In 1907, photographer A.F. Bradley took a series of portraits of American author and humorist Mark Twain, also known as Samuel Clemens. These photographs are some of the most iconic images of Twain and have been widely reproduced in books, magazines, and other media.
The portraits were taken at Twain’s home in Stormfield, Connecticut, which he had built after the death of his wife, Olivia, in 1904. Twain was in his early 70s at the time and had already achieved great fame as a writer and lecturer.
Bradley’s portraits capture Twain in a variety of poses and moods. In some, he is looking directly at the camera with a stern expression, while in others, he is more relaxed and contemplative. One portrait shows Twain with a cigar in his mouth, a trademark of his public persona.
What makes these portraits so distinctive is the way they showcase Twain’s larger-than-life personality. Bradley was able to capture Twain’s wit, intelligence, and charisma in a single image, creating a lasting visual record of one of America’s greatest literary figures.
The portraits were not widely seen during Twain’s lifetime, as they were taken for private use and not intended for publication. It was only after Twain’s death in 1910 that they were made available to the public. Since then, they have become an important part of Twain’s legacy and a testament to the power of photography to capture the essence of a person’s character.