Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Brian H. Peterson

"Self Portrait", 2009

Brian H. Peterson:  Word + Image
"A Collector's Eye"
The Blossoming of World:  Essays and Images by Brian H. Peterson
"The Cities, the Towns, the Crowds"
"Connecting With the Light:  The Photography of Brian Peterson 
"Form Radiating Life"
"Masterpieces of Photography from the Merrill Lynch Collection (James A. Michener Art Museum)
Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery
"The Smile at the Heart of Things" 
Water Elemental Crafts & Fine Art


From "Trees, Stones, Water and Light" Series

From "Trees, Stones, Water and Light" Series

"Vatican", 1979

From "Forrest Light" Series

From "Forrest Light" Series

From "Interior Light"Series

From "Portraits, Helen"

From "Rock Forms" Series

From "Earth Forms" Series

From "Life Forms" Series

From "Sea of Light" Series

"I Sing the Body" Series:

"My camera has usually been pointed outward, at trees, water, rocks—blades of grass—fire—people I care about—and light. Always, light. In the fall of 2006 I began to feel the urge to look in the other direction, toward myself. At the time I thought it was because I was in my fifties, and aging was no longer a far-off possibility; it was something I’d begun to live with every day. I needed to turn my gaze inward, to explore my complex relationship with my body—what it looks like and how I feel about it. . . .

My own explorations of self took an unexpected turn when, in the spring of 2007, I learned that some of those signs of aging I’d been experiencing were something else: the early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Suddenly my body no longer seemed steady and dependable, and I had to come to terms with an uncertain and terrifying future, as well as be open to the strange gifts and revelations that come with this disease. It was natural to try to express some of those feelings in my pictures as well. Oddly enough, the images made before and after the diagnosis were not that different. This made me wonder about my decision to focus on my body at a time when the disease was just beginning to show itself, but I was not, on the surface at least, aware of it. Maybe I sensed that something was wrong. I guess I’ll never know."

Special thanks to Brian H. Peterson for allowing me to reproduce his photographs, here, on my blog.  Without his kind cooperation and generosity this blog entry would not have been possible.  No further use of these photographs is allowed without his permission.

Biography from Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery:

Brian H. Peterson has more than 35 years experience as a curator, critic, artist, and arts administrator in the Philadelphia area. As a practicing artist, Peterson has had more than 30 solo exhibitions of his photographs since 1980 at galleries and museums throughout the country. His work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Amon Carter Museum, the Library of Congress, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Denver Art Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Berman Museum of Art, the Dayton Art Institute, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Michener Art Museum, and the Free Library of Philadelphia. His exhibition at the Berman Museum of Art, Only Connect: A Conversation about Image and Word (January 21—March 9, 2014), draws on both his forty-year career as a photographer and excerpts from his two published memoirs.

Peterson was the Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator at the Michener Art Museum (1990-2013), where he both managed the exhibition program and curated numerous historic and contemporary exhibitions with a wide range of subject matter and genres. He was the editor and principal author of the major 2002 publication Pennsylvania Impressionism (copublished by the Michener and the University of Pennsylvania Press), and also organized the retrospective exhibitions The Cities, The Towns, The Crowds: The Paintings of Robert Spencer (2004) and Form Radiating Life: The Paintings of Charles Rosen (2006), both accompanied by monographs copublished by the Michener and Penn Press. His recent exhibitions include The Painterly Voice: Bucks County’s Fertile Ground (2011-12) and Making Magic: Beauty in Word and image (2012). His memoir The Smile at the Heart of Things: Essays and Life Stories (2010), was copublished by the Michener and Tell Me Press, New Haven, Connecticut, and reviewed in USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Trenton Times, and numerous other publications and blogs; his most recent book, The Blossoming of the World: Essays and Images, (2011), also was published by Tell Me Press.

Peterson was a member of the Museums Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts in 2003, and has served on the Visual Arts Advisory Panel of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He served as a board member of the Curators Committee of the American Alliance of Museums, and co-authored A Code of Ethics for Curators (2009) for that organization, and in 2002 founded and organized an ongoing national competition promoting excellence in exhibition writing. He received two Fellowships for Visual Arts Criticism from the PA Council on the Arts, and his critical writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, American Arts Quarterly, The Photo Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was the Founder and Project Director of the Photography Sesquicentennial Project, the Philadelphia-area’s major cooperative celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of photography funded principally by The Pew Charitable Trusts (1988-1990). He taught photography for more than twelve years, at the University of Delaware, the Tyler School of Art, and Swarthmore College, and received a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware (1985), and a Bachelor of Arts (in music composition) from the University of Pennsylvania (1981).

Friday, January 30, 2015

Frances Benjamin Johnston

Self Portrait, 1896

Biography and Photographs from The Cultural Landscape Foundation (Published in honor of Sam Watters' book, Gardens for a Beautiful America 1895 - 1935:  Photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson)
Clio Visualizing History Biography and Photographs
Frances Benjamin Johnson Facts and Photographs from Your Dictionary
Luminous-Lint Portfolio
The Photographic Legacy of Frances Benjamin Johnson by Maria Elizabeth Ausherman



Alice Roosevelt Wedding Portrait, 1906

Rose Putzel, 1910

Ethel Reed:  American Graphic Artist, 1896

Susan B. Anthony, ca. 1890

Helen Hay Whitney:  American Poet, Writer, Racehorse Owner, Socialite, and Philanthropist

Eadweard Muybridge:  Photographer, ca. 1890

Charles Follen McKim:  Architect, ca. 1890

Benjamin Harrison:  23rd President of the United States and Family

Theodore Roosevelt's Children at Roll Call Inspection at White House, Archie at Left and Quentin at Right, ca. 1901

The Last Photograph Ever Taken of President McKinley Before He Was Fatally Wounded, Buffalo, N.Y., September 6, 1901

Mammouth Cave, Kentucky, 1891

A Crack with the Blacksmith, ca. 1900

George Washington Carver and Coworkers, Tuskegee Institute, 1902

Laboratory Class, Tuskegee Institute, 1902

Mechanical Drawing Class, Hampton Institute, 1899

Girls Art Class, Eastern High School, Washington, D.C., 1899

Native American Children Going to School, 1899

Schoolgirls Doing Calisthenics, 1899

Two Girls from a Washington, D.C. School Visit to the Library of Congress, 1899

Isadora Duncan's Dance Students

 Biography from Wikipedia:

The only surviving child of wealthy and well connected parents, she was born in Grafton, West Virginia, raised in Washington, D.C., and studied at the Académie Julian in Paris and the Washington Students League following her graduation from Notre Dame of Maryland Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies in 1883 (now known as Notre Dame of Maryland University). An independent and strong-willed young woman, she wrote articles for periodicals before finding her creative outlet through photography after she was given her first camera by George Eastman, a close friend of the family, and inventor of the new, lighter, Eastman Kodak cameras. She received training in photography and dark-room techniques from Thomas Smillie, the first photographer at the United States Museum, today The Smithsonian.

 She took portraits of friends, family and local figures before working as a freelance photographer and touring Europe in the 1890s, using her connection to Smillie to visit prominent photographers and gather items for the museum's collections. She gained further practical experience in her craft by working for the newly formed Eastman Kodak company in Washington, D.C., forwarding film for development and advising customers when cameras needed repairs. In 1894 she opened her own photographic studio in Washington, D.C., on V Street between 13th and 14th Streets, and at the time was the only woman photographer in the city. She took portraits of many famous contemporaries including Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain and Booker T. Washington. Well connected among elite society, she was commissioned by magazines to do "celebrity" portraits, such as Alice Roosvelt's wedding portrait, and was dubbed the "Photographer to the American court." She photographed Admiral Dewey on the deck of the USS Olympia, the Roosevelt children playing with their pet pony at the White House and the gardens of Edith Wharton's famous villa near Paris.

Her mother, Frances Antoinette Johnston, had been a congressional journalist and dramatic critic for the Baltimore Sun and her daughter built on her familiarity with the Washington political scene by becoming official White House photographer for the Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, "TR" Roosevelt, and Taft presidential administrations.

Johnston also photographed the famous American heiress and literary salon socialite Natalie Barney in Paris but perhaps her most famous work is her self-portrait of the liberated "New Woman", petticoats showing and beer stein in hand (see above). Johnston was a constant advocate for the role of women in the burgeoning art of photography. The Ladies' Home Journal published Johnston's article "What a Woman Can Do With a Camera" in 1897 and she co-curated (with Zaida Ben-Yusuf) an exhibition of photographs by twenty-eight women photographers at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, which afterwards travelled to Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and Washington, DC. She traveled widely in her thirties, taking a wide range of documentary and artistic photographs of coal miners, iron workers, women in New England's mills and sailors being tattooed on board ship as well as her society commissions. While in England she photographed the stage actress Mary Anderson, who was a friend of her mother.

In 1899, she gained further notability when she was commissioned by Hollis Burke Frissell to photograph the buildings and students of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia in order to show its success. This series, documenting the ordinary life of the school, remains as some of her most telling work. It was displayed at the Exposé nègre of the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.

 She photographed events such as world's fairs and peace-treaty signings and took the last portrait of President William McKinley, at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 just before his assassination. With her partner, Mattie Edwards Hewitt, a successful freelance home and garden photographer in her own right, she opened a studio in New York in 1913 and moved in with her mother and aunt. She lectured at New York University on business for women and they produced a series of studies of New York architecture through the 1920s. In early 1920 her mother passed away in New York.

In the 1920s she became increasingly interested in photographing architecture, motivated by a desire to document buildings and gardens which were falling into disrepair or about to be redeveloped and lost. Her photographs remain an important resource for modern architects, historians and conservationists. She exhibited a series of 247 photographs of Fredericksburg, Virginia, from the decaying mansions of the rich to the shacks of the poor, in 1928. The exhibition was entitled Pictorial Survey--Old Fredericksburg, Virginia--Old Falmouth and Nearby Places and described as "A Series of Photographic Studies of the Architecture of the Region Dating by Tradition from Colonial Times to Circa 1830" as "An Historical Record and to Preserve Something of the Atmosphere of An Old Virginia Town."

Publicity from the display prompted the University of Virginia to hire her to document its buildings and the state of North Carolina to record its architectural history. Louisiana hired Johnston to document its huge inventory of rapidly deteriorating plantations and she was given a grant in 1933 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York to document Virginia's early architecture. This led to a series of grants and photographs of eight other southern states, all of which were given to the Library of Congress for public use. Johnston was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for her work in preserving old and endangered buildings and her collections have been purchased by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Although her relentless traveling was curtailed by petrol rationing in the Second World War the tireless Johnston continued to photograph. Johnston acquired a home in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1940, retiring there in 1945, where she died in 1952 at the age of eighty-eight.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Eliot Elisofon

Eliot Elisofon

Books by Eliot Elisofon on Amzaon
Life Photographers
Smithsonian Spotlight:  Memories of a Father
"To Help the World See" Retrospective,
     Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the
     Leeds Gallery, University of Texas at Austin

To me, photography has been a challenge; to produce images that are meaningful but not dogmatic, to be artistic but not arty. It has served me as a vehicle to pay tribute to other arts: to photograph the sculpture of Africa and the temples of Egypt and India. It has also permitted me to experiment with color, a method developed principally in my own time, and to participate in its liberation from crass quasi-reality. Finally, photography has enriched my life. It has enabled me to travel … to almost every corner of the globe, using my camera as a magic carpet to see and study the meaning and beauty of civilizations and environments besides my own.
Eliot Elisofon
Popular Photography, 1962

Leslie County, Kentucky, 1949

Leslie County, Kentucky, 1949

"Leslie County, Kentucky, 1949

"Street Car Named Desire", 1947

"Waiting to Perform", 1950

Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, 1951

"Marcel Duchamp Descends Staircase", 1952

Empire State Building, 1953

"Young Girl in Swimming Pool, Mexico", 1945

"Signs in Kyoto, Japan", 1961

"Douglas A-20 Bombers, Tunisia", 1943

"Airplane Wreckage, Tunisian Desert", 1943

Biography:  Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center,
University of Texas at Austin

Photographer, artist, art collector, author, and filmmaker Eliot Elisofon was born Meyer Eliot Elicofon, the son of immigrants Sarah and Samuel Elicofon, in New York City on April 17, 1911. As a teenager, he became interested in both photography and painting. Elisofon graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1929, and at that time he dropped his first name and changed the spelling of his surname. For the next few years he worked at the New York State Workmen's Compensation Bureau while attending Fordham University at night, ultimately receiving a B.S. in 1933. Meanwhile, he continued to pursue his interest in photography, and in 1935 Elisofon, Marty Bauman, and Al Weiner opened a commercial photography studio, August and Company. As a commercial photographer, Elisofon expanded from product advertising photoraphs to fashion photography assignments for magazines such as Mademoiselle and Vogue. He was a member of the Photo League, serving as its president for a time, and he developed a strong interest in photography as social documentary. Elisofon's photographs documenting New York street scenes were exhibited in 1937 at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art in Philadelphia and at the Julian Levy Gallery in New York. In 1938, his work was exhibited at the East River Gallery and at the New School for Social Research, where he worked as an instructor. After showing his portfolio to LIFE magazine in 1937, Elisofon began receiving assignments from that magazine and others and decided to devote his career to photojournalism. He left the studio in 1938 to work as a freelance magazine photographer, producing mainly travel and glamour photographs which were published in such magazines as Fortune and Scribner's, as well as Mademoiselle, Vogue, and Glamour. For LIFE, he also produced photographic essays on a variety of subjects, ranging from military exercises to refugees to coal miners, from actresses and plays to social clubs. Elisofon also worked as a staff photographer for the Museum of Modern Art in 1939 and became skilled at photographing works of art.

Elisofon joined the LIFE staff in 1942 as a war photographer-correspondent, and during the remainder of World War II he traveled to the North African front, to Sweden and Finland, and to Hawaii and Wake Island. In the post-war years, he began working on geographical photo essays in the United States and around the world. He eventually developed a special interest in Africa and became a collector of African art and an expert in that area. As a member of the Peabody Museum of Salem's 1956 expedition to the South Pacific, led by William A. Robinson, Elisofon photographed the voyage and collected artifacts from the South Sea Islands as the expedition traced the Polynesian migration route. He was appointed a Research Fellow in Primitive Art at Harvard University in 1958, and he was a member of the Harvard Peabody Museum's 1961 expedition to film tribal life in New Guinea. Elisofon remained a staff photographer for LIFE from 1942 to 1964 and then, although he also pursued freelance and commercial work, he continued to work for LIFE on a contract basis until the magazine suspended publication at the end of 1972. During those three decades, Elisofon traveled more than a million miles on six continents, covering assignments on places, art, architecture, celebrities, food, and social subjects. He continued to do freelance work for Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Horizon, and other magazines until his death in 1973.

Elisofon was known for his experiments with color control, and he worked as a color consultant on the films Moulin Rouge, Bell, Book and Candle, and The Greatest Story Ever Told, among others. In 1965, he directed the prologue of the film Khartoum and a portion of Man Builds for National Educational Television. Elisofon was director of creative production for the ABC documentary Africa in 1967, and in 1972 he wrote, produced, and directed a four-hour television series for Group W (Westinghouse Broadcasting Company) titled Black African Heritage.

Besides collecting tribal art and sculpture, other interests Elisofon pursued were cooking and painting, and he was able to take advantage of his worldwide travel as a photographer to develop all of these simultaneously. His photographs, watercolor paintings, and objects from his personal collection of tribal art have been exhibited throughout the United States and other countries.

Elisofon frequently lectured on a variety of subjects at museums, colleges, and clubs around the country; topics included photography, African art, and his travels. He also wrote numerous articles and essays as well as several books, including the cookbook Food Is a Four-Letter Word (1948); The Sculpture of Africa (1958); Color Photography (1961); The Nile (1964); Java Diary (1969); and Erotic Spirituality (1971). He wrote and illustrated three of a series of Crowell-Collier's children's books showing a week in the lives of children in other countries. Elisofon contributed photographs to Joseph Campbell's edition of Heinrich Zimmer's The Art of Indian Asia (1955) and Arthur Knight's The Hollywood Style (1969), among others, and he also provided illustrations for publications by Time-Life Books, including a "Foods of the World" cookbook series.

Elisofon was married twice, first to Mavis Lyons (married July 1, 1941, divorced 1946) and later to Joan Spear (married July 15, 1950, divorced 1965), with whom he had two daughters, Elin (b. 1952) and Jill (b. 1953). Throughout his life, Elisofon maintained a primary residence in New York City and a secondary one on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine. Elisofon died in New York City on April 7, 1973, as a result of a massive cerebral hemorrhage.

Elisofon was a founding trustee of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art in 1964 and at the time of his death was a curatorial associate. He bequeathed to that museum not only his collection of African art, but also his photographs, transparencies, and film footage of Africa and its art. Before his death Elisofon had also donated pieces of his African and Pacific art collection to that museum, the Museum of Primitive Art in New York, the Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts, and to many other institutions.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Samuel H. Gottscho

"Luna Park"

"Newark Station"

"Washington Square"

"Locomotive and Perisphere" 

"30 Rockefeller Plaza"

"Southeast from the RCA Building"

"Opening of the Empire State Building"

"Times Square at Night"

"Times Square at Night"

"Rockefeller Plaza at Night"

"RCA Building at Night"

Clamp Art Portfolio
Lee Gallery Portfolio
Museum of the City of New York Collection
"Mystic City:  Photographs of New York by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1925-1940"
Print Collection Portfolio
YouTube Video

Biography (from Wikipedia):

Samuel Gottscho was born in Brooklyn, New York.  He acquired his first camera in 1896 and took his first photograph at Coney Island.  From 1896 to 1920 he photographed part-time, specializing in houses and gardens, as he particularly enjoyed nature, rural life, and landscapes.

After attending several architectural photograph exhibitions, Gottscho decided to perfect and improve his own work and sought out several architects and landscape architects.  After twenty-three years as a traveling lace and fabric salesman, Gottscho became a professional commercial photographer at the age of 50.  His son-in-law William Schleisner joined Gottscho in his business in 1935.  During this time his photographs appeared in and on the covers of American Architect and Architecture, Architectural Record.  His portraits and architectural photography regularly appeared in articles in the New York Times. His photographs of private homes in the New York and Connecticut suburbs often appeared in home decoration magazines. From the early 1940s to the late 1960s, he was a regular contributor to the Times of illustrated articles on wildflowers.

Gottscho believed he created some of his best work at the age of 70. In 1967, his botanical work won him the New York Botanical Garden's Distinguished Service Medal.  He died in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

Approximately 29,000 of his images are held in the Gottscho-Schleisner collection at the U. S. Library of Congress.  Additionally, over 40,000 are held by the Museum of the City of New York, where an exhibition of his work titled "The Mythic City: Photographs of New York by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1925-1940," opened in November 2005.  A third major archive of his work is held by Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.