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Frances Benjamin Johnston (American, 1864–1952)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American photographer. She studied art at the Académie Julian in Paris (1883–5) and at the Art Students League, Washington, DC. In 1888, in order to write and illustrate articles for popular magazines, she learnt photography from Thomas William Smillie (1843–1917), Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Photography Division, Washington, DC. On opening a professional portrait studio in 1894, she became known for images of presidents, government officials and other notables. Her projects included documentation of educational facilities at Hampton Institute, VA, and Tuskegee Institute, AL. In 1904 Johnston joined the Photo-Secession. She was a juror for the second Philadelphia Salon of Photography, received four consecutive Carnegie Foundation grants to document historic gardens and architecture of the South, and was made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects in 1945. She donated most of her negatives, prints and correspondence to the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, in 1948. Johnston is often referred to as America’s first female photojournalist.

Fiona Dejardin
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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