From time to time I search for images or information about a 1890's photographer, Isaac Benjamin (another story) and this time I found a reference on an interesting web site called Photoseed, a blog well worth spending time on.

Not only two more images of my photographer but a bonus image by Garo.

All of these are to be found in the The Vollgros Collection of Masterpieces of American Photographs.

"Published late in 1903, (Library of Congress Copyright Office) the Vollgros Collection of Masterpieces of American Photographs is a rare portfolio of 40 mounted photographs advertised as being printed in heliogravure, also known as photogravure. The work is intended as a manifesto of sorts promoting the new school of American photography...Pictorialist in spirit, all of the plates are by Americans as spelled out in the title of the portfolio, with a few done by the now well-known pictorial photographers Annie Brigman of California and Frances Benjamin Johnston of Washington, D.C.. The purpose and intent of the work seems to have been to assemble a strong accounting nationally of some of the better known, mostly amateur photographers working around the very turn of the 20th Century."

I knew that Stieglitz struggled with Boston as the epicentre of American Photography, and I suppose I should have known that there were other foci of American work, but I never realized that there were published examples and outright statements of manifesto out there.

In the course of searching around I found a list of Stieglitz's collection of photographic exhibitions in a university collection, not a single one of which was west of New York!

I also came across J.C. Strauss, who was active in the 1890's and was a respected and popular photographer of the Mid West. He was a supporter of Photography as Art and was a supporter of presenting Photographs in the same venue as Fine Art at exhibitions. Indeed at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1903 he was a leader in the effort to have photographs presented as Fine Art. As was Stieglitz, but only if he was the leader. A verbal battle ensued and Stieglitz was of the opinion that Straus could not speak for photographers as he was insufficiently acquainted with the "better" photography of the Photo-Secession. They had the same objective but if Stieglitz could not be the leader he would boycott the exhibition.

How was Stieglitz able to overcome other schools of thought in Boston and Philadelphia, much less make the Mid-West and the Far-West disappear?

Inadvertently, I came across this essay. it is well worth a read but is a long read, so only if one is really interested in the political and rhetorical techniques by which Stieglitz was able to weave the Photo-Secession, Camera Work and the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession into the dominant photographic opinion makers and history makers that they were.
Actually this essay is a master class in the domination of strongly led movement of multiples of other movements.