This street scene is by James Presley Ball (1825-1904), a successful African American photographer. Ball learned the daguerreian process in 1845, and then spent most of the next 25 years in Cincinnati, where his business was successful enough to allow him to travel to Europe in 1856. He was an abolitionist, and his large and elegant studios hosted both white and black clients.

This scene depicts a street in Ball’s home city, Cincinnati, featuring the building of a candy manufacturer, Myers and Co., Confectioners, along with some of the employers, and perhaps the owner himself (we do not know if Mr. Myers is one of the men standing outside). If you click on the image to the left, you can zoom in to see the extraordinary detail of this daguerreotype, including the writing on the hand-painted signs and a youthful, well-dressed black man, leaning on a post. Barely visible behind him is another black youth in a white shirt, pushing a wheelbarrow with crates of goods on it.

On the street is a wagon, where the crates are being loaded for delivery. They are marked “CANDY, Myers & Co., 50 lbs.”