Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Famous Black and White Photography You Can Afford Now

Famous black and white photography prints go for a lot of money in the art market. Have you ever wished you knew about an artist's work when it was cheap enough for you to invest in before it started going up and up like a red hot stock tip? Well you can. The black and white photographs of Alfred Cheney Johnston, a contemporary of Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz are gaining steam.

Alfred Cheney Johnston was the famed photographer of the Ziegfeld Follies. During his reign with the Follies, Cheney shot some of the most famous and beautiful people in the world - Lillian Gish, the Barrymores, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the Madonna of the Jazz Age - Louise Brooks known by her fans back then and today as just "Lulu".

Cheney shot thousands of stunning black and white photographs. They're stunning because of his fine art training. ACJ started out as an art student in New York City and was a protege of artist Charles Dana Gibson, who created the "Gibson Girl" modeled after his wife. While Cheney was still in art school the medium of photography was gaining ground as an acceptable art medium. It was Gibson who brought Cheney's attention to photography in the first place and encouraged him to explore it as a new way to express his artistry. Thankfully Cheney listened.

During the Jazz Age, before the big stock market crash which triggered the Great Depression of the 1930's, Alfred Cheney Johnston was in great demand. Not only was he photographing all the stars and many of the chorus girls of the Ziegfeld Follies, he was photographing the denizens of Fifth Avenue in the New York City. It wasn't long before Hollywood came calling wanting to hire Cheney to shoot stills of the stars. At one time Johnston was as famous as many of the people he photographed.

The Great Depression brought ruin all across the United States. With money tight, especially for such luxuries as going to Broadway musicals, Flo Ziegfeld was forced to close the Follies. Alfred Cheney Johnston and his wife retreated to an old Connecticut farm where he lived out his life in total obscurity.
Upon Cheney's death thousands of his photographs were discovered in his studio. An old turkey coop was filled with all his glass negatives. The negatives were carted off to the local dump. The black and white photographs were inherited by a close friend. Eventually the entire collection was sold to a photo dealer.

Thanks to the Internet, especially eBay, those stunning black and white prints started being offered for sale on the auction site. As a result Alfred Cheney Johnston's work is slowly regaining its notoriety from the days of the Roaring 20's.

Ava Land is a black and white photography enthusiast. To learn more about collecting the famous black and white photography of Alfred Cheney Johnston at affordable prices visit this link

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