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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Horace A. Latimer

Dates:  1860, 1 February - 1931
Born:  US, MA, Westfield
 
  

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Horace A. Latimer
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

 
  
Horace A. Latimer was among the few photographers who were vital during both the first and second wave of pictorialism, before and after World War I. He resided all of his adult life in Boston, after being born on February 1, 1860, in Westfield, Massachusetts. Independently wealthy, he spent much of his time traveling and photographing.
 
Latimer attended Williams College and Harvard University, and pursued painting for a time. By 1887, however, he had turned his attention to photography. In this year, work by Latimer appeared in the first Joint Exhibition, the initial showing of a series of significant exhibitions sponsored by the Boston Camera Club and photographic societies in New York and Philadelphia. In fact, he participated in all seven of the Joint Exhibitions.
 
During the 1890s, Latimer was known primarily for his lantern slides and his yachting images, many of which won awards. He was a prominent figure at the American Cup races, amazingly using cameras that yielded negatives up to 14 x 17 inches in size. He did not like to make enlargements at this time, so large negatives were necessary for his crisp contact prints of sailing vessels.
 
Latimer joined the Camera Club of New York as a nonresident member in 1897 and was privileged to have one of his pictures appear as a photogravure in its magazine, Camera Notes. This image, A Water Carrier—Cuba, was the frontispiece for the October 1902 issue. The original probably was either a gum-bichromate or carbon print, the two processes he preferred for his artistic photographs.
 
In addition to the Joint Exhibitions, Latimer’s work was included in many other shows around the turn of the century. Among them were photographic salons in Boston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. He contributed to annual members’ shows at the Camera Club of New York and the Boston Camera Club, of which he also was a member. And, his pictures were occasionally seen at the conventions of professional photographers, such as the Photographers’ Association of America (1897), and the Photographers’ Association of New England (1901 and 1902).
 
Concurrently, Latimer’s images were reproduced in photography books and magazines. Charles H. Caffin featured one in his influential 1901 title Photography as a Fine Art: The Achievements and Possibilities of Photographic Art in America. Periodicals that regularly ran his pictures included American Amateur Photographer, Photo Era, and Photographic Times. In January 1902, American Amateur Photographer also printed a short article by him on focusing.
 
Latimer appears to have been less active photographically beginning in 1910 for nearly a decade. But, in 1918 he resumed exhibiting, successfully sending his prints to the Toronto salon and, the next year, to Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. During the 1920s, and up until his death in 1931, he exhibited at additional photographic salons in Buffalo, Chicago, London, Montreal, and Oakland.
 
Latimer probably joined the Pictorial Photographers of America (PPA), the leading group of second-generation pictorialists. The PPA’s 1921 annual, Pictorial Photography in America, included an image of an Italian village by him, plus an article he wrote on his working methods, in which he indicated that he now used small, handheld cameras. The next year’s annual also reproduced one of his pictures. In 1923, photographs by him were accepted at the PPA’s first international salon, held in New York.
 
In this period, his images appeared elsewhere as well. Among the periodicals that reproduced them were American Photography, England’s Photograms of the Year 1923, and the American Annual of Photography 1931. He even achieved listings in the annual’s "Who’s Who in American Photography" for his salon entries from 1925 to 1931.
 
Horace A. Latimer’s presence in the photographic world abruptly ceased in 1931, when he died on September 13. Frank R. Fraprie, the dean of late pictorial photography, wrote an appreciative obituary for him that appeared in three photographic magazines, indicative of Latimer’s widespread appeal; they were Camera, an Eastern periodical, Camera Craft, of San Francisco, and Commercial Photographer, published for professionals. Latimer had long been a prominent member of the Boston Camera Club, to which he bequeathed funds, photographic materials, and pictures. He is still memorialized today by the club on its website. 
  
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. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
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