History of photography

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History of photography
Clarence White

Clarence H. White, c1910. Portrait by Gertrude Käsebier
Clarence H. White, in full Clarence Hudson White (born April 8, 1871, West Carlisle, Ohio, U.S.—died July 8, 1925, Mexico City, Mex.), American photographer known for subtle portraits of women and children and also as an influential teacher of photography.

White had from his early years an appetite for artistic and intellectual pursuits. After finishing high school in Newark, Ohio, he took a job as an accountant in his father’s grocery business and married in 1893. He taught himself the art of photography and photographed constantly despite his limited free time and finances; he costumed and posed family members and friends in the early dawn or evening hours, in their homes and in the open and produced elegantly posed and subtly lit images. White’s work came to public attention in 1898 at the First Philadelphia Photographic Salon; asked to be a judge the following year, White met important figures in American art photography, among them F. Holland Day, Gertrude Käsebier, Edward Steichen, and Alfred Stieglitz.

In 1902 White helped found Photo-Secession, a group of photographers that promoted Pictorialism, a fine-arts approach to photography. After a few years of making a living as a traveling portraitist, White moved with his family in 1906 to New York City. A year later he was hired to teach the first photography course to be given at Columbia University, a circumstance that enabled him to renounce commercial work. In 1910 he and several friends—including Day, Käsebier, and the painter Max Weber—began a summer school, held first on Seguin Island in Maine and later in East Canaan, Conn. Encouraged by his friends, White in 1914 opened the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York City. He also taught at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. His influence on the next generation of photographers was notable; many among his students—who included Laura Gilpin, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Paul Outerbridge, Ralph Steiner, and Doris Ulmann—went on to become successful photographers.

Although White had become a socialist early in his career, he did not consider the camera a tool for social change but regarded the medium as a means of expressing beauty. Until the end of his life, he continued to promote artistic photography through teaching, exhibitions, and associations with advertising art directors. The genteel subject matter and subtle lighting effects visible in his work came to epitomize the Pictorialist approach to photography at the turn of the century.

Encyclopædia Britannica

Ring Toss, 1899


Bashful Child, 1899


White Raindrops


Miss Grace


Letitia Felix


The May Pole, 1899

Telegraph Poles 1898

Spring - A Triptych 1898

"The Watcher", 1906


Boy with Wagon, 1898


The Orchard, 1902


The Kiss, 1905


Pipes of Pans, 1905


Boy with Camera Work, 1905


Experiment #27 - Jointely created by White and Alfred Stieglitz


Nude, 1908


Rose Pastor Stokes, 1909

Landscape with Figure

La Curios 1915

Nude 1905

Morning, the bathroom 1906

Dancers from Barnard College Greek Games 1911

Letitia Felix seated

Dancers from Barnard College Greek Games 1911


The Readers (Letitia Felix and Ada Follett), Newark, Ohio 1897








The Torso (Miss Thompson), 1907