Home / Photographers / Witzel Studios - Albert Witzel, Max Munn Autrey, Walter Frederick Seely / Witzel Studios (Seely, Autrey)_vlad [748]

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Witzel Studios (Seely, Autrey) (A-L)    Jun 17, '10 12:18 AM
by Vlad for group historicalziegfeld #443

Witzel Studios (Seely, Autrey) (M-Z)    Jun 17, '10 12:43 AM
by Vlad for group historicalziegfeld #444

Witzel Studios (Seely, Autrey)
Witzel, LA & Witzel, Hollywood
Albert Witzel (1879-1929)
Max Munn Autrey (1898–1971)
Walter Frederick Seely (1886-196?)

Albert Witzel
Time Period: 1910s-1920s (?)
Location: 811 S. Hill Road, Los Angeles, & 536 S. Broadway


“Witzel would take up that one clientele that had little interested Steckel—show people. At a time when performers were all too conscious of their unexalted status in the eyes of Society, any visual tincture of class that might be attached to one’s image was welcomed. They wanted Gainsborough country as their surroundings too. Witzel obliged and became the favorite southern California photographer on the coastal theater circuit.

He had a penchant for dark backgrounds with indistinct detail, a mysterious space, perhaps wooded, perhaps empty. His exhibition prints tended to use richly shadowed “Rembrandt lighting,” using single source natural light in a studio, amplified, concentrated, or diffused by mirrors and scrims."


Walter Frederick Seely (1886-196?).
Time Period: 1910s-1930s (?)
Location: Los Angeles


“Walter F. Seely was one of the most artful of the L.A. performing arts photographers.

Trained as a landscape painter, Seely had co-directed the Redwood Gallery in Eureka with his brother Ed Seely from 1907 to 1911, so knew how to run a studio. Seely stayed with Witzel until setting up an independent gallery under his own name in 1920 and created the most daringly designed images produced under the Witzel brand. His fine arts background inclined him to horizontal formats and reclining figures, a different orientation and disposition of subject than the vertical stock-in-trade of portraitists. A colorist whose eyes had been nourished by the natural tones of his native California, Seely imported into his photography an exquisite sense of tonal modulation and lighting dramatics. He favored the spare ornaments and props of pictorialist portraiture—the fat bellied urns, ewers, and ollas—and embraced pictorialism’s interest in exotic costume. He had a finer sense of pictorial design than Witzel, but not as great an interest in the subtleties of facial expression. That part of Witzel drawn to glitz—to visual sensation for its own sake—found an amplifying eye in Seely. After Seely’s departure, Witzel sought someone who could take his place.”
© David S. Shields.

Max Munn Autrey
Time Period: 1920s-1950s (?)
Location: Los Angeles

“Fox’s versatile photographer in the 1920s often exemplified moods or ideas in his sitters. He remained an active force until the 1950s.

After hiring a series of journeymen cameramen, Witzel discovered an artist in Texan Max Munn Autrey. As decidedly as Seely was a pictorialist, Autrey was a glamourist. He always sought for integral effect, poses that enhanced the sitter’s mystique, and lighting that made the image more sensuous and more spiritual simultaneously. The enthusiasm of Witzel’s motion picture clientele for Autrey’s work grew so great, that he set up a branch studio in Hollywood which Autrey manned from 1922 to 1924. The praise finally prompted Autrey to become independent. Both Seely and Autrey would become independent artists working under their own credit lines in the early 1920s and to maintain private studios after being contracted by motion picture studios later in the decade. fromAfter the forced relocation of Witzel’s Hill Street studio to 7th street in November 1923, and the departure of Autrey from the Holleywood branch in 1924, Albert Witzel’s zest for his craft declined.”
© David S. Shields.

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