National Photography Month~ May 29

The Grape-Vine Swing by Mary Morgan Keipp

c.1900-1904 / Platinum print / Image: 8 1/4″x6 1/4″ / Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC

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Because her photographic activity was not reported in Selma newspapers and was completely unknown outside her family at her death, her images were apparently not intended to influence Alabamians’ ideas about race and culture. Instead, they are most appropriately viewed as Keipp’s personal appreciation of rural and small-town Alabama life and a means of artistic and perhaps social discovery.
~Encyclopedia of Alabama

National Photography Month~ May 28

French WWI soldiers warm themselves around a fire behind the lines in Lorraine
by Harriet Chalmers Adams

1917 / Digital image found online / National Geographic Image Collection, DC

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[Harriet Chalmers Adams] traversed Asia and attended Haile Selassie’s coronation as emperor of Ethiopia. During World War I, she was the first female journalist allowed to photograph the French trenches, where she stayed for months.

National Photography Month~ May 27

Voices of the Woods by Caroline Haskins Gurrey

1909 / Photo print / 10″x12″ / National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

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Between 1905 and 1909, Gurrey produced a series of fifty portraits of Native Hawaiians and other young men and women of mixed-race heritage, largely depicting people from the Kamehamaha School. These portraits were exhibited at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, Washington, and some were shown at the San Francisco Exposition (1915).
~Smithsonian National Anthropological Archives

National Photography Month~ May 26

A Ruby Kindles in the Vine by Adelaide Hanscom Leeson

1905, 1909, 1912, 1914 / From The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam translated by Edward FitzGerald,
illustrated with photographs by Adelaide Hanscom Leeson and Blanche Cumming

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In late 1903 she began working on a series of photographs to illustrate the classic selection of poems, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The concept of illustrating a literary work with fine art photographs was new at that time, and The Rubaiyat was one of the very first American books in this genre.

National Photography Month~ May 25

Helen Keller by the Gerhard Sisters

c.1914 / Photographic print from copy neg
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, DC

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The Gerhards began their photography careers as young women. They studied for three years with Fitz W. Guerin, the best-known St. Louis portraitist and a photographer of staged scenes. When Guerin retired in January 1903, the Gerhards acquired his studio and negatives.
~Prints & Photographs Reading Room, LOC

National Photography Month~ May 24

A Little Shaver by Beatrice Tonnesen

c.1899 / Photographic print from copy neg
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, DC

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The Tonnesen sisters are credited with the creation of modern commercial photography in 1897. “One day we thought up a fine scheme. We would make advertising pictures using live models. It had never been done before,” she later recalled…The photographs she made were marketed to large companies in Chicago who purchased the rights to use them in their advertisements.
~ ©Scott Cross,

On the life and work of photographer Beatrice Tonnesen~

National Photography Month~ May 23

Gustav Klimt by Pauline Kruger Hamilton

c.1909 / Autotype print / Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria

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A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, she performed as a zither soloist and was a well known artist. For a number of years, she was designated as the official photographer for the court of Franz Josef, former Emperor of Austria.
~A Snapshot of Pauline Kruger

National Photography Month~ May 22

May Day by Kate Matthews

From the book The American Annual of Photography, 1911

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Matthews used that big bellows-style camera with glass plate negatives, black hood, and tripod for the rest of her life. She experimented with cameras that captured snapshots via automatic shutters, but she considered her photography an art and preferred to control light exposure with a lens cap. She also controlled every step of the development process in her own darkroom.
~Kate Matthews Collection, Photographic Archives, University of Louisville, KY

National Photography Month~ May 21

Patchin Place, leading off from 10th Street by Jessie Tarbox Beals

1916 / Gelatin silver print / 10″x8″ / New-York Historical Society, NY, NY

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Jessie Tarbox Beals ended her 12-year teaching career in 1900. That September, she received her first credit line from Vermont’s Windham County Reformer, for photos made for a fair. These gave her the distinction of being one of the first published woman photojournalists.
~Prints & Photographs Reading Room, LOC

National Photography Month~ May 20

Theodore Roosevelt by Zaida Ben-Yúsuf

c.1899 / Platinum print / 8″x6 1/3″ / Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, DC

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Starting in 1896, Ben-Yúsuf worked in several areas of photography–fine art, fashion, theater, celebrity portraiture, newspapers, and illustration–and also wrote magazine articles with photographic illustrations. In the art photography field, she rose quickly to the highest echelons in London and New York. ~Prints & Photographs Reading Room