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TWO MAIKO GOING OUT FOR A RIDE in OLD JAPAN | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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TWO MAIKO GOING OUT FOR A RIDE in OLD JAPAN

Another close, well-composed group by T. ENAMI. View number S-51 from his 3-D Catalog.

 

LARGER VIEW : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/4403211732/sizes/o/in/...

 

I just noticed that the posted scan is rather "soft". The original is much sharper. Will have to investigate, and replace the image later.

 

Notice the rag in the "Coolies" right hand. This was used for wiping the sweat from his brow.

 

Way back in March 2008 I uploaded a half-stereoview crop of the above image. It didn't generate any comments for over a year, but 10 people liked it enough to call it a "fave".

 

www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2361173611/

 

Perhaps I should stop posting 2-D versions of my stereoviews when the 3-D is available. I mean, why would I watch AVATAR in 2-D, when it's playing right in the same theater in 3-D...!

 

For those that can't see it in 3-D, there is always the ALL SIZES button for those who only want a straight 2-D "Flat Image". You can enlarge any of the stereoviews there...and ignore one of the two sides.

 

In any case, a recent exchange of comments with flickr member SteveChasmar inspired me to put up the full version that Enami took about 110 years ago. And...hey, if I'm posting one Enami view, why not post four ?

 

At the time Enami printed and mounted this one (about 1900 or so), he was not yet putting his imprint on the face of the mount. However, that feature would soon begin appearing within a year or so.

  

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THE RELATIVE, ORIGINAL COST of B/W vs. HAND-COLORED STEREOVIEWS

  

T. Enami sold many stereoviews that were hand-colored like the above. Over the years, I have seen as many mounted black and white 3-D views as I have hand-colored ones.

 

What was the cost difference between a colored and a plain black-and-white view ?

 

Think of it this way....

 

If Enami was selling the above, delicately hand-colored stereoview back in 1908 for [what would in today's prices be] US $ 75.00, he would sell you the same thing in an un-touched, black-and-white version for about $ 43.00.

 

75 Dollars ? 43 Dollars ? Each ? What the.....

 

That is exactly how Enami valued the laborious, hand-applied addition of color to his stereoviews back in the late-Meiji era, and you can apply that same ratio in your own mind using any currency you are familiar with, regardless of the original cost in Yen, or how it might have compared to a loaf of bread (or a bowl of rice).

 

Yeah yeah yeah....enough about relative comparisons in modern-day terms. Please tell us his prices at the times in Japanese YEN that Enami was charging for these hand-printed-and-mounted stereoviews back when he was making them over 100 years ago.

 

EXCUSE ME, MR.ENAMI, BUT....HOW MUCH IS THAT STEREOVIEW IN THE WINDOW ?

 

OK.

 

IF YOU WENT TO ENAMI'S STUDIO IN 1908 AND BOUGHT ONE STEREOVIEW....

 

• • • 20 Sen for one B/W view.........35 Sen for a hand-colored version.

 

[NOTE : There are 100 Sen in 1 Yen (just like there are 100 pennies in 1 dollar). Due to inflation, the value of a Sen has become so minuscule, so worthless, that the Japanese Government no longer issues it as legal tender. The One Yen coin is now the smallest piece of currency in public use].

 

IF YOU BOUGHT A WHOLE BATCH OF 100 ENAMI STEREOVIEWS TOGETHER, HE WOULD GIVE YOU AN OVER-ALL DISCOUNT, AND SELL YOU THE BULK LOT OF VIEWS FOR...

 

• • • 16 Yen for 100 B/W.........28 Yen for 100 hand-colored.

  

IS THIS CHEAP ? ---- FAR FROM IT !

  

At the same time Enami was charging 35 SEN for one hand-colored stereoview, the hard-working Miners over at the large ASHIO COPPER MINE operation in Japan were making between 40 and 70 SEN a day. Even in the best case scenario, a Miner would have to hand over a full days wages for just two of Enami's hand-colored stereoviews.

 

For your interest : In California, USA, a Mr. Houseworth was selling b/w stereoviews of Weed's 1867 series images taken in Japan. There were about 90 titles to chose from. The cost of one of these stereoviews was the 2010 equivalent of about SIXTY U.S. DOLLARS ($60.00) --- each !!!

 

That was in California, USA back in the late-1860s through the 1870s.

 

But what about Japan ? How do the OLD PRICES prices in Japan fare when we move things into the 21st Century, and adjust for a typical laborer's wages ?

 

EXAMPLE : 2006 Wage Charts for Japanese miners show a mid-range wage of about ¥ 12,000 per day....or (in 2011-2012 exchange rates) about US $150 (@ 80 Yen / One US Dollar) which, if we assign the same relative labor values across the century would also be about...SEVENTY-FIVE US DOLLARS ($75.00) for each hand-colored view --- two views for a days labor in the mines.

 

Or, with Enami's 20% discount, today that would be like paying US $6,000 for a set of 100 views.

 

SO, IT BOILS DOWN TO THIS :

 

Enami was charging the modern-day equivelant of US $75 for one hand-colored stereoview, and US $60 each if you bought a hundred of them.

 

In today's money US 6,000 Dollars for a set of 100, hand-tinted views.

 

And, as mentioned at the beginning, Black & White was a lot cheaper --- in today's 2011-2012 prices, US $43 a pop !

 

This is the kind of money that wealthy, world cruise tourists from England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and North America had to toss around while in Japan, in the days before things like national income tax diminished the spending power of the industrialists and aristocracy.

 

COLLECTOR - DEALER PRICES TODAY

 

What do Enami stereoviews sell for at old photo shows and on eBay now ? Usually far less than the modern-day equivalents of Enami's old prices.

 

Rather than being current commodities at fixed rates --- like View-Master viewers and stereoview reels at a toy store --- the old images are now either (1) "rare antiques" and hand-tinted treasures of "photographic art" to those who have an interest, or (2) "junk from my grandmother's attic" for those who don't have the slightest interest.

 

Both of these attitudes affect what the Dealer (seller) ends up paying for ANYTHING at Estate Auctions or High-End Antique Shops....before they filter down to the Collector (buyer).

 

In the end, the price today for an old Enami stereoview, lantern-slide, albumen print, or transparency is simply what a buyer and seller can agree on.

 

In the world of antique photography, the photographer's name, image content, and condition, and how many people want it all conspire to determine the varying prices at varying venues.

  

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Jinrikisha = 'Rickshaw.

 

Ca.1898-1900 hand-colored silver gelatin print. Single-piece, pre-transposed and then die-cut.

 

For more on the photographer T. ENAMI see : www.t-enami.org/

 

For the MOTHER LODE of T. Enami photographs here on the Web --- all CC rated for your creative use --- see this Flickr collection : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/collections/7215761388...

 

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RANDOM SOBA : www.flickriver.com/photos/24443965@N08/random/

  

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Taken on January 7, 2007