Alexander J. "Zan" Stark (1889-1967) was a Michigan-born photographer who moved to San Francisco, California around 1914, where he established a photography and lantern slide business under the name Xan Stark, Alta Studios. In the early 1920s Stark produced at least three volumes of photographs of female nudes in an "Alta Art Studies" series. Most of the girls in the photographs were either silent screen actresses or want-to-be. We believe this photo card to be of Laura LaPlante who was in several silent screen movies.
Stark moved to Mill Valley in the mid-20s and operated a studio at 324 Miller Avenue. He produced thousands of photographic postcards under the name "Zan of Tamalpais" through early 1950s. Zan photographed extensively throughout Northern California, as well as in Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and elsewhere. He was the official photographer of the Redwood Empire Association beginning in 1936, and many of the postcards bear the Association's name. Much of his work appears to have been on a promotional basis, capturing roadside attractions, hotels, resorts & restaurants, and natural wonders such as Yosemite and the redwoods. Along with his son, Stark was also involved with local politics and journalism. Around 1953 Stark moved to Boyes Hot Springs where he remained until his death in 1967.
The photograph measures 3.25" across and 5.25" high. The back is plain but it is postcard size. It is made of heavy card-stock like a cabinet card. Although she is almost nude from the waist up with the exception of her lei's around her neck, she has hidden body parts with her crossed arms. She has a lei on her head as well as around her ankles. She has a sweet smile with a Laura LaPlante dimple. There is a white line near the upper side of her head which is actually a part of the photo. By her calf is the C in a circle with the word, "ALTA" below and S.F., (for San Francisco), below that. The corners have some rounding wear and there is a small crease on the lower right corner. This is a very rare photograph by Alta Studios by a highly collectable photographer. This will be packed with protection. Thank you for looking!
Rare 1920's Real Photograph Zan Xan Stark Alta Studios Silent Screen Actress
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