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date: 11 December 2019

Johnston, Frances Benjamin locked

(b Grafton, WV, Jan 15, 1864; d New Orleans, LA, March 16, 1952).
  • Fiona Dejardin
  • , revised by Mary Warner Marien

Extract

(b Grafton, WV, Jan 15, 1864; d New Orleans, LA, March 16, 1952).

American photographer. She studied art at the Académie Julian in Paris (1883–5) and at the Art Students League, Washington, DC. In 1888, in order to write and illustrate articles for popular magazines, she learnt photography from Thomas William Smillie (1843–1917), Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Photography Division, Washington, DC. On opening a professional portrait studio in 1894, she became known for images of presidents, government officials and other notables. Her interest in public affairs and contemporary issues, such as the lives of coal-mine workers, led her to chronicle student life at Hampton Institute in Virginia and the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where African American students were educated in the trades. In 1904 Johnston joined the Photo-Secession. She was one of the first professional photojournalists in the United States, and she is often referred to as America’s first female photojournalist. Johnston also arranged a 1920 Paris exhibition of photographs by professional and amateur women photographers. She was a juror for the second Philadelphia Salon of Photography, received four consecutive Carnegie Foundation grants to document historic gardens and architecture of the South and was made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects in ...

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