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New York: Alexander, Lucas, Mitchell, Pach, Shelton, Underwoods    Nov 25, '09 3:35 AM
by Vlad for group historicalziegfeld #174

Kenneth Alexander
Time Period: 1920-1940
Location: 542 5th Ave, NYC, 6885 Hollywood Blvd, CA
“Early in his career (from 1921 to 1927) he practiced female portraiture exclusively. Sitters were formally seated and display gravity as well as charm. He avoided any element of risque sex appeal and so provided an alternative to the tendency to eroticize women sitters found in the work of John De Mirjian, Alfred Cheney Johnston, and Georges DeBarron. When his movie work began dominating his trade, he diversified, shooting stills and male portraits. He became known in Hollywood for shooting scene shots showing production numbers in which a star was contrasted with a chorus or a crowd.”
© David S. Shields

George W. Lucas
Time Period: 1905-1942
Location: 17 West 48th Street, Manhattan
“Devised the flare method of photographic illumination. Did production photography?photographs of stage action taken usually dead center from the 10thow of the orchestra after the dress rehearsal Lucas photographed the best of the White Studio stage portraits. His earliest work 1905-1910 sometimes suffers from a rather schematic arrangement caused by slow shutter speeds. By the 1910s, faster exposures enable a looser, more spontaneous looking stage picture. He also took to putting the camera on stage and shooting close up dramatic scenes, particularly in drawing room dramas. When leading his own studio from 1936-1942, he availed himself of hand-held cameras with high speed film and rapid shutters, so the pictures reflect the dynamism of stage action. He did not do portrait work.”
© David S. Shields

Herbert Mitchell
Time Period: 1928-1940
Location: 1500 Broadway, Manhattan NY, 36 Arden Street
“Master of floating heads and the waist-up portrait shot with sitters posed at an angle 25-50 degrees off center. By frequently employing light toned patterned or plain backgrounds, he endeared himself to periodical photo editors for whom the dark backgrounds favored by art photographs presented reproduction difficulties. He never used props. He preferred shooting personalities in their own clothes rather than costumes. He had a talent for suggesting that the sitter was absorbed in thought or amused at his or her surroundings. He signed his best pieces in white ink. In the 1930s he offered the following observations about facial features and their contribution to attractiveness. 'A large mouth is more alluring than a perfectly-shaped small one for it denotes a gay, magnanimous character. Eyes are most important. Large, soulful ones or narrow, deep-set eyes each have a very definite attraction . . . . you cannot make up a certain set of rules. Little irregularities make a face more interesting.'”
© David S. Shields

Pach Brothers Studio
Time Period: 1867-1980s
Location: 935 Broadway, 570 Fifth Avenue, NYC & 17 branches
“Diversified photographic service with emphasis on portraiture of the professional classes. Because of the Studios initial backing by Gen. U. S. Grant, it became the official studio of West Point. Generations of U. S. Army officers had their promotion pictures taken by Gustavus or Gotthelf Pach. In the final decades of the 19th century, the firm developed a national reputation for college portraiture. It opened branches in the Ivy League towns. Gustavus Pach invented dry plate methods of printing and the 'flashlight' method of illuminating scenes, using magnesium powder, alcohol, & a blow torch. It would be the prevalent method of lighting theatrical production shots until the 1905. Theatrical photography was a subsidiary element of a wider practice of photography, with portraiture prevailing over production shots. During the 1910s and 1920s under second generation director Alfred Pach, the studio excelled in large format images of performers in contemporary clothing.”
© David S. Shields

Philip H Shelton
Time Period: 1920s (?)
Location: New York

Underwood & Underwood
Time Period: 1888-1930s
Location: Multiple Branch Offices
“Diversified agency that came to power popularizing the steroegraph and by doing pioneering work in photojournalism. In the 1910s expanded its coverage of the world of entertainment with an emphasis on celebrity portraiture. Made an early specialty of candid shots of stage stars, usually seen at home. Bert Underwood did the earliest important formal portrait studies of stage personalities. Several uncredited lensmen shot the entertainment material in the 1920s.”
© David S. Shields

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