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Article

Margaret Harker

(b Norwood, MA, July 8, 1864; d Norwood, Nov 2, 1933).

American photographer. He was an eccentric who sought to express his ideas on life and art through Pictorial photography, which he took up in 1887, frequently by interpretations of two opposites—the sacred and the profane. He regarded Classical Greece as the ideal and he pursued an intensive study of the human form, attempting to represent physical perfection in his photographs. These were in medium or large format, with mainly platinum prints.

Day was a cultivated and sensitive man of independent means. As well as studying painting, he was an admirer of Keats, owning a fine collection of the poet’s manuscripts, letters and early editions. He published books as a hobby (1893–9), co-founding the Boston publishing house of Copeland and Day and importing the then scandalous works of Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde.

He became obsessed with photography, and in January 1896 he was elected a member of the ...

Article

Kelly Dennis

[Joseph] (Maurice)

(b Topeka, KS, Aug 12, 1947; d Providence, RI, June 18, 2010).

American photographer. Deal earned a BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1970, and subsequently, at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, he earned an MA in photography in 1974 and an MFA in 1978, completing his thesis while teaching at the University of California Riverside. At Riverside in 1977, Deal started the photography programme and helped found the California Museum of Photography. Deal was part of a generation of photographers who depicted the ‘man-altered’ landscape in their work. He later served as Dean of the School of Art at Washington University in St Louis, MO, and as Provost of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.

As a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, Deal was sent to work at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, where he assisted in coordinating exhibitions. He was a key advisor to Eastman House curator and friend William Jenkins in the conception of the influential ...

Article

James Smalls

(b New York, NY, Dec 9, 1919; d New York, NY, Oct 27, 2009).

American photographer and teacher. A central figure in post-war American photography, DeCarava strongly believed ‘in the power of art to illuminate and transform our lives’. Using Harlem as his subject, DeCarava created groundbreaking pictures of everyday life in that enclave of New York. He is also known for scenes of civil rights protests of the early 1960s, images of jazz musicians, and lyrical studies of nature.

DeCarava studied painting and printmaking at the Cooper Union School of Art, the Harlem Community Art Center, and the George Washington Art School. He took up photography in the late 1940s and quickly mastered its vocabulary. In 1952, DeCarava won a Guggenheim Fellowship—the first awarded to an African American photographer. The scholarship allowed him to spend a year photographing daily life in Harlem. These pictures brought a new moderation and intimacy to the photographing of African Americans and their social environment. Perhaps his most memorable photographs were those that appeared in the book ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

[Mary Joan]

(b Hanover, NH, March 31, 1929; d Oakland, CA, Nov 11, 1989).

American sculptor, painter and photographer. Although born in New England, DeFeo moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with her family in 1931. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950 and 1951, respectively. Honored with a university traveling fellowship, DeFeo spent a year and a half in Europe before returning to California. She married artist Wally Hedrick (1928–2003) in 1954 and the couple resided in San Francisco alongside fellow Beat-era, avant-garde talents Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner, Allen Ginsberg, and Michael McClure.

Despite the myriad of drawings, paintings, and photographs that made up her oeuvre, much of DeFeo’s career and reputation were subsumed by The Rose (1958–66; originally titled Deathrose, and briefly The White Rose; New York, Whitney), a monumental abstract painting whose legendary creation spanned the better part of a decade. For eight years, DeFeo painted, contoured, stripped, layered, worked and reworked the surface of her canvas, which eventually grew to 3.27×2.34 m. Fan-like folds of paint radiated from the center of ...

Article

Lauren O’Neill-Butler

(b Boston, MA, 1966).

American photographer and installation artist. Deschenes studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, where she was awarded a BFA in photography in 1988. Beginning in the 1990s, she exhibited widely across various continents. With a focus on materiality and site-specificity, her work examines light, perception, architecture, and photography. Yet often she worked without a camera, adopting a post-conceptual and post-minimal stance that walks a fine line between abstraction and representation. Instead of making straightforward photographs that depict a given past event or a vision of the world, Deschenes posed real-time questions about the philosophical potentials of the medium, stripping its apparatus bare while pushing at its traditional definitions and emphasizing the constantly changing nature of photography. For her Green Screen series (2001), Deschenes took a green screen—typically used as a special effects tool in film-making and television—as her subject, photographing and scanning these large-scale monochrome backdrops. In her ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Nairobi, 1958).

Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in 1992 and in 2012 became of Head of Photography at the University of California, Berkeley.

The primary themes in deSouza’s work are those of colonial encounter, seen in Indigena/Assimilado (1998), a photographic series of migrant workers in Los Angeles; migration, as explored in Threshold (1996–8), his early photographic series of airports empty of people; exile, which he explored in ...

Article

Gregory Harris

(b Hartford, CT, 1951).

American photographer. DiCorcia was part of a generation of photographers that emerged in the 1980s that sought to challenge the perceived objectivity of photography by creating skilfully lit and often elaborately staged images. Born into a second-generation Italian Catholic family, diCorcia studied photography at the University of Hartford and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, in the mid-1970s and eventually earned an MFA from Yale University in 1979. DiCorcia’s early work is often associated with the ‘Boston School’, a group of photographers who attended the SMFA and became known for the diaristic and autobiographical nature of their work. Throughout his career, diCorcia balanced his work between photographs that address personal and domestic subject-matter and photographs made in the visual tradition of ‘street photography’ that deal with public life as it plays out on streets across the world. From the early 1980s diCorcia maintained an active career as an editorial and commercial photographer alongside his fine art practice....

Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Santa Monica, CA, 1949).

American photographer. He studied at the California State University (BA 1971) and then continued his studies at the University of California (MFA 1974). His series of black and white photographs, Vandalism (1974) were taken in abandoned houses in which Divola spray painted his own grafitti then photographed it. Vandalism lead to the series Zuma (1977–8), in which he photographed a derelict house on Zuma Beach on the Pacific Coast, which was continally altered by acts of vandalism, and by being set on fire for exercises by the local fire brigade. These colour photographs, taken at dawn and dusk, contrast the beautiful landscape outside with the eroding interior, as in Zuma #20 (1978; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 10). In the 1980s, Divola began to make photographic diptychs, with the links between the two chosen images not always clearly understandable, as in Untitled (...

Article

Mary Panzer

(b Cambridge, MA, April 26, 1937).

American photographer and writer. After attending university in the Boston area, she worked in New York at Grove Press, arranging readings for poets such as Robert Creeley and Allen Ginsberg. Dorfman eventually settled in Cambridge, MA, a centre of intellectual alternative culture, where her friend George Cope taught her to use a camera in 1965. She began making portraits of literary figures with a 35mm camera and black-and-white film, supporting herself as a freelance editor. In 1973–4, as a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College, she produced a memoir with photographs titled Elsa’s Housebook, now considered a feminist classic.

In 1980 the Polaroid Corporation gave Dorfman and a number of other artists access to the experimental 20×24 instant camera, named for the size of the image it produced (in inches). Beginning in 1987 Dorfman rented a 20×24 from Polaroid and worked in colour. Over the next two and half decades Dorfman developed a style that combined the camera’s formal characteristics with her own ability as a writer and an artist to identify universal qualities in the most personal stories. She photographed some families more than once, and produced extended portraits of Allen Ginsberg, her husband, her son and his friends, and herself. In the 1990s she became one of the first photographers to establish a website, using it as exhibition space and archive for her photographs, books, essays, films, and reviews of her work. After the Polaroid Corporation collapsed in the early 21st century, she helped lead a movement to establish an independent company to support the 20×24 instant camera....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Vancouver, 1960).

Canadian photographer and film maker, lives and works in Vancouver. After studying at the Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver (1979–82), he began making films and videos that reflect on issues of culture and technology and on the relationship between popular representations of history and subjectivity. In 1988 long-term research culminated in an essay and exhibition that gathered together Samuel Beckett’s eight works for film and television. Samuel Beckett: Teleplays, which toured Canada, America and Europe for four years, touches on themes of alienation, displacement and the collapse of subjectivity that Douglas explores in his film and video installations. For his slide installation Onomatopoeia, (1985–6), lasting six minutes in each rotation, Douglas projected 154 black-and-white images of an empty textile factory on to a screen hanging over an 88-noteplayer-piano that played bars from Beethoven’s C Minor Sonata, Opus 11; the selected refrain sounded uncannily like a ragtime piece. By isolating this phenomenon Douglas pointed to the difficulties of interpreting history from an unbiased perspective. The questioning of habit and criticism of popular contemporary media was continued in ...

Article

Nancy E. Green

(b Ipswich, MA, April 6, 1857; d New York, NY, Dec 13, 1922).

American painter, printmaker, photographer, writer and teacher. Dow took art classes in the Boston studio of James M. Stone, where he met Frank Duveneck, who would remain a lifelong friend. He went to Paris in 1884 to study at the Académie Julian with Jules(-Joseph) Lefebvre and Gustave(-Clarence-Rodolphe) Boulanger. Dow also took evening classes at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, where the American artist Francis D. Millet (1846–1912) offered critiques of the students’ work. Dow then spent some time in Pont-Aven, where he met Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard, and in Concarneau where he sought out the advice of American painter Alexander Harrison (1853–1930). Dow’s painting Au Soir won an honorable mention at the Universal Exposition in 1889 and two of his paintings were accepted that same year for the Paris Salon and were hung on the line (i.e. at eye-level).

Dow returned to Boston where he began independent studies at the Boston Public Library that led him to the work of Japanese artists ...

Article

Sarah Kate Gillespie

(b Merseyside, May 5, 1811; d Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, Jan 4, 1882).

American photographer, chemist, and physician of English birth. Draper was an early experimenter with the daguerreotype who made several technical advancements to the medium. Trained as a chemist and physician, he produced scientific photography relating to chemistry, astronomy, and biology, and was also in the vanguard of photographic portraiture. English-born, Draper immigrated to the United States in 1832, and in 1835 he enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school. Draper later moved to New York City where he became a professor at New York University, holding several positions there from 1839 until 1881. Draper immediately began experimenting with daguerreotyping when it was introduced to the US in the autumn of 1839, taking views of the surrounding streets from the university building. During the winter and spring of 1840 he worked to create daguerreotypes by artificial light, to copy daguerreotypes, and to photographically record the moon’s surface. In the spring of ...

Article

Elizabeth Johns

(Cowperthwaite)

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 25, 1844; d Philadelphia, June 25, 1916).

American painter, sculptor and photographer. He was a portrait painter who chose most of his sitters and represented them in powerful but often unflattering physical and psychological terms. Although unsuccessful throughout much of his career, since the 1930s he has been regarded as one of the greatest American painters of his era.

His father Benjamin Eakins (1818–99), the son of a Scottish–Irish immigrant weaver, was a writing master and amateur artist who encouraged Thomas Eakins’s developing talent. Eakins attended the Central High School in Philadelphia, which stressed skills in drawing as well as a democratic respect for disciplined achievement. He developed an interest in human anatomy and began visiting anatomical clinics. After studying from 1862 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where instruction was minimal, Eakins went to Paris to enrol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme. From 1866 to the end of ...

Article

Brian Coe

(b Waterville, NY, July 12, 1854; d Rochester, NY, March 14, 1932).

American inventor and photographer. He took up photography in 1877, and in 1878, dissatisfied with the cumbersome wet collodion process, he started making the new gelatin dry plates (see Photography §I). He decided to manufacture them commercially and invented a machine to end the need to hand-coat the glass. In January 1881 he founded the Eastman Dry Plate Company.

Eastman’s desire to bring photography to more people, and to satisfy the needs of the growing number of amateur photographers, led him to develop many new products. In 1885 his roll-holder adaptor allowed the heavy and fragile glass plates to be replaced by a roll of sensitive paper; the success of this device inspired him to design a new camera with the roll-holder built in. The result was the Kodak camera (1888), for which Eastman chose the name; it was designed for the general public, who had only to point it in the right direction and release the shutter. When the 100-exposure roll provided with the camera had been exposed, the whole apparatus was returned to Eastman’s factory, where the paper rollfilm was developed and printed, the camera reloaded and returned to the customer; ‘You press the button, we do the rest’ was his slogan....

Article

Mary Christian

(b Freemont, NE, April 6, 1903; d Jan 10, 1990).

American photographer. He learnt photography as a boy and studied electrical engineering at the University of Nebraska. After graduation in 1925, he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he received his doctorate and remained as a member of the Electrical Engineering Faculty. From the early 1930s he conducted pioneering research in stroboscopic photography, which permitted him to freeze exceedingly fast movement and make exposures between 1/10,000 and 1/1,000,000 of a second. The famous photographs that resulted revealed to the world for the first time some of the lost mysteries of everyday motion, including a falling drop of milk refracting into a coronet and bullets rupturing such objects as an apple, a balloon, a lightbulb and a tank of water. These exposures, too fast for any camera shutter to capture, were created with an ordinary 35mm camera and Edgerton’s electrical control of an absolutely instantaneous flash of light in a dark room, which exposed the film to bright light well within any possible shutter speed....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931).

American inventor, entrepreneur, film producer and businessman. Edison invented numerous electrically based technologies. His father, Samuel Edison (1804–96), and mother, Nancy Matthews Elliot (1810–71), lived very modestly. Home schooled after he performed poorly in school, his formal educational experience lasted only three months. A shrewd businessman his instinctive abilities combined with his innovative inventions furthered his extensive research. He famously “invented” the first practical incandescent light bulb. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” he established the first large American industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ.

Credited with developing predominant technical designs and electrically powered mechanisms for numerous devices, his inventions were instrumental toward the arts. Some principal imaginative, mechanical creations are the phonograph, electrically powered generators, individual home electricity, motion picture cameras and audio recordings. Edison patented his first motion picture camera, the “kinetograph,” and began his foray into film. In 1891 his kinetoscope, which allowed individuals to view short films through a peephole at the top of a cabinet, became highly lucrative. In ...

Article

Mary Christian

(b Memphis, TN, July 27, 1939).

American photographer. Eggleston first became interested in photography in 1962 when he was introduced to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. By 1966 he had begun to photograph almost exclusively in colour. Eggleston is regarded as a pioneer among contemporary photographers in the exploration of the artistic potential of colour photography, which had been out of favour because of the impermanence of its tones and its supposed incompatibility with the formal interests of artistic photography. His work came to public attention in the 1970s when it was featured in several exhibitions, notably in 1976 when his one-man show William Eggleston’s Guide was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Eggleston’s large-format prints of snapshot-like subject-matter create icons out of images from everyday life in the south-east United States. Demonstrating his sensitivity to combinations of highly saturated secondary and tertiary colour, they explore the television-like, superreal intensity normally achieved through dye-transfer prints. These prints monumentalize ordinary scenes of his native south, such as a wisteria-shrouded pick-up truck, a table set for dinner, or the lavender and aquamarine tiles surrounding a Memphis bathtub, and focus upon the environments of cultural heroes of the south. For his series ...

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Dierschau, West Prussia [now Poland], Dec 6, 1898; d Aug 23, 1995).

American photographer of German birth. He attended Berlin University from 1913 to 1916 and served in the army (1916–18). He survived the world economic crisis after the war as a belt and button salesman for a Berlin firm. He was a self-taught photographer, though a friend taught him enlargement techniques in 1926. In 1927 he began to work for the Berliner Tageblatt, which led him to photograph in smaller format; he was soon also acting as a freelance photographer for the Weltspiegel, producing work for the Pacific and Atlantic Picture Agency, Associated Press and the Berliner illustrierte Zeitung from 1929 until 1935. He photographed Marlene Dietrich in Berlin in 1928, while she was filming Der blaue Engel (see Eisenstaedt, 1969, p. 103), and this picture of a woman in a man’s black smoking jacket became one of Eisenstaedt’s most famous photographs.

In 1935 he emigrated to the USA, where he was naturalized, and worked for ...

Article

John Fuller

(b Cuba, May 13, 1856; d Falmouth, Cornwall, May 12, 1936).

English photographer. He lived in Cuba and the USA until his widowed English mother took her two sons to England in 1869. He studied medicine at King’s College Hospital, London (1879), and later received a BA (1883) and a Bachelor of Medicine degree (1885) from Cambridge University. While at Cambridge he studied photography, and after a brief medical practice he left the profession in 1886 for photography and writing. After becoming a member of the Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1883, he achieved recognition writing for such journals as Amateur Photographer.

In East Anglia Emerson used his nautical skills and knowledge of natural history while photographing the fen country and its people. The results were albums such as Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads (London, 1886; see fig.), which he co-authored with the English painter Thomas F. Goodall (1856–1944), ...

Article

Alexandra Noble

(b Paris, July 26, 1928).

American photographer and film maker. He studied film at the New School for Social Research, New York, from 1948 to 1950. From 1951 to 1953 he worked as a photographic assistant for the US Army Signal Corps and under Roy Stryker (1882–1975) at the Standard Oil Company, New Jersey, from 1950 to 1952. From 1953 he was a freelance photographer and film maker and a member of the Magnum photographic agency. Although he was highly successful in the field of advertising, his international reputation was based on his personal work. His street photographs, wry and quirky narratives, concentrated on the vagaries of human existence. They often relied heavily on visual puns. Unrelated and sometimes bizarre events, for example the small dog captured in mid-air in Ballycotton, Ireland (1968; see Photographs and Anti-photographs, p. 48), are held together within the 35 mm frame by strong graphic and formal compositions. Erwitt’s films include ...