1950s Pony Pictures

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by jaybee, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. When I was growing up in Houston, there were photographers who would come through neighborhoods with Shetland ponies and a trunk full of cowboy costumes. They would take pictures of the kids in the neighborhood, and sell the prints to the parents. Most of the people I know from that period of time have at least one of these photographs. As I recall, the photographer used a large format camera. Does anyone know anything about these photographers? I've attached a copy of my "cowboy picture".
  2. Very cool photograph. Thank you for sharing it! I am curious. Are you going to restore it? It can easily be fixed in PS. :)

    Most of us that do it for fun can fix it in no time flat. This picture is a charm!
  3. Thanks, Micki, for the kind words. Yes, I am going to restore it. I'm 58 years old, and I can't tell you how many of my friends have similar pictures. We were wondering about the photographers who did this for a living, and were wondering if this was done outside of Texas.
  4. The early pony photographers used 5x7 cut film cameras which gave way to 4x5s and finally to 120, usually Rolleis. The kids were their best salesmen, as they would run home and beg mom to let them have their picture taken so they could put on the chaps, vest, hat, and 6-guns. The shooters earned the name "kidnappers." They were pretty much gone by the 50s, especially in the larger cities.
  5. Thanks for the information, Art. I assume these guys were self-employed rather than working for a company. Do you know if that is correct? Do you know anyhting else about them?
  6. The town character back home, Cecil Ashley in Fairmont NC, used to do this in the '50s, don't recall if he had a pony or not, think he did off and on. There are probably hundreds of thousands of these floating around out there in the USA
  7. I'm sure you're right about the number of pictures, Jack. I'm a native Houstonian, and have always lived within a few miles of where this picture was taken. Like I said, almost every one I know who grew up in the Houston area has one of these.
  8. dkm


    Definitely done outside of Texas. I have a similar photo taken in Indiana, complete with the cowboy hat. :)
  9. This is great! I too am 58 years old and I remeber having my picture taken on a pony in
    Chicago when I was a kid. It seemed to be the same story. This photographer would actually
    walk down the street with his pony and kids would beg there parents to take a picture. I
    don't have my picture anymore but this sure brings back memories.
    Thanks for sharing.
  10. Was it taken with a Pony camera?
  11. Deb and William: Thanks for your responses. Yours are the first confirmations I have that this wasn't just a Southern/Southwestern phenomenom.

    Art: After my first post to you, I realized that the oldest four kids in my family have these pictures, but the youngest two do not. The youngest were born in 1953 and 1955, which would support your statement that they dissappeared in the 1950s.

    Alex: Assuming that your question was not asked with your tongue in cheek, look at Art's answer.
  12. I think I have one buried around here someplace taken of my younger sister, pony and all. I'm not sure when it was taken but we moved from that house in '54. Fort Wayne IN
  13. There was a guy that used to come around the neighborhood where I grew up that did this. That was in Modesto, California in the '60s. Given that I remember having the picture taken it must have been the mid '60s.He came around every year in the spring but stopped when I was about 10. I'm not sure what became of the pictures.
  14. Hi Joel,
    Definitely done on the southwest side of Chicago, 65th and Spaulding to be exact. I'm
    looking at my picture now! It must have been taken in the early 1950s. Loved seeing your
  15. I have a photo of myself on a pony that looks almost identical to the one you are on. I was about four or five when the photo was taken here in Florida. I'm in my fifties now. When the photographer brought the photo to my mother she didn't have the money to pay him so he tore the photo up and left it on the ground. My mom pieced it back together and I just finished restoring it by using PhotoShop. If I could figure out how to post the photo here I would show you.
  16. I just noticed that I need to cut out the extra mane on this pony. I don't know why I didn't see it before. I'm going to post the original so you can see how I restored it.
  17. I have 2 pony pictures - one of me from 1954 (dated on the back by my mom and stamped from a photgrapher in Beaver Falls, PA - Valley Studio) It was taken in New Castle, PA. The other one is my husband taken probably around 1936 or 1937 maybe in the Kansas City, Mo area. I was only 2, but I remember getting it taken and how cool I felt in the cowboy hat and chaps - it was very exciting to see the pony in our city neighborhood! The two ponies look so much alike! How do you post a picture? I'd love to share them with all of you :)
  18. I have 2 pony pictures - one is of me at 2 years old, dated Aug. 1954. It is stamped from Valley Studio in Beaver Falls, PA. It was taken in New Castle, PA. The other one is my husband who probably lived in Kansas City, MO. and I would guess taken around 1936 or 1937. The ponies look so much alike! I can remember my picture being taken and how excited I was to sit on the pony with the hat and chaps on! It was something to see the pony and photographer walking down the city streets!
  19. here my pony photo, take here in fort worth Texas in May 1953.......
  20. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator


    I like your pony picture much better with that background. It looks much more homey and nostalgic.

    Up into the 1930s pony photographers would use a tintype camera. The tintype could be developed quickly in camera, given a quick rinse and handed to the proud parent right then and there.
  21. Here's my pony picture taken in Tucson, Arizona circa 1955. Notice the chalked "2" on the tack used for tracking.

Share This Page