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Category: Photo People

Written by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_Today I want to share some thoughts about our blind spots and cultural stereotypes. Sometimes it takes an insider to understand and capture the real community that exists; one that outsiders do not or can not understand.

I think about my time in the Boy Scouts while growing up. I belonged to Boy Scout Troop 426 in Downey, California. I joined this troop with about a dozen or so guys that I had gone to school with, played baseball with during the summers, and been in the Cub Scout Pack at my elementary school. In short, these are guys that I had spent about a half dozen years during the prime of my life to that point. The camaraderie that we experienced would be hard to explain to an outsider. We each knew each other and our strengths and weaknesses. These came into play as we challenged the forces of nature, whether it be rain, desert, or mountains. When we were the first group to blaze the trail that later became one of the major scout hikes in the Los Angeles area, we worked together as a team. Outsiders did not understand, including our parents. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photographs of that experience, but those photographs could have helped to capture the moment.

I have tried to relate a story along a similar line to you below about a photographer, Shelby Lee Adams, who grew up in the Appalachian mountains and captured this special culture on film. I hope that you will enjoy this presentation and that it will open your eyes to a different view of these mountain people. I will come back to this work in a future post. Enjoy… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1491 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Appalachia:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/appalachian.html ]

    

“I’ve never set out consciously to write American music. I don’t know what that would be unless the obvious Appalachian folk references.”
— Carlisle Floyd

“Some people want to call me an Appalachian writer, even though I know some people use regional labels to belittle.”
— Robert Morgan

“Daddy was real gentle with kids. That’s why I expected so much out of marriage, figuring that all men should be steady and pleasant.”
— Loretta Lynn

 “I know there’s some kind of history to mountain music-like it came from Ireland or England or Scotland and we kept up the tradition.”
— Loretta Lynn

“We don’t intend to always keep this necessarily African oriented. Originally I had hoped to have African American Indian of this area, and the Appalachian of this area, but at the same time, just as we have the Haitian room, we will always have room for another exhibit.”
— Katherine Dunham

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by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 It has often been said that the early photographers were either scientists (in the broadest sense) or artists. In the case of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, he was a scientist who dabbled in art. Ironically, he began his developmental process in an attempt to get an image from a camera obscura without needing the steady hand required to trace over the image; he did not have the steady hand of an artist.

He began with a photogravure process which led him to experiment with using different chemical solutions to “develop” his images. He continued this process to where he produced the first negative image and then the first positive image before 1830, ten years before Daguerre or Fox Talbot were able to accomplish the same thing!

He arrived at a process that worked and joined forces with Daguerre. Their collaboration brought most of the recognition and economic benefits to Daguerre, much to the displeasure of his son. But his experimentation and photographic work mad him a pioneer in the definition of Photography, which he called Heliographs, or “drawing with the sun.”

Thank you, Monsieur Niépce, for your generous contribution to the art and science of photography.  GLB

    

“In a word I was a pioneer, and therefore had to blaze my own trail.”
— Major Taylor

“Genius is the very eye of intellect and the wing of thought; it is always in advance of its time, and is the pioneer for the generation which it precedes.”
— William Gilmore Simms

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 At the beginning of photography, it appeared to be a miracle that one could let light into a little (or not so little) box that held a light-sensitive material upon which the image passing through the “lens” of the primitive camera. We can still obtain such pin-hole cameras! However, this primitive camera would not satisfy those wanting to obtain images of their family members as a result of the industrial revolution.

Before the early innovators of photographic processes, Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot, could produce their amazing “light drawings,” they needed a means of refining the process of focusing the light on the sensitized media in the camera.

An early Russian photographer, Sergei Levitsky, developed the concept of the bellows. This bellows allowed the distance between the photographic lens and the recording media to be adjusted for optimal sharpness. As a result, Daguerre, Fox Talbot, and others were able to record their images. Thank you, Mr. Levitsky.  GLB

    

“Photography is a major force in explaining man to man.”
— Edward Steichen

“People don’t have time to wait for somebody to paint their portraits anymore. The money is in photography.”
— Robert Mapplethorpe

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by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Oscar Gustave Rejlander, the Swedish artist and photographer, was a participant in the early developments of the technology. Trained in the techniques of Fox Talbot, he became skilled at the use of both his artist’s eye and photographic medium to create complex photographs composed by superimposing multiple negatives onto a single print to create a “super” images.

And he did this in an era of paper negatives and glass plates and relatively slow processes. His choice of topics for his photographs often offended the Victorian sensibilities of the era. Only the purchase of one of his images by Queen Victoria for Prince Albert quieted his detractors!  GLB

    

“Photographers never have much incentive to show the world as it is.”
— William Leith

“Results are uncertain even among the more experienced photographers.”
— Matthew Brady

“There must be a reason why photographers are not very good at verbal communication. I think we get lazy.”
— Annie Leibovitz

“These days, most nature photographers are deeply committed to the environmental message.”
— Galen Rowell

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.”
— Henri Cartier-Bresson

“They often ask me to shoot for them. But I say no. I think an old guy like me ought not take pages away from young photographers who need the exposure.”
— Helmut Newton

“We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect… but, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs.”
— Aaron Siskind

“Some photographers take reality… and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.”
— Ansel Adams

  

Note:
This posting is intended for the educational use of photographers and photography students and complies with the “educational fair use” provisions of copyright law. For readers who might wish to reuse some of these images should check out their compliance with copyright limitations that might apply to that use.

GLB

  

Oscar Gustave Rejlander

Oscar_Rejlander Oscar Gustave Rejlander (1813 – 1875) was a pioneering Victorian art photographer. Rejlander was a Swede who studied painting in Italy. He settled in England in the 1840s, and inspired by one of Fox Talbot’s assistants he turned his energies to photography, round about 1855, living first in Wolverhampton, later in London.

Biography

His exact date of birth is uncertain, but was probably 1813. He was the son of Carl Gustaf Rejlander, a stonemason and Swedish Army Officer. He studied art in Rome where he saw photographs of the sights, and then initially settled in Lincoln, England. He abandoned his original profession as a painter and portrait miniaturist, apparently after seeing how well a photograph captured the fold of a sleeve. Other accounts say he was inspired by one of Fox Talbot’s assistants.

He set up as a portraitist in the industrial Midlands town of Wolverhampton, probably around 1846. Around 1850 he learned the wet-collodion and waxed-paper processes at great speed with Nicholas Henneman in London, and then changed his business to that of a photography studio. He undertook genre work and portraiture. He also created erotic work, using as models the circus girls of Mme Wharton, street children and child prostitutes – his Charlotte Baker series remains notorious.

Perfecting Photography

Alfred_Tennyson,_1st_Baron_Tennyson_and_family Rejlander undertook many experiments to perfect his photography, including combination printing from around 1853, which it is possible he may have invented. He was a friend of photographer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better know by the nom de plume Lewis Carroll), who collected Rejlander’s early child work and corresponded with him on technical matters. Rejlander later created one of the best known & most revealing portraits of Dodgson.

His early work only slightly sullied his later reputation, and he participated in the Paris Exhibition of 1855. In 1857 he made his best-known allegorical work, The Two Ways of Life. This was a seamlessly montaged combination print made of thirty-two images (akin to the use of Photoshop today, but then far more difficult to achieve) in about six weeks. First exhibited at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857, the work shows two youths being offered guidance by a patriarch. Each youth looks toward a section of a stage-like tableaux vivant – one youth is shown the virtuous pleasures and the other the sinful pleasures. The image’s partial nudity was deemed ‘indecent’ by some – and those familiar with Rejlander’s more commercial work might also suspect that prostitutes had been used as cheap models. But the ‘indecency’ faded when Queen Victoria ordered a 10-guinea copy to give to Prince Albert.

Alfred_Tennyson,_1st_Baron_Tennyson Despite this royal patronage, controversy about The Two Ways of Life in strait-laced Scotland in 1858 led to a secession of a large group from the Photographic Society of Scotland, the secessionists founding the Edinburgh Photographic Society in 1861. They objected to the picture being shown with one half of it concealed by drapes. The picture was later shown at the Birmingham Photographic Society with no such furore or censorship. However the Photographic Society of Scotland later made amends and invited Rejlander to a grand dinner in his honour in 1866, held to open an exhibition that included many of his pictures.

The success of The Two Ways of Life, and membership of the Royal Photographic Society of London, gave him an entree into London respectability. He moved his studio to Malden Road, London around 1862 and further experimented with double exposure, photomontage, photographic manipulation and retouching. He became a leading expert in photographic techniques, lecturing and publishing widely, and sold portfolios of work through bookshops and art dealers. He also found subject-matter in London, photographing homeless London street children to produce popular ‘social-protest’ pictures such as "Poor Joe" and "Homeless".

YoungHallamTennyson He married Mary Bull in 1862, who was twenty-four years his junior. Mary had been his photographic model in Wolverhampton since she was aged 14.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson visited Rejlander’s Malden Road studio in 1863 and was inspired to set up his own studio. Around 1863 Rejlander visited the Isle of Wight and collaborated with Julia Margaret Cameron.

Some of Rejlander’s images were purchased as drawing-aids to Victorian painters of repute, such as Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema. In 1872 his photography illustrated Darwin’s classic treatise on The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

He became seriously ill from about 1874. Rejlander died in 1875 with several claims on his estate, and costly funeral expenses. The Edinburgh Photographic Society raised money for his widow on Rejlander’s death, and helped set up the Rejlander Memorial Fund.

Rejlander’s ideas and techniques were taken up by other photographers and this, to some extent, justifies labelling him as the father of art photography.

Interpreting Life

His most famous photograph is allegorical; called "The two ways of life", it depicts a sage guiding two young men towards manhood. One looks with some eagerness towards gambling, wine, prostitution and idling, whilst the other looks (with somewhat less enthusiasm!) towards figures representing religion, industry, families and good works. In the centre appears the veiled, partly clothed figure symbolising repentance and turning towards the good.

rejlander-2-ways

Shown in 1857 at an exhibition in Manchester, it provoked considerable controversy. Victorians were quite used to the portrayal of nakedness in paintings and sculptures, but photographs were so true to life that even though the posing was discreet, this was too much. At one stage this photograph went to Scotland to be exhibited and, so the story goes, the picture was considered so controversial that the left hand side of the picture was concealed, only the right side being shown. However, there were others who saw in this picture a valiant attempt to use photography in a domain which up to that time painters had dominated, and when Queen Victoria purchased a copy for her husband (at ten guineas), this seemed to make his photograph respectable!

Such a picture would have required a large studio and an immense amount of light. What makes this photograph such a remarkable piece of work is that the event never took place, because it is a combination print using a number of negatives – no fewer than thirty. The groups were photographed individually, the models being strolling players.

The print itself is huge (30" by 16"). A reviewer in Photographic Notes (28 April 1857) described it as:

"….magnificent….decidedly the finest photograph of its class ever pronounced…"

In 1858 Rejlander read a paper to the Photographic Society, outlining the meaning of every figure in the photograph. Henry Peach Robinson, writing about him, found that his honesty and helpfulness sometimes went awfully wrong:

"With the generous intention of being of use to photographers, and to further the cause of art he, unfortunately, described the method by which the picture had been done; the little tricks and dodges to which he had to resort; how, for want of classic architecture for his background, he had to be content with a small portico in a friend’s garden; how bits of drapery had to do duty for voluminous curtains….

(He) thereby gave the clever critics the clue they wanted, and enabled the little souls to declare that the picture was only a thing of shreds and patches. It is so much easier to call a picture a patchwork combination than to understand the inner meaning of so superb a work as this masterpiece of Rejlander’s!"

Rejlander, a man who, Robinson said, was never known to use a word that would hurt the feelings of others, was clearly crushed by this reaction:

"the time will come when a work will be judged on its merits, not by the method of production….."

The theme of this famous print most will now find quaint, but his painstaking perseverance no-one can help but admire greatly. It had taken Rejlander and his wife no less than six weeks to produce it (one could only print by daylight) and the exposures were up to two hours, each very carefully done with masks.

Incidentally, there are two versions of this picture. In the second one the Philosopher is looking towards the side that shows virtue. We are not told why this second print was made, but given the nature of the subject it may well be that someone had pointed out to the poor couple that the Philosopher himself seemed more interested in vice than on virtue, so they felt obliged to have another go at printing it!

Another popular one is a self-portrait depicting Rejlander the Artist introducing Rejlander the volunteer. The double exposure is not so successful; in the centre, on the lower part of the floor, one can see a darker tone where he has evidently attempted to shade the print.

Expression_of_the_Emotions_Plate_IV Rejlander, in fact, produced a number of pictures on other themes, and Charles Darwin used him to illustrate his book entitled "The expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals" (1872).

Some of Rejlander’s photographs are not very dissimilar from Surrealist photographs of the 1920s.

Rejlander was an inventive person. His studio was unusual; shaped like a cone, the camera would be in the narrow part, the sitters at the opposite end. The camera was in shadow so that the sitters were less aware of it. It is said that he used to estimate his exposure by bringing his cat into the studio; if the cat’s eyes were like slits he would give use a fairly short exposure. If they were a little more open than usual he would give extra exposure, whilst if the pupils were totally dilated he would admit defeat, put the lens cap on the lens and go out for a walk! This interesting man must surely be the first person to use a cat as an exposure meter!

A number of his pictures were bought by Prince Albert. However, Rejlander remained in poverty. In 1859 he wrote:

"I am tired of photography-for-the-public, particularly composite photographs, for there can be no gain and there is no honour, only cavil and misrepresentation."

He eventually returned to painting, but to little gain, and died in poverty.

The RPS has quite a large Rejlander collection of about 80 prints, some original albumen, some later platinum and carbon reprints and 57 wet collodion negatives.

 

References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Oscar Gustave Rejlander… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Gustave_Rejlander

Web Sites and Blogs:

Robert Leggat: Oscar Gustave Rejlander
http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/rejlande.htm

Brainy Quote: Photographers Quotes…  
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/photographers_2.html

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Robert Howlett was one of the leading British photographers of the mid-19th century. He was dedicated to developing the photographic process, moving from the albumin sensitized glass plates to the use of the wet collodion plate process for his images. He was commissioned by Prince Albert to document the new frescos in the palace, documented the Crimean War and the building of the Great Eastern steamship. His contributions to the art and science of photography were cut short by his untimely death due to Typhus at the age of twenty-seven.  GLB

    

“All gardening is landscape painting.”
— William Kent

“An author knows his landscape best; he can stand around, smell the wind, get a feel for his place.”
— Tony Hillerman

“But I’ll try to immerse myself in as many of the formal characteristics of site as possible in the landscape.”
— Richard Serra

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by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 The middle of the 19th century was an exciting time. Our country was expanding its boundaries and fighting wars with Mexico. We were seeing the seeds of confrontation being sown between the slave-based economy of the southern states vs. the industrial economy of the northern states. We had the discovery of gold in California and the gold rush. AND, we had the development of the photographic process by Daguerre in France and Fox Talbot in the U.K.

While the daguerreotype was recording the mother load country in the Sierras by Carleton Watkins, Thomas M. Easterly was establishing himself in the Missouri area. Ordinary people could now afford to record their likenesses on polished metal plates in any of the many daguerreotype studios around the East coast of the US. Easterly brought this function to the mid-Western U.S..  GLB

    

“I have seized the light. I have arrested its flight.”
— Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre

“A good daguerreotype was as perfect a kind of photograph as was ever made.”
— Edward Steichen

“Anybody can direct a picture once they know the fundamentals. Directing is not a mystery, it’s not an art. The main thing about directing is: photograph the people’s eyes.”
— John Ford

“Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.”
— Henri Cartier-Bresson

“Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.”
— Edward Weston

“Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison detre. The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d’etre, which lives on in itself.”
— André Kertesz

“I made a photograph of a garden in Kyoto, the Zen garden, which is a rectangle. But a photograph taken from any one point will not show, well it shows a rectangle, but not with ninety degree angles.”
— David Hockney

“I treat the photograph as a work of great complexity in which you can find drama. Add to that a careful composition of landscapes, live photography, the right music and interviews with people, and it becomes a style.”
— Ken Burns

  

Note:
This posting is intended for the educational use of photographers and photography students and complies with the “educational fair use” provisions of copyright law. For readers who might wish to reuse some of these images should check out their compliance with copyright limitations that might apply to that use.

GLB

  

Thomas Easterly: America’s Leading Daguerreotypist


Clements Library, University of Michigan
Permission must be received in advance, in writing, from the Director of the Clements before publication, duplication, or other use of this image.
www.clements.umich.edu Thomas Martin Easterly (1809 – 1882) was a 19th century American daguerreotypist and photographer. One of the more prominent and well-known daguerreotypists in the Midwest United States during the 1850s, his studio became one of the first permanent art galleries in Missouri.

Although his reputation was limited to the Midwest during his lifetime, he is considered to have been one of the foremost experts in the field of daguerreotype photography in the United States during the mid-to-late 19th century.

Not much is known about Easterly’s youth, except that he taught calligraphy in New England before moving west to Missouri, where he lived by 1847. In St. Louis, he opened a daguerreotype studio on the corner of Fourth and Olive Streets, near where the St. Louis Arch stands today. It is unknown how Easterly learned the craft of producing daguerreotypes, but his mastery of the form is apparent even in his earliest known works.

In 1864-65, when Norton Townshend was based in St. Louis as a Medical Inspector, he often called on the Easterlys and referenced them in his diary and letters home to his wife. Townshend’s updates reveal the Easterlys’ personalities (Miriam was "enquiring," with a love of books, and Townshend called Thomas "intelligent" and "an excellent workman")1. Townshend also reported news of the Easterlys’ financial struggle, a result of the declining popularity of daguerreotypes and Easterly’s unwillingness to give up what he considered a "perfect and durable" process.

The J. Paul Getty Museum sketch on Easterly summarizes his role in photography as:

A sometime calligrapher and writing teacher, Vermont-born Thomas Easterly learned the daguerreotype process in New York between 1841 and 1844, possibly from Charles and Richard Meade. In 1844 Easterly sailed from New York City to New Orleans, where he made photographs before returning to Vermont the following year. He did not remain for long: by October, he had entered into a daguerreotype studio partnership in Iowa. He and his partner operated as traveling photographers working throughout Iowa and Missouri for several years. Some scholars have credited Easterly with making the first photographs of Plains Indians.

After the dissolution of the partnership, Easterly moved to Saint Louis and took over a studio in 1848. He had a successful career for ten years, but his loyalty to the daguerreotype process after the introduction of the ambrotype, tintype, and paper photograph processes caused his business to falter. By 1860 Easterly had begun to sell farm implements in addition to continuing his daguerreotype practice.

Biography

Born in Guilford, Vermont, he was the second of five children born to Tunis Easterly and Philomena Richardson. He reportedly came from a poor background, his father being a farmer and part-time shoemaker, and was living away from home at age 11. Around 1830, he was living in St. Lawrence County, New York although little is known of his early years.

He began working as itinerant calligrapher and a penmanship teacher traveling throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and New York during the 1830s and 40s. By 1844, he had begun practicing photography taking outdoor photographs of architectural landmarks and scenic sites in Vermont. Among his earliest daguerreotypes, made a decade before outdoor photography was popular or profitable, those of the Winooski and Connecticut rivers are the only known examples to be self-consciously influenced by the romantic landscape paintings of the Hudson River School artists. He was also the first and only daguerreotypist to identify his work using engraved signatures and descriptive captions.

Career

Miriam Easterly Easterly daguerreotype of
Miriam Bailey Easterly with
sewing basket, c. 1850.

In the fall of 1845, Easterly traveled to the Midwest United States and toured the Mississippi River with Frederick F. Webb as representatives of the Daguerreotype Art Union. The two gained some notoriety from their photography of the criminals convicted of the murder of George Davenport in October of that year. Iowa newspapers reported that Easterly and Webb had achieved a "splendid likeness" of the men shortly before their execution. Easterly and Webb continued touring on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers for several months before spending the winter of 1846-47 in Liberty, Missouri.

The following spring, Easterly and Webb went their separate ways with Easterly traveling on his own to St. Louis. He soon became popular for his portraits of prominent residents and visiting celebrities which were displayed in a temporary gallery on Glasgow Row. One of these portraits was that of Chief Keokuk taken March 1847. He also took a daguerreotype of a lightning bolt, one of the first recorded "instantaneous" photographic images, while in St. Louis. This was later recorded in the Iowa Sentinel as an "Astonishing Achievement in Art". Before retuning to Vermont in August 1847, the St. Louis Reveille described his as an "unrivaled daguerreotypist".

05602301 He was brought back to Missouri by John Ostrander, founder of the first daguerreotype gallery in St. Louis, in early 1848. Preparing for an extended "tour of the south", Ostringer asked Easterly to manage his portrait gallery. Esterly would continue running the gallery when Ostringer died a short time later. Many of his unique streetscapes depicting mid-19th century urban life were taken from the window’s of Ostringer’s gallery. In June 1850, he married schoolteacher Anna Miriam Bailey and settled in St. Louis permanently.

During the 1860s, improvements in photographic development caused daguerreotypes to become out of fashion. Easterly refused to acknowledge these changes believing the highly detailed daguerreotypes were far superior in terms of beauty or permanence urging the public to "save your old daguerreotypes for you will never see their like again". During the next decade, both his health and financial situation worsened. Despite the declining interest for pictures on silver, he was able to maintain his gallery until it burned in a fire in 1865. He was forced to move to a smaller location and continued working in near obscurity until his death in St. Louis on March 12, 1882. He had suffered from a long illness and partial paralysis in his final years and is thought to have been caused by prolonged exposure to mercury, one of the key ingredients used in the daguerreotype process.

On December 11, 1864, Townshend noted that:

"Mr. Easterly has not yet obtained any permanent employment neither have I been able to obtain any thing remunerative for him to do. He has just passed a circular offering to clean Daguerrotypes (sic), copy or change them into other styles. I hope he will be successful…"

Soon after writing this, Townshend attempted to find Easterly a position with the Quartermaster’s Department, but was unsuccessful. He was, however, able to help out with monetary loans, gifts of groceries, and perhaps just as importantly, books:

"I called on Mrs. Easterly both evening[s] & made her the offer of my Library ticket while I go to Kansas. I find she has a great taste for reading… Mr. Easterly is very intelligent but sees more & reads less."

Financial help became even more of a necessity after a fire broke out in Easterly’s studio in January 1865. Townshend reported that it "burned up a great many of Mr. Easterly’s pictures & machines &c. He was insured $500, but that will not cover his loss. The picture of Maggie Bailey is lost & I have no copy. Mr. & Mrs. E. feel very sad about it & Mr. E. seems almost discouraged" Surely such a setback must have been devastating to the already-struggling couple.

Easterly continued to produce his exceptional daguerreotypes through the 1870s, reportedly never working in any other format. However, the small income that the daguerreotypes brought in had to be supplemented: Thomas began selling farm equipment through newspaper ads and Miriam sold items she had sewn. In 1865, Townshend had helped her to evaluate a number of sewing machines:

"I spent the afternoon with Mrs. Easterly in a tour among sewing machines. We came to the conclusion that the Wilcox & Gibbs machines is the pleasantest & best machine… Our examinations grew out of an attempt of some one here to interest her and Mr. Easterly in some new cheap machine from the state of Maine[.] We concluded after a careful inspection that the new machine was of ‘no account.’"

In the late 1870s, Easterly suffered a "long and painful illness," possibly mercury poisoning, from which he died in 1882. Shortly after this, Miriam came to live with the Townshends in Columbus, Ohio. It is thought that the daguerreotypes in her collection passed down to Margaret Townshend’s daugher, Harriet, and onward down the family line. Others of the Easterly daguerreotypes that accompany the Townshend items are believed to have belonged to Margaret and Miriam Bailey’s sister, Linda Cahill. They capture all four of the Bailey sisters and in some cases their families, but focus particularly on Miriam Easterly, showing her in what may be her wedding dress, with flowers, and, in another image, accompanied by her sturdy sewing basket, which was so critical to the Easterlys’ livelihood.

easterlyflylarge After his death, his wife sold most of his personal collection to John Scholton, another noted St. Louis photographer. The Scholton family eventually donated the plates to the Missouri Historical Society where they remained for nearly a century before being rediscovered during the 1980s by art scholars studying pre-American Civil War photography.

Gallery of Images

[ You may view a gallery of Easterly’s images HERE. ]

Publications about Thomas M. Easterly

Dolores A. Kilgo, (1994) Likeness and Landscape: Thomas M. Easterly and the Art of the Daguerreotype. [ISBN: 1-883982-03-0]

This is a beautiful volume that masterfully illuminates the career of a little known but gifted daguerrean, Thomas M. Easterly. Historian Alan Trachtenberg called this book "simply the most accomplished and most important study of an American artist in photography yet produced." This beautiful volume was a finalist for the internationally recognized 1996 Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the American Association of Museums’ 1995 Museums Publications Design Competition.

     

References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Thomas Martin Easterly… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Easterly

Web Sites and Blogs:

Getty Museum: Thomas Martin Easterly…
http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artMakerDetails?maker=1842

University of Michigan: Townshend and Easterly…
http://www.clements.umich.edu/Exhibits/townshend/easterly.html

University of Michigan: Thomas Martin Easterly Gallery…
http://www.clements.umich.edu/Exhibits/townshend/gallery.html

Brainy Quote: Photographic Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/photograph.html

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Our focus photographer for today, Thomas Eakins, was a leading photography and art educator during the latter part of the 19th century. He was a pioneer in the development of formal studio photography during this period; this model enabled many of the emerging photographers to get started on their careers. He was not without controversy, having what today would be termed “sexual harassment.” He also produced a large number of photographic of nudes, often with both men and women, that offended the contemporary sensibilities.

This is the second part of a two-part series.  GLB

    

“The big artist keeps an eye on nature and steals her tools.”
— Thomas Eakins

“A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.”
— John Singer Sargent

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
— Oscar Wilde

“I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.”
— Salvador Dali

“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”
— Frida Kahlo

“A true portrait should, today and a hundred years from today, the Testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he was.”
— Philippe Halsman

“And then I went round the corner and there’s a Van Gogh portrait, and you just think, well, this is another level. A higher level, actually. I love the Sargent, but it’s not the level of Van Gogh.”
— David Hockney

  

Note:
This posting is intended for the educational use of photographers and photography students and complies with the “educational fair use” provisions of copyright law. For readers who might wish to reuse some of these images should check out their compliance with copyright limitations that might apply to that use.

GLB

  

Thomas Eakins: Painter and Photographer

Eakins_selfportrait Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (1844 – 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history.

For the length of his professional career, from the early 1870s until his health began to fail some forty years later, Eakins worked exactingly from life, choosing as his subject the people of his hometown of Philadelphia. He painted several hundred portraits, usually of friends, family members, or prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine, and clergy. Taken en masse, the portraits offer an overview of the intellectual life of Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons. As well, Eakins produced a number of large paintings which brought the portrait out of the drawing room and into the offices, streets, parks, rivers, arenas, and surgical amphitheaters of his city. These active outdoor venues allowed him to paint the subject which most inspired him: the nude or lightly clad figure in motion. In the process he could model the forms of the body in full sunlight, and create images of deep space utilizing his studies in perspective.

No less important in Eakins’ life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation.

Eakins also took a keen interest in the new technologies of motion photography, a field in which he is now seen as an innovator. Eakins was a controversial figure whose work received little by way of official recognition during his lifetime. Since his death, he has been celebrated by American art historians as "the strongest, most profound realist in nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century American art".

[Continued from Part 1…]

Portraits

EakinsTheGrossClinic The Gross Clinic, 1875,
Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
According to one prescient reviewer
in 1876: This portrait of Dr. Gross
is a great work–we know of nothing
greater that has ever been executed
in America.

"I will never have to give up painting, for even now I could paint heads good enough to make a living anywhere in America."

For Eakins, portraiture held little interest as a means of fashionable idealization or even simple verisimilitude—it provided the opportunity to reveal the character of an individual through the modeling of solid anatomical form. This meant that, notwithstanding his youthful optimism, he would never be a commercially successful portrait painter. Few commissions came his way. But his total output of some two hundred and fifty portraits is characterized by "an uncompromising search for the unique human being".

Often this search for individuality required that the subject be painted in their working environment. His Portrait of Professor Benjamin H. Rand (1874) was a prelude to what many consider his most important work.

"Stunningly illuminated, Dr. Gross is the embodiment of heroic rationalism, a symbol of American intellectual achievement."

William Innes Homer
Thomas Eakins: His Life and Art

In The Gross Clinic (1875), a renowned Philadelphia surgeon, Dr. Samuel D. Gross, is seen presiding over an operation to remove part of a diseased bone from a patient’s thigh. Gross lectures in an amphitheater crowded with students at Jefferson Medical College. Eakins spent nearly a year on the painting, again choosing a novel subject, the discipline of modern surgery, in which Philadelphia was in the forefront. He initiated the project and may have had the goal of a grand work befitting a showing at the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Though rejected for the Art Gallery, the painting was shown on the centennial grounds at an exhibit of a U.S. Army Post Hospital. In sharp contrast, The Chess Players was accepted by the Committee and was much admired at the Centennial Exhibition, and critically praised.

Eakins,_Ashbury_W_Lee_1905 Portrait of Ashbury W. Lee,
oil on canvas, 1905.
Reynolda House

At 96 by 78 inches, it is one of the artist’s largest works, and considered by some to be his greatest. Eakins was elated by the project and stated that “it is very far better than anything I have ever done”. But if Eakins hoped to impress his home town with the picture, he was to be disappointed; public reaction to the painting of a realistic surgical incision and the resultant blood was ambivalent at best, and it was finally purchased by the college for the unimpressive sum of $200. Eakins borrowed it for subsequent exhibitions, where it drew strong reactions, such as that of the New York Daily Tribune, which both acknowledged and damned its powerful image, “but the more one praises it, the more one must condemn its admission to a gallery where men and women of weak nerves must be compelled to look at it. For not to look it is impossible…No purpose is gained by this morbid exhibition, no lesson taught—the painter shows his skill and the spectators’ gorge rises at it—that is all." The college now describes it thus: "Today the once maligned picture is celebrated as a great nineteenth-century medical history painting, featuring one of the most superb portraits in American art".

In 1876, Eakins completed a portrait of Dr. John Brinton, surgeon of the Philadelphia Hospital, and famed for his Civil War service. Done in a ‘dignified’, more informal setting than the Gross Clinic, it was a personal favorite of Eakins, and The Art Journal proclaimed “it is in every respect a more favorable example of this artist’s abilities than his much-talked-of composition representing a dissecting room.”

Other outstanding examples of his portraits include The Agnew Clinic (1889), Eakins’ most important commission and largest painting, which depicted another eminent American surgeon, Dr. David Hayes Agnew, performing a mastectomy; The Dean’s Roll Call (1899), featuring Dr. James W. Holland, and Professor Leslie W. Miller (1901), portraits of educators standing as if addressing an audience; Frank Hamilton Cushing (ca. 1895), in which the prominent ethnologist is seen performing an incantation in a Zuñi pueblo; Professor Henry A. Rowland (1897), a brilliant scientist whose study of spectroscopy revolutionized his field; Antiquated Music (1900), in which Mrs. William D. Frishmuth is shown seated amidst her collection of musical instruments; and The Concert Singer (1890-92), for which Eakins asked Weda Cook to sing "O rest in the Lord", so that he could study the muscles of her throat and mouth.

In order to replicate the proper deployment of a baton, Eakins enlisted an orchestra conductor to pose for the hand seen in the lower left-hand corner of the painting.

Of Eakins’ later portraits, many took as their subjects women who were friends or students. Unlike most portrayals of women at the time, they are devoid of glamor and idealization. For Portrait of Letitia Wilson Jordan (1888), Eakins painted the sitter wearing the same evening dress in which he had seen her at a party. She is a substantial presence, a vision quite different from the era’s fashionable portraiture. So, too, his portrait of Maud Cook (1895), where the obvious beauty of the subject is noted with "a stark objectivity".

The portrait of Miss Amelia C. Van Buren (ca. 1890), a friend and former pupil, suggests the melancholy of a complex personality, and has been called "the finest of all American portraits". Even Susan Macdowell Eakins, a strong painter and former student who married Eakins in 1884, was not sentimentalized: despite its richness of color, The Artist’s Wife and His Setter Dog (ca. 1884-89) is a penetratingly candid portrait.

Thomas_Eakins_circa_1882_cropped Miss Amelia Van Buren, ca. 1891,
The Phillips Collection
Washington, D.C..

Some of his most vivid portraits resulted from a late series done for the Catholic clergy, which included paintings of a cardinal, archbishops, bishops, and monsignors. As usual, most of the sitters were engaged at Eakins’ request, and were given the portraits when Eakins had completed them. In portraits of His Eminence Sebastiano Cardinal Martinelli (1902), Archbishop William Henry Elder (1903), and Monsignor James P. Turner (ca. 1906), Eakins took advantage of the brilliant vestments of the offices to animate the compositions in a way not possible in his other male portraits.

Deeply affected by his dismissal from the Academy, Eakins’s later career focused on portraiture. His steadfast insistence on his own vision of realism, in addition to his notoriety from his school scandals, combined to hurt his income in later years. Even as he approached these portraits with the skill of a highly trained anatomist, what is most noteworthy is the intense psychological presence of his sitters. However, it was precisely for this reason that his portraits were often rejected by the sitters or their families. As a result, Eakins came to rely on his friends and family members to model for portraits. His portrait of Walt Whitman (1887-1888) was the poet’s favorite.

Legacy

Late in life Eakins did experience some recognition. In 1902 he was made a National Academician. In 1914 the sale of a portrait study of D. Hayes Agnew for The Agnew Clinic to Dr. Albert C. Barnes precipitated much publicity when rumors circulated that the selling price was fifty thousand dollars. In fact, Barnes bought the painting for four thousand dollars.

In the year after his death Eakins was honored with a memorial retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in 1917-18 the Pennsylvania Academy followed suit. Susan Macdowell Eakins did much to preserve his reputation, including gifting the Philadelphia Museum of Art with more than fifty of her husband’s oil paintings. After her death in 1938, other works were sold off, and eventually another large collection of art and personal material was purchased by Joseph Hirshhorn, and now is part of the Hirshhorn Museum’s collection. Since then, Eakins’ home in North Philadelphia was put on the National Register of Historic Places list in 1966, and Eakins Oval, across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, was named for the artist. In 1967 The Biglin Brothers Racing (1872) was reproduced on a United States postage stamp.

Eakins’s attitude toward realism in painting, and his desire to explore the heart of American life proved influential. He taught hundreds of students, among them his future wife Susan Macdowell, African-American painter Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Thomas Anshutz, who taught, in turn, Robert Henri, George Luks, John Sloan, and Everett Shinn, future members of the Ashcan School, and other realists and artistic heirs to Eakins’ philosophy. Though his is not a household name, and though during his lifetime Eakins struggled to make a living from his work, today he is regarded as one of the most important American artists of any period.

Eakins_cook Portrait of Maud Cook (1895),
Yale University Art Gallery.

Since the 1990s, Eakins has emerged as a major figure in sexuality studies in art history, for both the homoeroticism of his male nudes and for the complexity of his attitudes toward women. Controversy shaped much of his career as a teacher and as an artist. He insisted on teaching men and women "the same", used nude male models in female classes and vice versa, and was accused of abusing female students. Recent scholarship suggests that these controversies were grounded in more than the "puritanical prudery" of his colleagues (as had been assumed). All the known evidence in the scandals in his life involved heterosexual behavior, so the thesis that he was a latent homosexual or bisexual remains compelling, but unsupported. Today, scholars see these controversies as caused by a combination of factors such as the bohemianism of Eakins and his circle (in which students, for example, sometimes modeled in the nude for each other), the intensity of his friendships with men, including Samuel Murray, and Eakins’s inclination toward provocative behavior.

Thomas_eakins_carrying_a_woman Thomas Eakins Carrying a Woman,
1885. Photograph, circle of Eakins.
[ Frontal Nudity ]

On November 11, 2006 the Board of Trustees at Thomas Jefferson University agreed to sell The Gross Clinic to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas for a record $68,000,000, the highest price for an Eakins painting as well as a record price for an individual American-made portrait. On December 21, 2006, a group of donors agreed to pay $68,000,000 in order to keep the painting in Philadelphia. It will be displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Assessment

On October 29, 1917, Robert Henri wrote an open letter to the Art Students League about Eakins:

"Thomas Eakins was a man of great character. He was a man of iron will and his will to paint and to carry out his life as he thought it should go. This he did. It cost him heavily but in his works we have the precious result of his independence, his generous heart and his big mind. Eakins was a deep student of life, and with a great love he studied humanity frankly. He was not afraid of what his study revealed to him.

In the matter of ways and means of expression, the science of technique, he studied most profoundly, as only a great master would have the will to study. His vision was not touched by fashion. He struggled to apprehend the constructive force in nature and to employ in his works the principles found. His quality was honesty. "Integrity" is the word which seems best to fit him. Personally I consider him the greatest portrait painter America has produced."

In 1982 Lloyd Goodrich completed his comprehensive study of Eakins by writing, in part:

"In spite of limitations–and what artist is free of them?–Eakins’ achievement was monumental. He was our first major painter to accept completely the realities of contemporary urban America, and from them to create powerful, profound art…In portraiture alone Eakins was the strongest American painter since Copley, with equal substance and power, and added penetration, depth, and subtlety."

John Canaday, art critic for The New York Times, in 1964:

"As a supreme realist, Eakins appeared heavy and vulgar to a public that thought of art, and culture in general, largely in terms of a graceful sentimentality. Today he seems to us to have recorded his fellow Americans with a perception that was often as tender as it was vigorous, and to have preserved for us the essence of an American life which, indeed, he did not idealize–because it seemed to him beautiful beyond the necessity of idealization".

     
References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Thomas Eakins… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Eakins

Web Sites and Blogs:

Brainy Quote: Portrait Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/portrait.html

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Our focus photographer for today, Thomas Eakins, was a leading photography and art educator during the latter part of the 19th century. He was a pioneer in the development of formal studio photography during this period; this model enabled many of the emerging photographers to get started on their careers. He was not without controversy, having what today would be termed “sexual harassment.” He also produced a large number of photographic of nudes, often with both men and women, that offended the contemporary sensibilities.

This is the first part of a two-part series.  GLB

    

“The big artist keeps an eye on nature and steals her tools.”
— Thomas Eakins

“A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.”
— John Singer Sargent

“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
— Oscar Wilde

“I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.”
— Salvador Dali

“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”
— Frida Kahlo

“A true portrait should, today and a hundred years from today, the Testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he was.”
— Philippe Halsman

“And then I went round the corner and there’s a Van Gogh portrait, and you just think, well, this is another level. A higher level, actually. I love the Sargent, but it’s not the level of Van Gogh.”
— David Hockney

  

Note:
This posting is intended for the educational use of photographers and photography students and complies with the “educational fair use” provisions of copyright law. For readers who might wish to reuse some of these images should check out their compliance with copyright limitations that might apply to that use.

GLB

  

Thomas Eakins: Painter and Photographer

Eakins_selfportrait Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (1844 – 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history.

For the length of his professional career, from the early 1870s until his health began to fail some forty years later, Eakins worked exactingly from life, choosing as his subject the people of his hometown of Philadelphia. He painted several hundred portraits, usually of friends, family members, or prominent people in the arts, sciences, medicine, and clergy. Taken en masse, the portraits offer an overview of the intellectual life of Philadelphia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; individually, they are incisive depictions of thinking persons. As well, Eakins produced a number of large paintings which brought the portrait out of the drawing room and into the offices, streets, parks, rivers, arenas, and surgical amphitheaters of his city. These active outdoor venues allowed him to paint the subject which most inspired him: the nude or lightly clad figure in motion. In the process he could model the forms of the body in full sunlight, and create images of deep space utilizing his studies in perspective.

No less important in Eakins’ life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation.

Eakins also took a keen interest in the new technologies of motion photography, a field in which he is now seen as an innovator. Eakins was a controversial figure whose work received little by way of official recognition during his lifetime. Since his death, he has been celebrated by American art historians as "the strongest, most profound realist in nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century American art".

Early Years

Eakins was born and lived most of his life in Philadelphia. He was the first child of Caroline Cowperthwait Eakins, a woman of English and Dutch descent, and Benjamin Eakins, a writing master and calligraphy teacher of Scots-Irish ancestry. Benjamin Eakins grew up on a farm in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the son of a weaver. He was successful in his chosen profession, and moved to Philadelphia in the early 1840s to raise his family. Thomas Eakins observed his father at work and by twelve demonstrated skill in precise line drawing, perspective, and the use of a grid to lay out a careful design, skills he later applied to his art.

He was an athletic child who enjoyed rowing, ice skating, swimming, wrestling, sailing, and gymnastics—activities he later painted and encouraged in his students. Eakins attended Central High School, the premier public school for applied science and arts in the city, where he excelled in mechanical drawing. He studied drawing and anatomy at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts beginning in 1861, and attended courses in anatomy and dissection at Jefferson Medical College from 1864-65. For a while, he followed his father’s profession and was listed in city directories as a "writing teacher".

His scientific interest in the human body led him to consider becoming a surgeon. Eakins then studied art in Europe from 1866 to 1870, notably in Paris with Jean-Léon Gérôme, being only the second American pupil of the French realist painter famous as a master of Orientalism. He also attended the atelier of Léon Bonnat, a realist painter who emphasized anatomical preciseness, a method adapted by Eakins. While studying at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he seems to have taken scant interest in the new Impressionist movement, nor was he impressed by what he perceived as the classical pretensions of the French Academy. A letter home to his father in 1868 made his aesthetic clear:

"She [the female nude] is the most beautiful thing there is in the world except a naked man, but I never yet saw a study of one exhibited … It would be a godsend to see a fine man model painted in the studio with the bare walls, alongside of the smiling smirking goddesses of waxy complexion amidst the delicious arsenic green trees and gentle wax flowers & purling streams running melodious up & down the hills especially up. I hate affectation."

Already at age 24, "Nudity and verity were linked with an unusual closeness in his mind." Yet his desire for truthfulness was more expansive, and the letters home to Philadelphia reveal a passion for realism that included, but was not limited to, the study of the figure.

A trip to Spain for six months confirmed his admiration for the realism of artists such as Diego Velazquez and Jusepe de Ribera. In Seville in 1870 he painted Carmelita Requeña, a portrait of a seven year old gypsy dancer more freely and colorfully painted than his Paris studies. That same year he attempted his first large oil painting, A Street Scene in Seville, wherein he first dealt with the complications of a scene observed outside the studio.[14] Although he failed to matriculate and showed no works in the salons, Eakins succeeded in absorbing the techniques and methods of French and Spanish masters, and he began to formulate his artistic vision which he demonstrated in his first major painting upon his return to America. "I shall seek to achieve my broad effect from the very beginning," he declared.

Early Career

Eakins’s first works upon his return from Europe included a large group of rowing scenes, eleven oils and watercolors in all, of which the first and most famous is Max Schmitt in a Single Scull (1871; also known as The Champion Single Sculling). Both his subject and his technique drew attention. His selection of a contemporary sport was “a shock to the artistic conventionalities of the city”. Eakins placed himself in the painting, in a scull behind Schmitt, his name inscribed on the boat.

Max_Schmitt_in_a_Single_Scull  Max Schmitt in a single scull (1871),
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Typically, the work entailed critical observation of the painting’s subject, as well as preparatory drawings of the figure and perspective plans of the scull in the water. Its preparation and composition indicates the importance of Eakins’ academic training in Paris. It was a completely original conception, true to Eakins’ firsthand experience, and an almost startlingly successful image for the artist, who had struggled with his first outdoor composition less than a year before. His first known sale was the watercolor ‘’The Sculler’’ (1874). Most critics judged the rowing pictures successful and auspicious, but after the initial flourish, Eakins never revisited the subject of rowing and went on to other sports themes.

At the same time that he made these initial ventures into outdoor themes, Eakins produced a series of domestic Victorian interiors, often with his father, his sisters or friends as the subjects. ‘’Home Scene’’ (1871), ‘’Elizabeth at the Piano’’ (1875), ‘’The Chess Players’’ (1876) , and ’’Elizabeth Crowell and her Dog’’ (1874), each dark in tonality, focus on the unsentimental characterization of individuals adopting natural attitudes in their homes. It was in this vein that in 1872 he painted his first large scale portrait, ‘’Kathrin’’, in which the subject, Kathrin Crowell, is seen in dim light, playing with a kitten. In 1874 Eakins and Crowell became engaged; they were still engaged five years later, when Crowell died of meningitis in 1879.

Teaching and Dismissal from Academy

Thomas_Eakins_circa_1882_cropped Eakins, circa 1882

He returned to the Pennsylvania Academy to teach in 1876 as a volunteer after the opening of the school’s new Frank Furness designed building, became a salaried professor in 1878, and rose to director in 1882. His teaching methods were controversial: there was no drawing from antique casts, and students received only a short study in charcoal, followed quickly by their introduction to painting, in order to grasp subjects in true color as soon as practical. He encouraged students to use photography as an aid to anatomy and the study of motion, and disallowed prize competitions. Although there was no specialized vocational instruction, students with aspirations for using their school training for applied arts, such as illustration, lithography, and decoration, were as welcome as students interested in becoming portrait artists.

Most notable was his interest in the instruction of all aspects of the human figure, including anatomical study of the human and animal body and surgical dissection; there were also rigorous courses in the fundamentals of form, and studies in perspective which involved mathematics. As an aid to the study of anatomy, plaster casts were made from dissections, duplicates of which were furnished to students. A similar study was made of the anatomy of horses; acknowledging Eakins’ expertise, in 1891 his friend the sculptor William Rudolf O’Donovan asked him to collaborate on the commission to create bronze equestrian reliefs of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant for the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch in Grand Army Plaza In Brooklyn.

'Lincoln_and_Grant'O'Donovan (men)_&_Eakins (horses) ‘Lincoln and Grant’, bronze sculptures by William Rudolf
O’Donovan (men) & Thomas Eakins (horses), 1893-1894,
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York City

Owing to Eakins’ devotion to working from life, the Academy’s course of study was by the early 1880s the most "liberal and advanced in the world". Eakins believed in teaching by example and letting the students find their own way with only terse guidance. He stated his teaching philosophy bluntly, “A teacher can do very little for a pupil & should only be thankful if he don’t hinder him … and the greater the master, mostly the less he can say.” He believed that women should "assume professional privileges" as would men. Life classes and dissection were segregated but women had access to male models (who were nude but for loincloths). The line between impartiality and questionable behavior was a thin one. When a female student, Amelia Van Buren, asked about the movement of the pelvis, Eakins invited her to his studio, where he undressed and "gave her the explanation as I could not have done by words only".

Such incidents, coupled with the ambitions of his younger associates to oust him and take over the school themselves, created tensions between him and the Academy’s board of directors. He was ultimately forced to resign in 1886, for removing the loincloth of a male model in a class where female students were present. His poor judgment and provocative, disdainful behavior didn’t help matters either. Eakins took the dismissal hard. His family was split, with his in-laws siding against him in public dispute. He struggled to protect his name against rumors and false charges, had bouts of ill health, and suffered a humiliation which he felt for the rest of his life. Eakins’ popularity amongst the students was such that a number of them broke with the Academy and formed the Art Students’ League of Philadelphia, where Eakins subsequently instructed.

It was there that he met the student, Samuel Murray, who would become his protege and life-long friend. He also lectured and taught at a number of other schools, including the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy of Design, Cooper Union, and the Art Students’ Guild in Washington, D.C., until he withdrew from teaching by 1898.

Photography

Eakins,_Thomas_(1844-1916)_-_Study_in_the_human_motion Study in Human Motion.
Photograph, Thomas Eakins.

Eakins has been credited with having "introduced the camera to the American art studio". During his study abroad, he was exposed to the use of photography by the French realists, though the use of photography was still frowned upon as a shortcut by traditionalists. In the late 1870s he was introduced to the photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, particularly the equine studies, and became interested in using the camera to study sequential movement. He performed his own motion studies, usually involving the nude figure, and even developed his own technique for capturing movement on film. Where Muybridge’s system relied on a series of cameras triggered to produce a sequence of individual photographs, Eakins preferred to use a single camera to produce a series of exposures on one negative. An excellent example is his painting A May Morning in the Park, which relied heavily on these motion studies to depict the true gait of the four horses pulling the coach of patron Fairman Rogers. But in typical fashion Eakins also employed wax figures and oil sketches to get the final effect he desired.

After Eakins obtained a camera in 1880, several paintings, such as Mending the Net (1881) and Arcadia (1883), are known to have been derived at least in part from his photographs. Some figures appear to be detailed transcriptions and tracings from the photographs by some device like a magic lantern, which Eakins took pains to cover up with oil paint. Eakins’ methods appear to be meticulously applied, and rather than shortcuts, were likely used in a quest for accuracy and realism. The so-called “Naked Series”, which began in 1883, were nude photos of students and professional models which were taken to show real human anatomy from several specific angles, and were often hung up and displayed for study at the school. Later, less regimented poses were taken indoors and out, of men, women, and children, including his wife.

The most provocative, and the only ones combining males and females, were nude photos of Eakins and a female model. Although witnesses and chaparones were usually on site, and the poses were mostly traditional in nature, the sheer quantity of the photos and Eakins’ overt display of them may have undermined his standing at the Academy. In all, about eight hundred photographs are now attributed to Eakins and his circle, most of which are figure studies, both clothed and nude, and portraits. No other American artist of his time matched Eakins’ interest in photography, nor produced a comparable body of photographic works.

[Continued in Part 2…]

          
References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Thomas Eakins… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Eakins

Web Sites and Blogs:

Brainy Quote: Portrait Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/portrait.html

by Gerald Boerner

Sarah Pickering Exhibit at MoCP (NYC)…

To coincide with her Aperture monograph, British photographer Sarah Pickering is presenting an exhibit of her photographic "simulations" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She is noted for her creative images that carry the "what if…" from the left brain into the right brain for visualization. If you happen to be in the New York City environs, catch this exhibit from April 9th to June 10th of this year.

    

Museum of Contemporary Photography 
www.mocp.org

image The Museum of Contemporary Photography is proud to present a monographic exhibition featuring the work of British artist Sarah Pickering. While appearing to exist between reality and illusion, Pickering’s images are actually documents of simulation. The exhibition will present a total of 36 photographs from four recent series of Pickering’s work, spanning from 2002 to the present: Explosions, Fire Scene, Incident, and Public Order.

Sarah Pickering’s photographs disturb our sense of security and illuminate the ways in which we cope with traumatic events that are beyond our control. Her pictures depict environments and events crafted specifically for simulated training to prepare police officers, firefighters, and soldiers for calamities ranging from fire and civil unrest to terrorism and war. By exposing the absurdity and controlled nature of these environments, Pickering’s images reveal our predilection to deflect fear by trying to anticipate and plan for it—and our tendency to create a story to help us process it.

Ultimately Pickering’s photographs raise questions about the efficacy of preparedness and hint at the psychological effort needed to combat and recover from trauma—the struggle to live with the anxiety that can accompany security. Pickering’s Fire Scene pictures (2007), made at the British Fire Service College, document containers outfitted as home environments and set on fire to train forensic teams and crime scene investigators. The interiors are staged as elaborate, crammed domestic spaces, deliberately heavy with a narrative: each fire has been designed according to a specific cause, such as an electric heater malfunctioning, or a glue-sniffing escapade gone wrong. The fire investigators must decipher the origin. Pickering photographs just as the fire catches, and there is a captivating beauty in the blaze and a thrilling quality in the danger and implied rescue it represents. … [MORE]

by Gerald Boerner

  

JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Charles Moore will forever be remembered as the photographer who captured the Civil Rights Movement and the efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr., in his campaigns in the south. Many of his photographs are iconic and represent the best and worst of that era. His passing on March 11th of this year at the age of 79 will leave a major gap that will need to be filled by new photojournalists.

Moore had a way of being on-the-spot to capture those iconic photos of the era. We will miss him and his work, but we can revel in the body of work that he leaves behing.  GLB

    

“The civil rights movement, owes Bull Connor as much as it owes Abraham Lincoln.”
— John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“This is probably the most profound civil rights movement of our generation, without q doubt.”
— Jackie Speier

“Anyone who said he wasn’t afraid during the civil rights movement was either a liar or without imagination. I was scared all the time. My hands didn’t shake but inside I was shaking.”
— James Farmer

“I think it’s long overdue. I’m glad to see that South Carolina and its link to the entire Civil Rights Movement has been noticed nationally and I think the stamps are a good first step,”
— Cecil Williams

“That’s what he was saying, the civil rights movement – judge me for my character, not how black my skin is, not how yellow my skin is, how short I am, how tall or fat or thin; It’s by my character.”
— Pam Grier

“Especially during the civil rights movement, (Taylor) was very, very strong about integrating the police department and the fire department and establishing the Owensboro Human Relations Commission,”
— Mike Walker

“I don’t think there are any pure Africans of the African Americans, but the African part of our history was pretty much taken away from us during slavery, so the 60s gave us a chance, because of the civil rights movement, to kind of re-examine and make some sort of formal connection to our African-ness.”
— Herbie Hancock

“In the South, prior to the Civil Rights movement and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, democracy was the rule. The majority of people were white, and the white majority had little or no respect for any rights which the black minority had relative to property, or even to their own lives. The majority – the mob [and occasionally the lynch mob] – ruled.”
— Neal Boortz

  

Note:
This posting is intended for the educational use of photographers and photography students and complies with the “educational fair use” provisions of copyright law. For readers who might wish to reuse some of these images should check out their compliance with copyright limitations that might apply to that use.

GLB

  

Charles Moore: Documenting the Civil Rights Movement

Moore_head shot Charles Lee Moore (1931 – 2010) was an American photographer most famous for his photographs documenting the Civil Rights Era.

Moore was born in 1931 in Hackleburg, Alabama. He served three years in the U.S. Marines as a photographer and then attended the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif. He next applied for a job as a photographer with the morning and afternoon newspapers The Montgomery Advertiser and The Montgomery Journal.

In 1958, while working in Montgomery, Alabama for the Montgomery Advertiser, he photographed an argument between Martin Luther King, Jr. and two policemen. His photographs were distributed nationally by the Associated Press, and published in Life.

Moore_MLK Arrested The Times Daily of Florence, Ala., reported that Moore began covering the movement as the lone photographer at the scene when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested in Montgomery in 1958. In the years that followed, the Alabama native took some of the most enduring shots of the movement.

From this start, Moore traveled throughout the South documenting the Civil Rights Movement. His most famous photograph, Birmingham, depicts demonstrators being attacked by firemen wielding high-pressure hoses. U.S. Senator Jacob Javits, said that Moore’s pictures "helped to spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Moore_Widow In 1962, Moore left the newspapers to start a freelance career. He worked for the Black Star picture agency, which sold much of his work to Life. For much of his career, he worked for Life magazine.

Moore went on to cover the Vietnam War and many other trouble spots. He then moved on to nature, fashion and travel photography, in addition to corporate work. He also photographed conflicts in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Haiti.

In 1991, a collection of his photographs along with his biography was published: "Powerful Days: The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore."

Moore died at age 79, on March 11, 2010, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Web Site Backgrounder

Moore’s web site, cited below, provides a excellent summary of his life and work. You can view a sampling of his works on his web site by clicking on the link below:

Charles Moore’s Photo Gallery

Highlights of his life are included here.

Charles Moore didn’t plan to photograph the civil rights movement. In September, 1958, he was a 27-year-old photographer for the Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser. When an argument broke out between the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and two policemen, Moore was the only photographer on the scene. His striking pictures of Dr. King’s arrest were distributed nationwide by the Associated Press, and one was published in Life magazine. A new career had begun.

moore-4 Over the next seven years, Moore made some of the most significant pictures of the civil rights movement. As a contract photographer for Life magazine, Moore traveled the South to cover the evolving struggle. His photographs helped bring the reality of the situation to the magazine’s huge audience, which at the time comprised over half the adults in the United States. According to former U.S. Senator Jacob Javits, Moore’s pictures "helped to spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Moore_MLK in Alabama, 1960 Some of the major events that Moore covered: the early efforts of Dr. King to desegregate Montgomery, Alabama (1958-60); the violent reaction to the enrollment of James Meredith as the first black student at the University of Mississippi (1962); the Freedom March from Tennessee to Mississippi (1963); the campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama (1963); voter registration drives in Mississippi (1963-1964); Ku Klux Klan activities in North Carolina (1965); and the march from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama (1965). Pictures from each of these events are included on this site.

Moore_VoteMoore also photographed the civil war in the Dominican Republic, political violence in Venezuela and Haiti, and the Vietnam conflict. His editorial and travel photography has appeared in major magazines in the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America. Moore has received many awards for corporate/industrial photography, as well as travel and calendar work. He is well-known for location photography of celebrities, including actors, dancers, and musicians.

Charles Moore on the Job In 1989, Charles Moore received the first Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism. With Kodak’s support, Moore has lectured and presented his work at universities and photography workshops around the country. His work has been exhibited at many museums and other institutions. Moore is represented by the New York photo agency Black Star; his art prints are sold through the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City. All of Moore’s black-and-white photographs are made on 35-mm Kodak Tri-X Pan film.

The accompanying photos, and many more, appear in Powerful Days, The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore (New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1991). A new edition of The Motherlode, Moore’s book about California’s gold-rush country, will be published by Chronicle Books this Spring. Charles Moore now lives in Shelburne Falls, Mass.

A Tribute to Charles Moore

Allan Weitz, in his blog on B&H Insights, provided the following tribute to Moore and his work. (Please check out the full article at the citation within the References section.)

On March 16th, 2010, Charles Moore, one of the giants of photojournalism’s golden age, passed away at the age of 79. Moore, who earned his stripes in the battlefield of the 1960’s civil rights movement, has been long-recognized as the photographer whose startling, ‘you-are-there’ imagery jumped off the pages of Life magazine and influenced not only public opinion, but the thoughts and opinion of the champion of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, President Johnson.

Moore_Alabama, 1965 The son of a Southern preacher, Moore served as a US Marines photographer during WWII, followed by several stints as a newspaper photographer. His big break came when, as a freelance journalist represented by the Black Star photo agency, he began documenting the civil rights movement at a time when southern Blacks, with growing support from others around the country began speaking out against a social system that was clearly stacked unfairly – and often brutally – against them.

moore-7 While Moore was hardly alone in documenting the many marches and demonstrations taking place in cities and towns across the South, it was Moore’s photographs that grabbed the reader and placed them center stage in the events. Moore preferred using shorter focal-length lenses, which forced him to shoot from within the field of action rather than observing things from a safer distance. In fact, it wasn’t unusual to spot Moore in photographs taken by other photographers covering the same events. As a result he was also punched, kicked, and arrested more often than fellow-shooters, but at the end of the day its Moore’s iconic photographs that remain burned into our collective memories of those tumultuous times.

Moore_College Students Attacked When reflecting back on Moore’s heyday, it’s also worth noting how the art, craft, and discipline of photography have changed. Today, anyone with a cell phone can qualify as a ‘journalist’, and even those who invest in a ‘real’ camera have the luxury of auto this, auto that, and the ability to capture stills with an extraordinary level of speed and ease. Working with hand meters and the occasional motor-drive (true beasts by today’s standards), Moore and his contemporaries had to set exposures, frame, focus, and shoot images without benefit of automation, and often one frame at a time. And with rare exception, there aren’t many shooters out there today capable of capturing monumental moments in time with the same perception and skill as Charles Moore.

     

References

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Charles Moore… 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Moore_%28photographer%29

Web Sites and Blogs:

The New York Times: Charles Moore, Rights-Era Photographer, Dies at 79…
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/arts/16moore.html?scp=2&sq=charles%20moore&st=cse

B&H Insights: Charles Moore Remembered…
http://photography.bhinsights.com/content/charles-moore-remembered.html

Kodak: Charles Moore Biography…
http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/features/moore/aboutCharlesMoore.shtml

Kodak: Charles Moore Civil Rights Photos…
http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/features/moore/mooreIndex.shtml?CID=go&idhbx=civilrights

Think Exist: Civil Rights Movement…
http://thinkexist.com/search/searchQuotation.asp?search=Civil+Rights+Movement