Cigar Store Indian

This wooden figure stands outside Smalley’s Inn in Carmel, NY.

According to Wikipedia:

The cigar store Indian or wooden Indian is an advertisement figure, in the likeness of a Native American, used to represent tobacconists. The figures are often three-dimensional wooden sculptures several feet tall – up to life-sized. They are still occasionally used for their original advertising purpose, but are more often seen as decorations or advertising collectibles, with some pieces selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. People within the Native American community often view such likenesses as a caricature or as depictions that perpetuate stereotypes, drawing an analogy to the African-American lawn jockey.

Because of the general illiteracy of the populace, early store owners used descriptive emblems or figures to advertise their shops’ wares; for example, barber poles advertise barber shops, show globes advertised apothecaries and the three gold balls represent pawn shops. American Indians and tobacco had always been associated because American Indians introduced tobacco to Europeans, and the depiction of native people on smoke-shop signs was almost inevitable. As early as the 17th century, European tobacconists used figures of American Indians to advertise their shops.

Because European carvers had never seen a Native American, these early cigar-store “Indians” looked more like black slaves with feathered headdresses and other fanciful, exotic features. These carvings were called “Black Boys” or “Virginians” in the trade. Eventually, the European cigar-store figure began to take on a more “authentic” yet highly stylized native visage, and by the time the smoke-shop figure arrived in the Americas in the late 18th century, it had become thoroughly “Indian.”

Taken with a Pentax ZX-L, SMC Pentax-F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 and Tri-X 400.

A pair of heron statues

Our friend has a house, the rear of which overlooks a wetland area. On it’s edge stand these two heron statues. I first took this picture some time ago and in its first incarnation the statues were just a silhouette. I recently re-worked the picture to show more detail. I think it’s an improvement.

Taken with a Sony Nex 5N and Minolta 50mm MD f1.4

Film Camera 2019/5 – Olympus IS-3 – Results


Boat passing under the Broadway Bridge over the Harlem River, New York City.

You can find this camera for a very low price. I can understand why. It’s quite large, quite heavy and it’s impossible to put it in a pocket. It has a fixed lens, so no opportunity to changes lenses if you need to. The power zoom might be off-putting to some. The lens (f4.5 to f5.6) could be a little faster, but I don’t do much low light photography so I didn’t have a problem. All in all it’s a rather odd camera, the precursor to later generations of bridge cameras.


Iris in Law Park, Briarcliff Manor

However, I found that I rather enjoyed using it. Yes, it’s large but I found the ‘heft’ to be reassuring. I feels like it’s well built and I found it comfortable to hold. I did find the power zoom switch to be uncomfortable at first, but it didn’t take me long to get used to it. Yes, you’re limited to a fixed lens but I found the 35-180mm focal length to be useful and at least I didn’t have to cart around additional lenses. As my eyes worsen with age I found the autofocus to be helpful, as is the use of easy to find AA batteries. The lens is excellent. Any problems with sharpness in the pictures are probably because of me rather than the lens. I tended to forget that at its long end this is a 180 mm lens, and that consequently I should make sure that my shutter speed is at least 1/250 of a second. I suspect that this caused some lens shake problems, but surprisingly not too bad.


Bull statue outside a Ben and Jack’s Steakhouse in New York City.

I had one problem that was specific to my particular camera. There’s some kind of LCD bleed in the viewfinder that makes it hard (at times impossible) to see the aperture and shutter speed settings. I can always look at the rear panel for this information so it’s not much of a problem.


Two mallards in Downing Park, Newburgh.

So I’m happy to have this camera and I’m quite impressed with the results delivered. Since the one I have is “cosmetically challenged” and has the LCD bleed problem I’m considering getting another one – in better condition.


Fountain in Law Park, Briarcliff Manor.


Statue in our garden.

For more pictures taken with this camera see:

A Woodland Path
The Chrysler Building
Another view of the Polly Pond
Ducks and Ducklings again
The train now arriving…
Lifeguard on duty

Pictures taken with Fujicolor Superia X-TRA400