Aug 21, 2007

Portrait of Clarence H. White (1871-1925)

Portrait of Clarence H. White (1871-1925)

c. 1898

Ema Spencer

(American, 1857–1941)

Platinum print with graphite

Image: 20.2 x 14.9 cm (7 15/16 x 5 7/8 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

Gift of John Flory, Elizabeth Flory Kelly, and Phoebe Flory 1980.174



A native of Newark, Ohio, Spencer was a talented photographer who received national and international recognition for her work created in the prevailing Pictorial style. As a founder of the Newark Camera Club, she met and encouraged the young photographer Clarence White and then studied under him, assimilating his ability to render portraits with an innate gentleness. In this image, Spencer skillfully orchestrated the composition and captured the subtle effects of natural light. She looked to her teacher's early work when applying soft graphite strokes to the finished photograph for structural emphasis and tonal shading. This charming portrait celebrates the simple pleasures of unhurried living, like reading a book in a sun-filled room.

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