Striking Photographs by John Stryker. Fast Modern Action Pictures of the Rodeo
The modest little postcard folder I found here opens up a striking world...Stryker's world! A regional photographer who deserves to be rediscovered, John A. Stryker obtained his first camera in 1916 while occupied as a penmanship teacher and was soon attracted to more adventurous activity. Stryker began photographing the local cowboys and rodeos. I don't know what type of lens he used, but these images would almost qualify him to take pictures in a war zone with combat pay. Kodak thought so as well and used one of his pictures in an early advertising campaign. Stryker also used his voice to advantage at the rodeo. Blessed with a barreling baritone larger than those rodeo clowns hid in, it is said he could be heard 3/4 of a mile away without a microphone. So while taking pictures, he became a rodeo announcer and was soon hired by no less than the Ringling Brothers to announce acts!
After years traveling with the circus, Stryker retired to Fort Worth and spent the rest of his life taking pictures. In addition to many postcards, he sold images for restaurant place mats and through mail order. The images here are from "Stryker's Famous Rodeo Folder Number Three" and the postcard book became a catalog for selling enlargements at $1.00 each, but "if special, made to order glossy prints are wanted for reproduction, advertising and publicity" one is instructed to write for prices. He sold photos up to 40 x 60 inches in size and would "travel anywhere to make up-to-date pictures of rodeos, ranches, historical sites...and individual poses of fine cattle, horses or mounted people" and at one time, his inventory contained 1200 photos.
Stryker's work is held in the Lamb collection at the National Cowboy Museum and in thousands of postcard collections. I based much of the above on the history provided in Buffalo County Historical Society newsletter by Mardith Anderson.
"Famous Stryker's Collection of Modern Fast Action Pictures" postcard folder circa 1950 Collection Jim Linderman