During the late 1890’s and early 1900’s many Itawamba County, Mississippi families were photographed by traveling photographers. The county, like many other rural Mississippi counties, had no photography studio, therefore area studios in towns such as Tupelo traveled throughout the countryside setting up makeshift studios in the various communities. Old county newspapers from the era announced such ventures such as Huffman Photography Studio (James D. and Walter Huffman) in nearby Tupelo making trips to Itawamba County usually setting up shop in the Fulton Hotel. Such studios would publish their schedule with stops throughout the county in various communities such as Tremont, Tilden and Mantachie, usually setting up at or near a country store. Hanging quilts or canvas stretched between trees would usually serve as the backdrop. Many times the photographer’s wagon would stop at houses along the road and photograph portraits on the various farms.
The interesting photograph above, shared by Itawamba County researcher Mona Mills, is a most unusual traveling studio photograph in that the photographer herself is posing in the portrait with the subjects. This portrait was found in an old trunk belonging to Thusie Evans Robinson of the Tremont area. According to Mills, on the back of the photograph is, in what appears to be Lawson Robinson’s (Thusie’s son) strong handwriting, the notation “The Lady who made our pictures.” Pictured with the female photographer are two young girls. The girl on the right may be the daughter of Fletcher Lowrey Evans. Notice in the close-up view, the photographer is holding the rubber shutter bulb of the camera with the tubing to the camera hidden by the potted flower arrangements. This is a most unusual photograph being that the photographer is pictured in the portrait along with her subjects.