It’s Father’s Day, and because my father (who was both my friend and my mentor throughout my career) and his work on Atlanta’s bygone photographers — in particular his ongoing lists of African Americans and women working in photography — inspired me to seek out more information on all of Georgia’s forgotten photographers, I have picked this day to make my research available to more people.
“Well,” I would love to tell my Dad, “so far I’ve documented over 55 African Americans and over 160 women (four of them African Americans) working in photography across the state from 1841 to 1921, and some into the 1930s!” [Note: as of May 2015 I have documented 86 black photographers and associates working in Georgia, seven of whom are women].
I know that would make him happy, but he would have some pretty silly, pretty funny comment to make, keeping me grounded in the here and now, knowing that there will be many more of these discoveries for me to make. Good grief, I am still trying to complete my 1862-1885 checklist!
I miss him every day, but in my dreams he is often around, and hale and hearty, no longer attached to an oxygen-producing machine as he was the last four years of his life….and he is just there, sitting comfortably, reading, reading, reading, and telling jokes.
I found the following excerpt so appropriate to the way I feel about my own father’s gifts to me, that when I read it several years ago, I had to write it down. It’s from Robert MacNeil’s memoir, Wordstruck:
“Death had recomposed his face and made it quite youthful. So much lived life, so much unlived. To [me] he bequeathed his accomplishments and the things he did not do. It is significant how much of our lives we have spent doing just those things, balancing his account with life. Thus in his fantasies he moves us still. There was plenty of him to go around.”
The link to my ongoing checklist of Early Georgia Photographers, 1841-1861 is below, at the end of the post. This is my most up to date revision, but I will make changes every time my research calls for it – this is a living document – so don’t hesitate to check this list again, and again.
Click any image to enlarge
Although this particular checklist has its origins in one that was published several years ago, in the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly, spring 2008 (v. 44 #1), there have been significant changes made to that original data.
In addition to my corrections to (sometimes obvious, sometimes not) errors, there are many, many additional photographers on this list. To those already listed, many have revised dates of activity and/or location, and additional birth and death dates. My additions and changes are in RED, which may drive some of you crazy [Note: as of 2015 recent additions and/or changes are in Blue and those will be changed to Black when I next update]. Have fun exploring it.