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December 1, 2022

Stunning Portraits of Mark Twain Taken by A.F. Bradley in 1907

“No photograph ever was good, yet, of anybody,” Mark Twain once wrote. “It transforms into desperadoes the meekest of men; depicts sinless innocence upon the pictured faces of ruffians; gives the wise man the stupid leer of a fool, and a fool an expression of more than earthly wisdom.”

One of a series of photographs taken by A.F. Bradley for the purpose, arranged by George Wharton James, of helping California poet laureate Ina Coolbrith after she lost her home in the fire following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In his New York City studio, Bradley placed Twain on a revolving platform to make the capture of different lighting “looks” easier on the subject. The portraits were signed by Twain and sold for Coolbrith’s benefit. Twain said four of the series were the finest images ever taken of him.








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