the man on the table...
here are two recent finds (from different sources) a pair of RPPC photographs of lynne lewis white and his uke. while i was unable to find much information on him online, the two photos have extensive notes written in pencil on the back - (one also includes white's signature!).
from the backs, this is what i know:
these photos of lewis white are circa 1929, purchased originally at "the big show in vanadalia august 19-24, 1929". (i'm assuming white performed at the show).
white was born in kansas, and was 20 years old when one of these was purchased, and 21 years old when the other was purchased - meaning he was most likely 19 or 20 when the photos were taken.
based on the small #'s added onto the negative, these two images are from a series of at least 5.
white weighed 18 pounds and was 22 inches tall in both images, and he was known as the "midget troubadour" as well as "major white".
at the time of the photos he was living in bartlesville OK.
as much as i've stayed away from images that would fit comfortably withing the world of todd browning's freaks, something about the mood of these two photographs felt incredibly sublime. the atmosphere of white's poses with his instrument, standing on a table is so silently uncanny and yet even with the heavily professional look of the photograph, there is a matter of fact quality that gives it even more of an emotional punch. (not to mention thinking about the conversation between white and the photographer that led to white being photographed upon a table, rather than the floor).
i have no idea what white's music might have sounded like, nor the kinds of songs he regularly performed, but i sort of imagine him singing songs like nick lucas... a fellow troubadour... and you can hear a song of his here...