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Edwin Bower Hesser photograph nudes landscape

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Directory: Fine Art: Prints: Photographs: Pre 1930: item # 1175023

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Edwin Bower Hesser photograph nudes landscape
An original sepia toned photograph of two nudes in a landscape. Classic artist quality typical of the best Hesser photos. Measuring approx. 8 x 10 in excellent condition from the estate of the photographer.


Hesser belonged to the generation of photographers who saw the marriage of image and performance as the future of the art. Born in New Jersey and apprenticed in photography in New York City, Hesser became smitten with the potentials of the art form. With America's entry into World War I, Hesser joined the U. S. Army Signal corps with the rank of Captain and oversaw land photography. While in the service a scenario composed by Hesser, "The Freedom of the World," was made in 1918 into a semi-documentary feature film by Goldwyn. After the armistice, Hesser decommissioned, set up a photographic Studio in Manhattan employing as his assistant a talented Italian, Nino Vayana, to oversee production. He was drawn to the world of movies and worked as a contract photographer for numbers of silent stars based in New York, particularly Norma Talmadge, Irene Castle, and Marion Davies. A fire in 1922 destroyed his production facilities and his stock of early negatives. He began to make regular trips to the west coast for photographic sessions with Hollywood stars, and finally moved his pase of operations to the West Coast. By 1923 he realized that the real money in photography lay in periodical publication, not in the service of film publicity offices or stage PR men. He saw a particularly opportunity in the subject which the 1920s stage explored with great daring, but the screen, even in pre-code days, could not pursue: female undress. Throughout the late 1920s, he published EDWIN BOWER HESSER'S ARTS MONTHLY, and other titles, exploiting the association betweens art and nudity, and sold it to an anonymous readership of 'art students.' A versatile artist whose plein air nudes of Showgirls in natural light became the academic standard for art photographers in the 1920s and whose portraits of movie actresses and stage stars were greatly influential images of glamour from 1925 to 1930. He was one of the few portraitist who regularly depicted sitters head on. His penchant for back-lighting so that hair seem lined with light, gave certain of his 1920s sitters a halo or aura. Expert at landscape photography, he often shot nudes in parks and glades. Possessed of an inquiring and entrepreneurial mind, he developed and patented a color process, "Hessecolor," that intrigued mass circulation publishers during the 1930s, but did not prevail in the marketplace.

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