In 1935, I opened a small ill-equipped photographic studio, during the pit of the Depression, on the Public Square above the then Deluxe

The DeLuxe Cafe, Publlic Square, Darlington, SC.

Café, where the smell of frying eggs and stale grease lent very little attraction to my few customers.  I had a large unwieldy early, really antique camera and stand, formerly owned by Mr. Angus Gainey, musician, merchant, teacher, and man of all work, who ran the “Old Barn” on North Dargan Street (Main?).  Few people know that Sears Roebuck and Company began in the middle of the last century as a photographic equipment house, and my camera was one of their early products.  It was built for use of wet plates but Mr. Gainey later adapted it for the use of glass and later, plastic plates.  I still have it.  The lens is a brass barrel of superb quality.

I took pictures of many people in the Darlington area, including our recent Chief Justice J. Woodrow Lewis and his bride, also Dr. G.B. Edwards, Mayor, but did very little outside commercial work except for school pictures.  I later moved the studio to the South side of the Public Square, where I also operated the small job printing business of Mr. A.R. McIver who started the business about 1890.  The Depression was getting worse instead of better and I closed the business in August of 1938.

As for my training, I was an apprentice under Mr. Gainey after school during my senior year at St. Johns and completed a correspondence course from the American School of Photography in Chicago, which really helped me a great deal.


John Ambler “Jack” Jamison

John Ambler “Jack” Jamison

John Ambler “Jack” Jamison


Staff & Graduates Photo. This photo shows “Jack” Jamison among the graduates of the American School of Photography in Chicago, Illinois. In a March 24, 1987 letter, Jamison stated that this correspondence course was of great help to him.

Jamison Photo Studio & Patron Reception Area This photo shows “Jack” at his desk with sample photos on a table behind him. It also shows the doors leading into his studio and the print shop.

Jamison Self Portrait. This photo shows “Jack” at his camera taking a self portrait.


Do you recognize any of the people, places or events depicted in these photographs?

If so, please leave comments on this post to help us in our task of identification.




One response

  1. How wonderful! Several familiar faces that I cannot put a name to. I do believe, however, that #85 is Bill McCown, the present Billy McCown’s father.

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