Tour of USA
January 1911 edition of the journal, American
of the best-known portrait photographers in England
should have said Britain!], William Crooke of
Edinburgh and Walter Barnett of London sailed on December 17 for a six
weeks' tour of the United States, during which they plan to visit some of
the leading professionals of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
Washington, Pittsburg, St Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Niagara Falls,
Buffalo, Rochester, Boston, and other places.
gentlemen were asked by some of their American friends to bring
collections of their portrait work.
Mr Crooke will have with him about sixty of his large pictures, made
within the last few years, many of which have been shown at the
exhibitions of the Royal Photographic Society and the Salon.
Barnett will bring one hundred uniform prints, all of one size, 61/2
x 81/2, and all made during the month of
November 1910. This display of the regular everyday work done in a
single month will prove extremely interesting to photographers, and is a
very unusual exhibit.
Photography: 1911, p.55]
to JC Straus' studio, St Louis
May 1911 edition of the journal, American
Photography, reported on the visit by William Crooke and
Walter Barnett to America - in particular on their visit to St Louis where
the photographer JC Strauss acted as host, inviting both gentlemen and
several North American photographers to his studio.
and others - St Louis
taken in the Court, JC Strauss Studio, St Louis, USA.
by courtesy of Edinburgh Photographic Society [American
Photography: May 1911]
ROW (left to right): Henry Havelock Pierce (Boston), Lewis
Godlove (St Louis), William Crooke (Edinburgh), Judge MN Sale
(St Louis), Fred J Feldman (El Paso)
(Left to Right): Frank A
Rinehart (Omaha), H Walter Barnett
(London), Frank Scott Clark (Detroit), AJ Fox (St
Louis), JC Strauss (St Louis), EE Doty (Battle Creek), E
Strauss arranged an exhibition of photographs by Messrs Crooke and
Barnett, and opened the exhibition to the public for two weeks.
JC Strauss also arranged for nine of
the photographers to photograph one of the visitors to the exhibition,
Miss Maude Hellman, in his studio.
photographer was allowed ten minutes to take his photographs. Sixty
plates were exposed, and one photograph from each of the photographers was
reproduced in the May edition of American
William Crooke's photo appeared on the cover.
Photography: May 1911]
photographers had to work fast.
the costume in which she first appeared did not suit, part of the
time was spent changing it."
most lasting impression I gained was that each and every one of the men
for whom I posed was an artist. ..."
work of some of the men was wonderful. Pierce had me change my
costume twice in ten minutes, and yet managed to take ten pictures.
Louis Star: Reported in BJP, 17 Feb 1911, p.121]
Photograph by William Crooke
by courtesy of Edinburgh Photographic Society
Photography: May 1911]
Miss Hellman commented on the styles
of each of the photographers. Commenting on the approach taken by William
Crooke, she said:
Crooke of Edinburgh, who was the first, impressed me as a big
artist. He worked quickly and seemed interested in getting simple
results in a striking way, however. He has a trick of uttering half
stifled exclamations of approval when he gets a pose that pleases
Photography: 1911, p 264]
response to questions, William Crooke commented on American women.
Here are a few responses he gave when questioned about American women:
their magnificent carriage . They are beautifully set up and their
gait is wonderful"
women not only have good figures, but they wear their clothes close
to them, in a manner which brings out the perfection of lines to the best
advantage. They do not bedeck themselves with a lot of unnecessary
ribbons, frills and fol-de-rolls. ..."
do not necessary mean to imply, however, that I find your women any more
fascinating than those in my country. Our women are more irregular
of feature, but that very fact gives a new interest. and a new subject for
study, in every fresh face."
"I think your people must be fonder of being photographed than ours.
In Princes Street, the principal thoroughfare of Edinburgh, where my
studio is located, there are perhaps five or six studios, whereas in Fifth
Avenue, New York there are perhaps fifty or sixty."
Photography: 1911, pp 264]
Crooke returned to this theme again a couple of months later, when
interviewed by a special representative from the British Journal of Photography
in his Edinburgh studio. Crooke said:
people are slow to be photographed, and pass away off the face of the
earth without any portrait being left behind; except, perhaps, a
snapshot taken by some friend in the back yard - up against the hen house,
that is taken to some long-suffering professional, and he is asked to make
something of it."
14 April 1911]
Thank you to Tom Yanul for
sending me the photograph below of J C Strauss with Miss Hellman:
J C Strauss
and Miss Hellman
Photographed around 1911
with acknowledgement to Tom Yanul
Tom explains how he recently acquired this photograph:
1940, when Louis Strauss closed the Strauss studio, he fortunately
left the negatives with Edwyn studio in St Louis.
Last week a
made an emergency trip from Chicago to the Edwyn studio and
purchased the remaining
J C Strauss materials.
It was apparent that not all the Strauss negatives had been
saved but I was very pleased to have saved the few boxes of glass
negatives that were extant.
they were in was going to be demolished and I had three days
to get there, or else all the contents would have been destroyed.
Of the few
boxes of big glass negs that date from the early years at Strauss, a
couple were of the "Hellman" girl(s).
the female model at the Strauss studio when William Crooke was there.
I thought you might enjoy seeing J.C. Strauss her with
as shown in the negative.
Strauss negative is not dated, it would seem its very close to the
time of Crooke's tour, judging by the ages of both.
Tom Yanul, Chicago, Illinois, USA. 4 September
Journal of Photography
British Journal of Photography, in 1911, included
2 photogrpahs of William
Crooke's studio in Princes Street, Edinburgh
also reported that:
Crooke and Walter Barnett had just returned from a tour of the United
States of America. At New York, William Crooke met Pirie Macdonald
(Photographer of Men), Baltimore, Washington, St Louis, Chicago,
Indianapolis, Rochester where they were shown through the Kodak works,
and afterwards entertained to lunch by Mr George Eastman in his palatial
offices where they had the pleasure of meeting all the heads of
Washington they were introduced to the President of the US, Mr Taft, and
found him a very interesting and affable personality. They held an
Exhibition in St Louis - comprising over 200 pictures from Mr Barnett and
60 large pictures from William Crooke.
met Mr Strauss. Mr Cramer (St Louis) of plate fame gave a
reception on the occasion of their visit with many photographers
present, one of whom came 1000 miles to meet them.
met Mr Rau, the official photographer for the Pennsylvania Railway - who
had large prints 6 ft by 2 ft. They were direct prints from film
negatives taken on an immense panorama camera - much of it specially made
to meet his own requirements.
met Goldensky, Philadelphia, the bi-gum man.
Here, in Princes Street we have six photographers
- there used to be more but they are now reduced to that number.
In 5th Avenue, New York, there must be at least sixty