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Photography and the Theatrical Profession in America
1883, 12 October
12 October 1883, The British Journal of Photography, no. 1223, vol. XXX, p. 614
Photography and the Theatrical Profession in America - The New York Morning Journal gives some curious details of what may be called “the theatrical department of the photographic business." Foreign theatrical celebrities, we learn, will not sit for their photographs now in New York unless they are paid for it. Sarah Bernhardt was the first among them to make payment a sine quâ non. She was besieged at her hotel by representatives of the various photographic firms, but she positively refused to be taken unless she were paid fifteen hundred dollars for the day the operation would cost her. Sarony, the leading New York photographer, gave the price demanded, and made a large profit by the transaction. He was so much encouraged by this success that he offered Madame Patti a thousand dollars for a sitting when she arrived in New York, and the prima donna accepted it. The result was not, however, so satisfactory as in the other case. There was a clause in the agreement that the sitter should have the privilege of rejecting any of the negatives that did not please her, and she broke hem all but one. Mrs. Langtry received nothing from the photographers, and was always willing to sit when requested. Pictures of her were, in fact, already so numerous that any considerable addition to the numbers would have made a glut in the market. Sarony has already offered Mr. Irving a thousand dollars for his picture; and it is said that the offer has been accepted. A Broadway retailer told the writer of the notice that Madame Nilsson's portrait was the one most in demand at present. “Oscar Wilde,” he added, “sold first-class when first he came over; but there is nothing doing in him now. Irving will sell big; and I guess Ellen Terry will be a big go. We're badly in want of something new."