|Dates: ||1870, 23 December - 1942, 30 May|
|Born: ||Canada, ONT, Hamilton|
|Died: ||US, NY, New York City|
American woman photographer.
Approved biography for Jessie Tarbox Beals
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)
Beals is considered the first woman press photographer but also was involved in pictorial activities. She was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on December 23, 1870, subsequently came to the United States, and earned a teaching certificate at the age of seventeen. She initially taught school in Massachusetts but around 1900 married and became an itinerant photographer with her husband.
In 1902, Beals was hired by the Buffalo Inquirer and Courier, beginning her career as a press photographer. She served as the official photographer for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, and a few years later established a studio in New York. In addition to making studio portraits, Beals ventured out into the city to document slum children and the Bohemian lifestyle of Greenwich Village, images of which she often issued as photographic postcards. In the 1920s, she spent time working in Chicago and Hollywood, where her work included portraits, landscapes, and architectural studies that were reproduced in magazines such as Vogue, Harperís Bazaar, Town and Country, and Better Homes and Gardens.
Outside her professional photography, Beals undertook personal work that was pictorial in nature and welcomed by fellow creative photographers. She joined the Pictorial Photographers of America, organized in 1916 by Clarence H. White and others. This groupís annual, Pictorial Photography in America, reproduced images by her in 1920 and 1921. Five times during the 1920s the American Annual of Photography included her pictures, all of them figure studies. Among the pictorial salons she participated in were those in Toronto in 1921 and Buffalo in 1922.
In 1928, Beals privately published a book of poems, titled Songs of a Wanderer. She died in New York on May 30, 1942.
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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