Portrait of Photographer George E. Tingley

Original content by: Dr. Paul Goodwin

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About This Artifact

George E. Tingley (born 1864) selected his life’s work when his father showed him a number of photographs taken by the local Mystic photographer, Everett A. Scholfield.  Scholfield agreed to take on young George as an apprentice as of January 1, 1884. He worked one year as an apprentice and then an additional year as an assistant. He then became partners with Scholfield in 1886. While Everett ran the satellite New London studio, Tingley was in charge of the Mystic studio. It was a difficult arrangement and the partnership ended in August 1894.

In 1897 Wilson’s Photographic Magazine singled out Tingley as a professional photographer who was branching out from portraiture into other subject areas, e.g. landscapes, people at work, local landmarks and buildings and vessels. His photo of “The Village Carpenter”, the magazine noted, “finds relaxation and profit in getting away from the daily round of portraiture into a higher reach of photography.” In 1899, his photo of sheep won first prize at the Convention of the Photographer’s Association of America. Indeed, Tingley’s photographs provide an unmatched historical record of Mystic. He was also among the first photographers to use a new rough carbon Velox paper produced by the Nepera Chemical Company of Nepera, New York.

In addition to his work as a photographer he was a member of the Mystic Cornet Band, the Mystic Hook and Ladder Company #1, and was elected as the town’s tax collector in 1935.

Questions for Further Thought

  1. How are photographs as valuable as memoirs for historical study?