Davids collection - why would a mere mortal attempt such a collection when the Olympian Gods had obviously trodden the path before - but this doesn't stop me occasionally searching for such on Ebay.

This is Lionel Wiggam, described in this press photograph from the 1930s as a "New American poet". He doesn't appear to have published more than a couple of volumes of poetry but they appear to have been very well regarded. Obviously he's a devastatingly handsome young man and he was, for a time, one of the Ford Modelling Agency's top 10 models. There are some brief but touching remembrances of him on the Princeton Alumni website which were uploaded there following his death in 2005 at the age of 88. I have a little history crush but I promise to also track down his poetry in the near future and see what all the fuss was about...

Some people shy away from these press photos because they are often heavily stamped, written on the verso, sometimes also on the front, often marked up or heightened in black and white. Personally, I think this is like the patina on an old piece of furniture: it gives you a sense of the photo's age and its history in the world.

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