Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chico Multigraph

At one of my other blogs, Lugubrious Drollery, I discussed a trick photographic technique which was popular around the the turn of the twentieth century: the photo multigraph. Two mirrors were placed at an angle of about 70 degrees, the subject was seated in front of the mirrors, and the photographer was behind the subject. The subject plus four reflections appeared in the photo. A popular theme was to make it look like the subject was playing cards with four clones of himself, as in the photo multigraph below, ca. 1909, of Leonard Marx. This is particularly appropriate given his propensity to gamble. The photo comes from The Marx Brothers Scrapbook.

If you would like more information about the history and technique of photo multigraphs, see the excellent article, "A Multigraph from Montreal," by Irwin Reichstein.


  1. Photo history is so exciting! I love that photo of Chico, I literally jumped with joy when I found it some months ago :)

  2. Great photo. Ghostly.
    I just read your post about Harpo's Mormon baptism. Wild stuff. This would make Harpo, in my estimation, the funniest Mormon in history - much funnier than Donnie Osmond.

  3. Lo, you're right. The history of photography is exciting. I asked for and received for Christmas books about Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Steichen, and Man Ray. They were great innovators.

    WZS, no question Harpo was hilarious. But let's face it, there isn't a lot of competition for the title of funniest Jewish-Mormon comedian. The only other contestant who comes to mind is Roseanne Barr. I'd pick Harpo hands-down.

  4. did you see the Groucho documentary that ran over the past couple days? Think it was public TV. Excellent

  5. In the documentary about Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, Grateful Dawg, there was an illustration of Groucho on the studio wall. It looked like an old song sheet cover but I'm not sure. any ideas on what it coulda been??

  6. Ken, I missed that documentary.

    KLS, I think I've seen the Garcia and Grisman film, but it's been a while. I don't specifically recall the Groucho picture.