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F. Holland Day
(July 8, 1864 - November 12, 1933) USA

F. Holland Day

Photographer

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Fred Holland Day was born in Boston, the son of a Boston merchant, and was a man of independent means for all his life.

Day's life and works had long been controversial, since his photographic subjects were often nude male youths. Pam Roberts, in F. Holland Day (Waanders Pub, 2001) writes: "Day never married and his sexual orientation, whilst it is widely assumed that he was homosexual, because of his interests, his photographic subject matter, his general flamboyant demeanor, was, like much else about him, a very private matter."

Day spent much time among poor immigrant children in Boston, tutoring them in reading and mentoring them. One in particular, the 13-year-old Lebanese immigrant Kahlil Gibran, went on to fame as the author of The Prophet .

Day co-founded and self-financed the publishing firm of Copeland and Day, which from 1893 through 1899 published about a hundred titles. The firm was the American publisher of Oscar Wilde's Salomé , illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley.

He is known to have traveled. Beaumont Newhall states that he visited Algiers, possibly as a result of reading Wilde and Gide. There is a photo "Portrait of F. Holland Day in Arab Costume, 1901" by Frederick H. Evans.

He was also a lifelong bibliophile and collector. Most notable among his collections was his world-class collection on the poet John Keats.

At the turn of the century, his influence and reputation as a photographer rivaled that of Alfred Stieglitz, who later eclipsed him.

Day belonged to the pictorialist movement which regarded photography as a fine art and which often included symbolist imagery. As was common at the time, his photographs allude to classical antiquity in manner, composition and often in theme.

From 1896 through 1898 Day experimented with Christian themes, using himself as a model for Jesus. Neighbors in Norwood, Massachusetts assisted him in an outdoor photographic staged photography re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus. This culminated in this series of self-photographs, The Seven Last Words , depicting the seven last words of Christ.

F. Holland Day

Title: The Seven Last Words - click on the image to see a bigger reproduction
Artist: F. Holland Day
Date: 1898
Medium: Platinum print
Dimensions: each approx: 14 x 11,5 cm (5" 1/2 x 4" 1/2)
Place:The MET Museum, New York - USA

He often made only a single print from a negative. He used only the platinum process, being unsatisfied with any other, and lost interest in photography when platinum became unobtainable following the Russian Revolution.

Day's house at 93 Day Street, Norwood, Massachusetts is now a museum (The F. Holland Day House & Norwood History Museum), and the headquarters of the Norwood Historical Society.

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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