New Year’s Cruise on the Caloosahatchee

In late December 1947, Joe Steinmetz, along with family and friends, embarked from Fort Myers on a New Year’s cruise aboard the shantyboat Lazy Bones. The group motored up the Caloosahatchee River and into Lake Okeechobee, bound for Clewiston.

Lazy Bones docked near La Belle

Lazy Bones docked near La Belle

Lois Steinmetz (later Duncan) entertaining passengers

Lois Steinmetz (later Duncan) entertaining passengers

Joe, a world-renowned professional photographer, captured candid scenes from the splendid excursion. In the spirit of the intrepid travelers aboard Lazy Bones, get outside, take in the outdoors, and enjoy all the benefits of New Year’s in Florida.

Sunbathers on deck reading about winter storms “Up North”

Sunbathers on deck reading about winter storms “Up North”

Joe performing magic tricks

Joe performing magic tricks

The culmination of a successful trip

The culmination of a successful trip

The Joseph Janney Steinmetz Collection is just one of the remarkable photographic collections held by the State Archives of Florida.

Sarasota as seen by Joseph Janney Steinmetz

Enjoy some of our favorite photographs of Sarasota from the Joseph Janney Steinmetz Collection.

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (1955)

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (1955)

Candy Tilton Ulrich at Sarasota Jungle Gardens (November 13, 1948)

Candy Tilton Ulrich at Sarasota Jungle Gardens (November 13, 1948)

Sarasota Beach (1970s)

Sarasota Beach (1970s)

Ca’d’Zan, the Ringling Mansion (ca. 1945)

Ca’d’Zan, the Ringling Mansion (ca. 1945)

Asolo Theater (1961)

Asolo Theater (1961)

At the beach (ca. 1945)

At the beach (ca. 1945)

Flying Wallendas founder Karl Wallenda (ca. 1960s)

Flying Wallendas founder Karl Wallenda (ca. 1960s)

Lois Duncan on the Steinmetz Collection, Part 2

Award-winning author Lois Duncan is the daughter of photographer Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She is the author of 50 books, ranging from children’s picture books to adult novels, but she is best known for her young adult suspense novels. Seven of Duncan’s books have been adapted into films. Recently, Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, optioned Duncan’s Down a Dark Hall.

In this series of blog posts, Duncan gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of some of her father’s most famous photographs.

Lois Duncan Steinmetz in a field of daisies in Taos, New Mexico.

Lois Duncan Steinmetz in a field of daisies in Taos, New Mexico.

Florida Memory: Joseph Janney Steinmetz was a world-renowned commercial photographer whose images appeared in such publications as The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Time, Holiday, Collier’s, and Town and Country.

His work has been referred to as “an American social history” that documented scenes of American life as diverse as affluent northeasterners to middle-class Floridians. He often used friends and family as subjects in his photographs. Tell us about this one.

Duncan: There I am, standing in a field of daisies in Taos, New Mexico, getting eaten alive by chiggers while my father kept waiting for “the light to be just right.”

The slant of light was one of the most important things I learned from him about photography. Whenever we took a photo trip on a magazine assignment, he would have the script of the photos he was to take, and before he ever started work, he and Mother would visit each location, determine the angle from which the shot should be taken, and the direction the light should be when the picture was taken.

Then they’d register the time of day when they should try for that shot. (Unfortunately for me, this daisy field shot was not planned beforehand–Joe just stumbled on a “pretty field of daisies” and I happened to be in the car–so the lighting was overhead and he had to wait for a cloud to come over so he could shoot without shadows.)

Lois Duncan on the Steinmetz Collection

Award-winning author Lois Duncan is the daughter of photographer Joseph Janney Steinmetz. She is the author of 50 books, ranging from children’s picture books to adult novels, but she is best known for her young adult suspense novels. Seven of Duncan’s books have been adapted into films. Recently, Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, optioned Duncan’s Down a Dark Hall.

In this series of blog posts, Duncan gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of some of her father’s most famous photographs.

Florida Memory: Joseph Janney Steinmetz was a world-renowned commercial photographer whose images appeared in such publications as The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Time, Holiday, Collier’s, and Town and Country.

Steinmetz lived in Sarasota, Florida. He fell in love with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus which wintered there and photographed performers for 20 years. This photograph of clown Emmett Kelly in a bubble bath is one of the most famous of his circus images. How did it come to be?

Ringling Circus clown Emmett Kelly in a bubble bath.

Ringling Circus clown Emmett Kelly in a bubble bath

Duncan: Joe was good friends with many of the Ringling Brothers Circus performers. He took this photo of Emmett Kelly in the bathtub as a favor to Kelly, who wanted the image for his Christmas card.

Joe’s wife, Lois Foley Steinmetz, was crouched down out of sight behind the chair that held Kelly’s clothing, with an egg beater in her hand. After every shot Joe took, Lois would leap out of hiding, use the egg beater to increase the foam in the tub, and conceal herself once again.

The Joseph Janney Steinmetz Collection

Few photographers captured the allure and promise of Florida like Joseph Janney Steinmetz. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1905, Steinmetz came to Florida in 1941. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy developing techniques for aerial reconnaissance photography.

Steinmetz at his studio: Sarasota (May 5, 1948)

Steinmetz at his studio: Sarasota (May 5, 1948)

After moving to Florida, Steinmetz found regular work with the Florida Development Commission, a promotional agency of the Florida state government. He also operated an independent photography studio in Sarasota.

Seminole family selling patchwork clothing near the Brighton Reservation (January 27, 1948)

Seminole family selling patchwork clothing near the Brighton Reservation (January 27, 1948)

Over the course of his career, Steinmetz’s images appeared in numerous publications, including The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Time, Holiday, Collier’s, and Town and Country. Although his favorite subject was the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Steinmetz captured a variety of subjects ranging from weddings to Tupperware parties to the Florida Seminoles.

Ringling Brothers Circus clown Emmett Kelly enjoying a bath

Ringling Brothers Circus clown Emmett Kelly enjoying a bath

Visit Florida Memory to learn more about Joseph Janney Steinmetz and to view photographs from his wonderful collection.