Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) is best remembered for portraits of American politicians and other civic worthies of the early 20th century. And of course for the famous garden work, preserved on hand-colored glass slides. Yet in early days she staged and recorded any number of outdoor genre scenes. Taken together, these wispy young women represent the first wave of a radical fashion-transformation. At last, the cinched corset of the 19th century was giving way to looser silhouettes, including diaphanous draperies like those below (as inspired by that apostle of personal freedom and barefoot dancing, Isadora Duncan).

Four Figures 

Wood Nymph

Mrs. Florence Fleming Noyes, Scarf Dance

Helen Hay

Alice Hay

Mrs. Elizabeth Cameron

Mrs. Elizabeth Cameron

Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt with Quentin

Mrs. Whittemore

Whittemore House