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Faber Photo, San Francisco X
Runnels & Stateler, San Francisco The printed reverse has two sides of an exhibition medal, and between: 'Highest Award at Mechanics' Fair, 1886. / Runnels & Stateler, the leading / Photographic View Artists / No. 957 Market Street, / San Francisco, Cal.' / Negatives preserved. Copies of this view can be obtained at any time. / Parties wishing views made will receive prompt attention by sending order by mail.'
- J.W. Taylor, Chicago
- 146 La Salle St, Chicago
- 161 Monroe St, Chicago [later]
Taylor sold photos of buildings in a number of cities, which means that Ellerker may have bought the pictures without ever visiting the buildings. The numbers appearing on the image, as opposed to those of Faber and of Runnels & Stateler, which appear on a title strip, are probably those of Taylor, whether or not his name or initials appear. The image of Kinsley's Restaurant no 69, is not the same one as appears in Lowe, p 188, but it bears the same number '1486', suggesting that Lowe's image is also by Taylor, and that he replaced an existing view with a better one, maintaining its place in his sequence. Mounts with double red line and square knot at the corners are used in Taylor's Chicago photos as well as others, including views of Honolulu - therefore they were probably mounted on Ellerker's instructions either in Melbourne or in Chicago, but are not attributable to any one photographer.
The following information on Taylor is condensed, with permission, from CW Taylor & Jeffrey Plank, The Early Louis Sullivan Building Photographs (San Francisco 2001), Appendix A.According to David Brodherson, Taylor was born in Chicago in 1846 and also worked as a publisher and travel agent in the 1870s. He appears in Chicago city directories in the late 1870s as proprietor of an architectural supply and bookshop, later expanded to include photographic plates and supplies. In the 1885 and 1886 directories he appears as a photographer. His first attributed photographs were reproduced in the Inland Architect in 1883.In 1884 Taylor published a portfolio of residential interior photographs, Architectural Photographic Series, Chicago Dwelling-House Interiors, Twenty-Six Views in Portfolio, which was reviewed in the American Architect and Building News.
This review, the only early professional commentary on Taylor's photographs, recognises both his distinctive talent and the technical challenges associated with photographing interiors. After remarking on the social significance of the decoration of American homes, the reviewer noted that the 'photographs themselves are very excellent specimens of interior views - almost the most difficult achievement of the photographer's art; but it would do no harm for the photographer to change his lens, and hereafter use one which will sharply define the whole field of the picture, for in many of these views the distortion and uncertainty on the confines of the print are very annoying.'Taylor produced at last one additional monograph, but in 1885 he began to advertise single photographs and sets of photographs in the Inland Architect.
These advertisements trace the growth of Taylor's architectural photographic archive from 200 images to 1000 in 1886 to more than 2000 in 1999 and six thousand at the turn of the century. His first advertisements read: 'Photographs / of / residences, interiors, stores, details, etc. / Will send you 200 subjects if you promise to select two / dozen at $6.00 per dozen. / J. W. Taylor. / No. 146 La Salle Street, Chicago, Ill.'Taylor photographed Graceland Cemetery as it was being constructed. He also photographed early Frank Lloyd Wright houses, and he remained active until the mid 1910s. In the early 1920s, William T. Barnum acquired Taylor's negatives Taylor is not listed in Chicago city directories after 1923. According to the International Guide to 19th-Century Photographers and their Work, Taylor died in 1918.