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I Specs Ise Born Tired
Date: ca. 1890
Artist and Related People:
Dimensions: Image: 7 3/8 x 4 3/8 in. (18.7 x 11.1 cm) Paper: 7 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (19.4 x 11.7 cm) Mount: 8 3/8 x 5 3/16 in. (21.3 x 13.2 cm)
Medium: Albumen silver print cabinet card
Credit Line: Gift of Daniel Cowin, 1990
Description: This image, most likely staged by the photographer, shows a shabbily dressed boy in a forest leaning against a tree, his jaw slack and eyes half-closed in an exaggerated expression of sleepiness and stupidity. The title scratched into the negative, "I Specs Ise Born Tired," orders the different visual elements in the photograph, consolidating its meaning and revealing how the studio-based in Jacksonville, Florida-intended it to be perceived by its audience. Blacks were viewed as indolent, incapable of sustained concentration and disinclined to work unless closely supervised, and this stereotype was a recurring theme in commercial imagery. Many studios produced images depicting blacks as constitutionally lazy, including one stereoview of a boy asleep in a cotton field pointedly titled "Southern Labor."
Accession Number: 401.1990