A. Aubrey Bodine, American, 1906 – 1970
Tyson Street, Baltimore, c.1950
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Jennifer B. Bodine 96.153.4
Descendants of photographers always have been good sources of pictures for museums, as they often have much material that has been stashed away for years. In the 1990s, the daughters of three prominent American pictorial photographers independently approached the MIA with vintage prints by their fathers, knowing that our collection was already strong in this area. These photographers had worked largely during the 1930s and 1940s, when they handcrafted their prints and sent them around the country to photographic salons organized by local camera clubs.
In 1996, Jennifer B. Bodine, the daughter of A. Aubrey Bodine, gave the MIA five of her father’s pictures, including the one shown here. Bodine made his living as the chief photographer for the Sunday Baltimore Sun, making dramatic images of the city and its environs. Pictorialists appreciated some of these journalistic pictures for their strong compositions and accessible subject matter. Tyson Street, for instance, features nighttime lighting effects and rich, blue tones. Note that Bodine signed the print in the lower right in gold ink, clearly marking this as one of his artistic photographs.
A year later, Beaulah Bailey gave the museum eight photographs by her father, Hillary G. Bailey. These show Bailey’s strength photographing figures, still lifes, and portraits. In 1938, he wrote a book on the latter subject, titled The Story of a Face.
In 1998, Stella Anderson Beckstead, donated eleven photographs by Gustav Anderson. The Swedish-born Anderson was an avid outdoorsman and winter skier, and was widely heralded among pictorialists for his photographs of snow scenes. These are the only photographs in the MIA’s collection by Anderson, and, like the other groups discussed above, feature direct lineage to the artist, always the preferred provenance.
If your aunt, granddaddy, or some other forebearer was an accomplished creative photographer, feel free to contact the MIA Department of Photography & New Media; we are always willing to look at work and consider donations to the permanent collection.
Christian A. Peterson, associate curator of photographs