Exhibitions/ Art Object

[Distortograph: William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson, Mayor of Chicago]

Artist:
Herbert George Ponting (British, Salisbury, Wiltshire 1870–1935 London)
Person in Photograph:
William Hale Thompson (American, 1869–1944)
Date:
1927
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
Image: 9.8 x 7.3 cm (3 7/8 x 2 7/8 in.) Sheet: 16.2 x 12.1 cm (6 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.) Frame: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.) (Framed with 2011.206, .208, .209)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Twentieth-Century Photography Fund, 2011
Accession Number:
2011.207
Not on view
Best known for his dramatic photographs of the South Pole, Ponting was also an inveterate tinkerer. In 1927 he patented a lens attachment he dubbed the “variable controllable distortograph,” describing it as “a revolutionary optical system for photographing in caricature or distortion.” With his patent application, he submitted these caricatures of the flamboyantly corrupt mayor of Chicago William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson, known for his protection of the gangster Al Capone and for colorful campaign stunts, such as staging a mayoral debate with two live rats as his opponents.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil, verso BL to BR: "Big Bill thompson, Mayor of Chicago"; and C: [illegible roman numeral]; stamped, verso TC: "CAMERA CARICATURE // BY // Herbert G. Ponting, F.R.P.S."; stamped, verso C: "HERBERT G. PONTING, // COPYRIGHT [crossed out]"; stamped, verso BC [with a border]: "PHOTO SUPPLIED BY // PAUL POPPER, // FURNIVAL HOUSE, 14–18 HIGH HOLBORN. // LONDON, W.C.1. // TO WHOM PAYMENTS ARE TO // BE MADE AND TWO VOUCHER COPIES SENT."
[Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York, NY]

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," October 10, 2012–January 27, 2013.

Mia Fineman, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," October 10, 2012–January 27, 2013.

Earl A. Powell III, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," February 17, 2013–May 5, 2013.

Earl A. Powell III, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," February 17, 2013–May 5, 2013.

Gary Tinterow, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," June 2, 2013–August 25, 2013.

Gary Tinterow, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," June 2, 2013–August 25, 2013.

FINEMAN, MIA. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 89, pp. 107, 231.



Related Objects

[Two photographs of the Variable Controllable Distortograph]

Artist: Herbert George Ponting (British, Salisbury, Wiltshire 1870–1935 London) Date: 1927 Medium: Gelatin silver prints Accession: 2011.210a, b On view in:Not on view

[Distortograph: William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson, Mayor of Chicago]

Artist: Herbert George Ponting (British, Salisbury, Wiltshire 1870–1935 London) Date: 1927 Medium: Gelatin silver print Accession: 2011.208 On view in:Not on view

[Distortograph: William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson, Mayor of Chicago]

Artist: Herbert George Ponting (British, Salisbury, Wiltshire 1870–1935 London) Date: 1927 Medium: Gelatin silver print Accession: 2011.206 On view in:Not on view

[Distortograph: William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson, Mayor of Chicago]

Artist: Herbert George Ponting (British, Salisbury, Wiltshire 1870–1935 London) Date: 1927 Medium: Gelatin silver print Accession: 2011.209 On view in:Not on view