DAVIS, John (active Samoa, 1871-1893)
Photographic portrait of a Samoan woman with tapa cloth, circa 1875
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 105 x 65 mm (mount); partial blindstamp of ‘J. Davis Photo’ visible lower left; this is an early ‘photograph of a photograph’ – perhaps pirated but possibly also by Davis himself – hence the image is second state; in fine condition.
Whilst also acting as postmaster in Apia, John Davis was the first commercial photographer in Samoa, specialising in carte de visite portraits of native subjects from around the early 1870s up until 1893. This portrait shows a Samoan woman wearing traditional fibre skirt, seated on a hwat is probably a teachest which is draped in a section of tapa cloth with traditional designs.