Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Brian H. Peterson

"Self Portrait", 2009

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


From "Trees, Stones, Water and Light" Series

From "Trees, Stones, Water and Light" Series

"Vatican", 1979

From "Forrest Light" Series

From "Forrest Light" Series

From "Interior Light"Series

From "Portraits, Helen"

From "Rock Forms" Series

From "Earth Forms" Series

From "Life Forms" Series

From "Sea of Light" Series

"I Sing the Body" Series:

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

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

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

Biography from Santa Bannon Fine Art Gallery:

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

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

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

Frances Benjamin Johnston

Self Portrait, 1896

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



Alice Roosevelt Wedding Portrait, 1906

Rose Putzel, 1910

Ethel Reed:  American Graphic Artist, 1896

Susan B. Anthony, ca. 1890

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

Eadweard Muybridge:  Photographer, ca. 1890

Charles Follen McKim:  Architect, ca. 1890

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

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

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

Mammouth Cave, Kentucky, 1891

A Crack with the Blacksmith, ca. 1900

George Washington Carver and Coworkers, Tuskegee Institute, 1902

Laboratory Class, Tuskegee Institute, 1902

Mechanical Drawing Class, Hampton Institute, 1899

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

Native American Children Going to School, 1899

Schoolgirls Doing Calisthenics, 1899

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

Isadora Duncan's Dance Students

 Biography from Wikipedia:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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