Perfect Your Craft

I’ve learned so much while preparing this content. When we say perfect your craft, this is a very important part. Knowing the history of what you do helps create your Why? Why is it important for me as an African American woman to do what i do? Who paved the way for me? What are some of the hardships they faced trying to do their job?

J.P. Ball (1825-1904)

The daguerreotypist James Presley (J.P.) Ball was born in 1825 in Virginia, probably a freeman. As a young man he learned daguerreotyping and opened his first studio in Cincinnati, Ohio at age twenty.  He wrote and published a pamphlet depicting the horrors of slavery to accompany a large panorama in his gallery, and served as the official photographer for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Ball was a lifelong entrepreneur. After more than three decades in Cincinnati, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and ran a studio there; and in about 1887, went to Montana with son James Presley, Jr

It appears that he moved to Seattle, Washington in about 1900 and, now in his seventies and suffering from rheumatism, opened his last studio called Globe Photo. Records show he moved to Hawaii for his health within a few years, and died there in 1904 at the age of 79.

Some of his most famous portraits were of Frederick Douglas, Charles Dickens and Queen Elizabeth. James Presley Ball’s extensive body of photography is housed at the Cincinnati Historical Society, Cincinnati Art Museum, Montana Historical Society, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City as well as in private collections.