|Dates: ||1871 - 1961, 13 July|
|Born: ||US, SD, Deadwood|
Approved biography for Christine B. Fletcher
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Christine B. Fletcher was most known for her pleasant still life photographs, which were popular in salons, magazines, and competitions in the 1930s and 1940s. She was born around 1872, as she claimed she was sixty-six years old in late 1938. In 1910, she was working as a dressmaker in San Francisco, and her husband, Charles, was a carpet layer.
By 1912, Fletcher was sending her photographs to magazines, and over the next five years she won honorable mentions from the East-Coast monthlies Photo Era and American Photography. The only known articles written by her were one on making soft prints from sharp negatives, published in the March 1913 issue of Photo Era, and one on flower photography in Camera Craft in February 1914. She maintained a low profile from about 1918 to 1930 and then reemerged in 1931, when she was nearly sixty years old. About this time, her husband died and she studied photography with P. Douglas Anderson at the University of California extension.
The 1930s were particularly productive for Fletcher. She now focused on sending her prints to the competitions of Camera Craft and Photo-Art Monthly, San Francisco-based magazines edited by Sigismund Blumann. Appreciating her work, Blumann penned a lead article on Fletcher for the January 1935 issue of the latter. She became a member of the Photographic Society of San Francisco, and in 1933 the California Camera Club (San Francisco) gave her a one-person exhibition. The American Annual of Photography reproduced her images for five years straight, from 1934 to 1938. Her work was accepted in up to nineteen salons a year into the early 1940s.
After making some landscapes and portraits early on, Fletcher produced still lifes almost exclusively for most of her career. Realizing her knack for the subject, she concentrated on classical arrangements of flowers, vases, bowls, and fruit. She preferred a combination of natural and artificial light, used a minimum of equipment, and photographed at f.22 to get sharp negatives. During enlarging, however, she usually drew chiffon over the lens to gently diffuse the image. She also sometimes hand-colored her finished prints, making them even more accessible to the general public. American Photography reproduced six of her pictures in the early 1940s, the last one (of daises) appearing in its June 1945 issue.
Fletcher retired to the Episcopal Home for Elderly Women sometime in the 1950s, a decade after apparently ceasing serious photographic work. She died there on July 13, 1961.
Christian A. Peterson Pictorial Photography at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Christian A. Peterson: Privately printed, 2012)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of Christian Peterson and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 1 June 2013.
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