A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Photographers are really figure skating's unsung heroes. They take hundreds of pictures just to get that perfect shot. They arrive at a rink long before a competition starts and leave long after the final skater finds out if they got a Season's Best score or not in the Kiss and Cry. What you may not know is that in a not so roundabout way, the world of skating photography may not have been what it is today without the pioneering efforts of family members of the man you'll be reading about in my next book... Jackson Haines.

One of Eugene S.M. Haines' photographs of the construction of the New York State Capitol building
One of Eugene S.M. Haines' photographs of the construction of the New York State Capitol building. Photo courtesy New York State Archives.

Jackson's older brother Eugene was in the photography business in Albany for over twenty years and during the Edwardian era was considered the New York's state photographer. He took official pictures of the New York State Capitol building in Albany from the very first stages of its construction in 1867 to its completion in 1899. Some of Eugene's photographs can be found in the New York State Archives.

Photographer John H.J. Haines
Jackson Haines' nephew John

Jackson's nephew John H.J. Haines was an inventor who spent over a decade making innovations in the field of vacuum tube lighting - which produced light without heat. It was a concept first experimented with by the likes of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. John held patents for numerous inventions, including electric arc lamps, several phonographs... and an ice-making machine. Two of Jackson's other nephews, John Gardiner and Victor Flammang, worked for many years in the photography supplies business.

Camera patent by photographer Matthias Flammang
Photo courtesy United States Patent and Trademark Office

Jackson's brother-in-law Mathias Flammang was also a pioneer in photographic experiments. He held a patent for a type of optical camera as well as an improvement in camera design - a device which held two dry plates in one holder.

Mathias Flammang's Reversable Back Camera with bellows, manufatured by the American Optical Co.
Mathias Flammang's Reversable Back Camera with bellows, manufatured by the American Optical Co.

Speaking of photography... you know the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words?" Well, writing is kind of my thing so I'd rather have the thousand words personally. I do know a lot of you absolutely love those visuals though and that's something you'll absolutely finding in this book. There will be some wonderful photographs, engravings and etchings of Jackson... including some things I can promise that you haven't seen before.

Etching of American figure skating pioneer Jackson Haines
Etching of Jackson Haines. Photo courtesy "Die Kunst Des Schlittschuhlaufens", Franz Calistus, 1890.

Keep an eye on the blog over the coming months... I'll be sharing some more little interesting side-stories like these which you won't find in the Jackson Haines book, as well as a little bit about the research process that is going into it.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating": https://skateguard1.blogspot.com/p/buy-book.html.