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Article

Geoffrey Belknap

(b Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort, March 8, 1831; d Alès, April 9, 1885).

French photographer and photographic printer. Bonfils is best known for his photographs of the Mediterranean and Middle East, particularly his five-volume Souvenirs d’Orient: Egypte. Palestine. Syrie. Grèce (1878). Prior to opening a studio briefly in Alès in 1865, he was apprenticed to Abel Niépce de St Victor (180570). Having travelled to Lebanon in 1860 with the French Army to intervene in the conflict between the Druse and the Maronites, Bonfils decided to return to Beirut in 1867 with his wife Marie-Lydie Cabanis and son Adrian to establish a photographic studio under the name La Maison Bonfils. From there Bonfils began his photographic tour of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Greece, and sold his views back in his studio. These views included (he claimed) 15,000 albumen prints and 9000 stereoscopic cards. La Maison Bonfils became well known throughout Lebanon, the Middle East, and Europe as a première photographic studio and attracted many tourists seeking photographs of the surrounding area and peoples. Bonfils’s success was compounded when he presented his photographs to the Société Française de Photographie in ...

Article

Judith Zilczer

Journal devoted to photography that was published from 1903 to 1917. Camera Work evolved from a quarterly journal of photography to become one of the most ground-breaking and influential periodicals in American cultural history. Founded in January 1903 by photographer Alfred Stieglitz as the official publication of the Photo-Secession, the journal originally promoted the cause of photography as a fine art. As Stieglitz, its editor and publisher, expanded the journal’s scope to include essays on aesthetics, literature, criticism and modern art, Camera Work fueled intellectual discourse in early 20th-century America.

Camera Work mirrored the aesthetic philosophy of its founder Alfred Stieglitz. The journal resulted from his decade-long campaign to broaden and professionalize American photography. Serving for three years as editor of American Amateur Photographer (1893–6), Stieglitz championed the expressive potential of photography and advocated expanded exhibition opportunities comparable to those available in European photographic salons. In 1897, when the Society of Amateur Photographers merged with the New York Camera Club, Stieglitz convinced the enlarged organization to replace their modest leaflet with a more substantial quarterly journal, Camera Notes, which he edited until ...

Article

Ismeth Raheem

(b 1854; d England, 1913).

English photographer, publisher and writer. He first travelled to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) as private secretary to the Bishop of Colombo. In 1870 he set up a small bookshop in Colombo, which by 1884 had diversified into a flourishing publishing house, H. W. Cave & Company, and a printing firm equipped to produce books with excellent quality photographic reproductions. He took a serious interest in photography, and this enabled him to illustrate the pictorial travelogues written by him and published by his own firm. His close supervision of the details of book production and photographic reproduction gave him a competitive edge over other commercial photographers. He returned to England in 1886 after the death of his wife and settled down in Oxford. He made occasional visits to Ceylon, but continued to manage his firm’s business from England.

In his photography Cave specialized in rural and landscape scenes and was especially interested in creating views with luxuriant tropical vegetation, using dramatic atmospheric lighting effects. Some of the best examples of this type of work are reproduced in his lavishly printed travelogues ...

Article

Ray McKenzie

(b Chesterfield, Derbys, 1822; d Cannes, Feb 25, 1898).

English photographer. He is noted for his studies of the Middle East and for establishing the largest photographic publishing firm in the 19th century. He was born into a Quaker family and spent five unrewarding years apprenticed to a cutler in Sheffield, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1843. After two years recuperative travel he became a successful businessman, first in wholesale groceries and later in printing. His involvement with photography began at this time. He was one of the founder-members of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853 and he exhibited portraits and landscapes to much critical acclaim.

The sale of Frith’s printing firm in 1854 financed the expeditions to Egypt and the Holy Land that were to establish his pre-eminence among early travel photographers. He made three trips between 1856 and 1860 (see fig.). On the first, he sailed up the Nile to the Second Cataract, recording the main historic monuments between Cairo and Abu Simbel. On the second, he struck eastwards to Palestine, visiting Jerusalem, Damascus and other sites associated with the life of Christ. The final expedition was the most ambitious, combining a second visit to the Holy Land with a deeper southward penetration of the Nile. His photographs of the temple at ...

Article

Anne Blecksmith

(b Kiev, Sept 4, 1919; d Miami, FL, Nov 19, 1999).

American painter, photographer and publishing executive of Ukrainian birth. Raised in England and France, he received a degree in philosophy and mathematics from the Sorbonne in 1930. Connected to the Russian exile community in Paris, he was introduced to artists Aleksandr Yakovlev and Marc Chagall. In 1931, he studied painting with André Lhote and enrolled at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, where he was a student of Auguste Perret. Later that year, he transferred to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. While studying architecture, he was apprenticed to graphic artist Cassandre through whom he found work at the newsweekly Vu, where he created photomontage covers with Russian Constructivist sensibilities and later rose to art director. At Vu he worked with imagery by pioneers of 35 mm photography Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï and Erich Salomon. A prolific photographer since childhood, he enthusiastically identified with the candid documentary style of the 35 mm camera.

Arriving in New York in ...

Article

Nadar  

Hélène Bocard

[Tournachon , (Gaspard ) Félix ]

(b Paris, April 8, 1820; d Paris, March 21, 1910).

French photographer, printmaker, draughtsman, writer and balloonist. He was born into a family of printers and became familiar with the world of letters very early in life. He abandoned his study of medicine for journalism, working first in Lyon and then in Paris. In the 1840s Nadar moved in socialist, bohemian circles and developed strong republican convictions. Around this time he adopted the pseudonym Nadar (from ‘Tourne à dard’, a nickname he gained because of his talent for caricature). For his friend Charles Baudelaire (see fig.), Nadar personified ‘the most astonishing expression of vitality’. In 1845 he published his first novel, La Robe de Déjanira, and the following year he embarked on his career as a caricaturist, working for La Silhouette and Le Charivari and subsequently for the Revue comique (1848) and Charles Philipon’s Journal pour rire (1849), which later became the Journal amusant...

Article

Anne Ehrenkranz

(b Ribe, Denmark, May 3, 1849; d Barre, MA, May 26, 1914).

American photographer of Danish birth. The son of a school teacher and editor, he was well-educated when he came to the USA in 1870. He was a self-taught photographer and worked at a variety of jobs before becoming a journalist, and he understood the power of the written and illustrated word. Riis’s work in journalism began in 1873 when he was employed by the New York News Association. By 1874 he was editor and then owner of the South Brooklyn News. In 1878 he won a coveted job as a police reporter at the Tribune and found the basis of his life’s work in his assigned territory, Mulberry Bend, where the worst slums and tenements were (e.g. Mulberry Bend as It Was, see Riis, 1901, p. 265).

Using flash photographs to document articles and lectures, Riis emphasized the dehumanizing conditions of New York’s slums with works such as Tenement House Air-shaft...

Article

Judith Zilczer

(b Hoboken, NJ, Jan 1, 1864; d New York, July 13, 1946).

American photographer, editor, publisher, patron and dealer. Internationally acclaimed as a pioneer of modern photography, he produced a rich and significant body of work between 1883 and 1937 (see fig.). He championed photography as a graphic medium equal in stature to high art and fostered the growth of the cultural vanguard in New York in the early 20th century.

The first of six children born to an upper-middle-class couple of German–Jewish heritage, Stieglitz discovered the pleasure of amateur photography after 1881, when his family left New York to settle temporarily in Germany. His father, Edward Stieglitz, had retired from a successful business in the wool trade with a fortune that enabled him to educate his children abroad. In 1882 Alfred enrolled in the mechanical engineering programme of the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, but he spent his spare time experimenting with photography in a darkroom improvised in his student quarters. His self-directed experiments led him to study photochemistry with the eminent scientist Hermann ...