Frank Eugene German, b. United States, 1865-1936
Pictorial photographer Frank Eugene was known for his skillful hand-manipulation of images. Born Frank Eugene Smith in New York City, he attended City College of New York, then studied at the Royal Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Initially trained as a painter, Eugene took up photography in the mid-1880s and by the turn of the century was exhibiting his work widely. In 1899 he took part in exhibitions at the London Salon and at the Camera Club of New York, and the following year was elected to membership in England's Linked Ring. In 1902 Eugene became a founding member of the Photo-Secession and was selected by Alfred Stieglitz to be among the group of American photographers displaying work at the Esposizione Internationale d'Arte Moderna in Turin, Italy. That same year he was also included in the first Photo-Secession exhibition at the National Arts Club in New York. He subsequently participated in numerous photographic salons and shows, including the well-known 1910 exhibition of pictorial photography organized by Stieglitz for the Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo. Eugene's work was also featured in several issues of Camera Work between 1904-16 (Stieglitz having earlier reproduced his photographs in Camera Notes).
In 1906 Eugene moved to Germany, where he worked as a painter and continued to take photographs. Known as a "painter-photographer," he often manipulated a photographic image by drawing on the negative or marking it with an etching needle in order to achieve a desired effect in the final picture. In 1913 he was appointed to the world's first chair in pictorial photography at the Royal Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig. M.M.
Prescott Adamson American, 1866-1933
Possibly born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Prescott Adamson lived in Philadelphia from 1897-1911, where he worked as a business manager. As a photographer, he was active in the Photo-Secession, his work appearing in both Camera Notes and Camera Work. From the late 1890s into the early 1900s, Adamson exhibited not only in Pennsylvania but also in salons in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities, as well as in England and Italy. He was a member of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia and, in 1900, gave at least two lectures to the group, one on platinotype toning and another on lantern slides. T.W.F.
Robert Demachy French, 1859-1936
Born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Robert Demachy was a banker of independent means whose rarefied and varied interests ranged from racing cars to music, literature, and art. His American wife, Julia Adelia Delano, was related to Franklin Roosevelt. In the field of photography, Demachy was both practitioner and theoretician, writing five books and more than 1,000 articles on aesthetic and technical issues. He was a leader in the manipulative style in which the negative was used as the basis for producing prints that approached aquatint and other intaglio media in their overtly artistic, handworked qualities. He was especially known for his work with the gum bichromate and oil printing processes, the latter of which he pioneered and developed with Alfred Maskell. He later abandoned photography for sketching and drawing.
Demachy's photographs often have the quality of paintings, drawings, or intaglio prints and are frequently printed in color. His varied subject matter is often treated in an idealized manner, characteristic of the pictorialism prevalent during the time he worked (roughly 1880-1914). Demachy was a member of the Société française de photographie, the Linked Ring, and the Photo-Secession. In 1894 he helped to found the Photo Club de Paris. He was also a member of honor of the Royal Photographic Society and a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. T.W.F.