Two blacksmiths wearing work shirts with sleeves rolled up, hats, and aprons appear diligently focused on their task. Probably photographed in their own shop since the heavy anvil would not have been moved to a studio to serve as a prop, this portrait differs from the occupational portrait made in a studio, with the sitter seen merely holding the tools of his or her trade. But even these blacksmiths were posed rather than truly photographed while they worked. The anvil, tongs, and hammers were easily held in position, so they are defined with precise clarity, but the slight blurring of the subjects' heads indicates that they were unable to stand completely still for the entire exposure. Real spontaneity was difficult to achieve in early photography because exposure times were so long.


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