c 1920. Hardcover. An interesting photograph album of about 92 photographs compiled by an unknown British businessman who visits Hong Kong, Colombo & wider Ceylon. He visits Hong Kong as a bachelor and here there are several amusing snapshots of men in kimonos, some parading with parasols. Arriving in Ceylon, the businessman seems to have been involved with either rubber or coconut plantations. He appears to marry in Ceylon. There are also 13 vernacular shots of Colombo buildings and people, including a lovely Sri Lankan woman and a Chinese street seller. There is a charming image of a young coolie asleep on the bottom rung of his rickshaw and two images of elephants carrying tea chests and their handlers scooped up in their trunk. A group of 4 photos show a large white ship from various angles, includes one of the captain looking at native boats alongside by Karl Lewis, possibly related to the Great White Fleet. Then a group of personal family portraits and one the Forth Bridge in Scotland.
Tucked onto the last page of the album are two images of near-naked "ama" divers in Japan. The two images, by the collected photographer Karl Lewis, are silver tone photos of Japanese women "ama" divers. These are Japanese female free-divers who make a living from the ocean collecting seaweed, shellfish, sea urchins, pearls, and abalone to sell at the market. Wearing nothing but a loincloth, these fearless women free-dive up to 40 feet into the cold water. (amusingplanet.com).
Lewis was an interesting photographer of the last century. Born in Kentucky in 1865, he started as a dock worker and eventually took to the sea, living all over the world. He settled in Yokohama in 1901, had a common law wife and ran small photographic printing business, issuing brochures, postcards and covers that were sometimes hand colored. In 1905, his catalog advertised, "take any photograph, sketch or draw, produce 100 elegantly colored postcards for $1.75, including shipping." Over the years, he found sailors and the American Navy a popular subject, possibly because of sales. His postcards & photographs have become very collectible (greatwhitefleet.us)
Photograph sizes vary 3 ¾ x 4 ¾"; c x 2 ¾"; 6 x 4 ¼";3 ¼ x 4 ¼"; 4 x 5 ¾"; 6 3/8 x 4 ¾". Most images are vernacular, some have numbers/letters in the image, but no identified photographer (other than the Lewis images mentioned above.)
Thick oblong photograph album, 11 ¾ x 9 ½ x 2 ½". Green two-tone cloth covers with thick album board varying between brown, gray and dark green backing the photographs. Boards a bit speckled, corners rubbed and a bit marked but firmly bound.
An interesting vernacular album of Sri Lanka and the course of this man's life. Very good overall. Item #26707