1895-1915: Portraits By Fred Holland Day

1895-1915: Portraits By Fred Holland Day

American photographer Fred Holland Day (1864-1933) inherited the means to explore his passion for photography as art - his father was a rich trader in Boston. Despite not needing to work, Day cofounded publisher Copeland and Day, in 1893. The house published exceptionally beautiful books bound by hand, running to 100 titles, including the American edition of Oxcar Wilde’s Salomé.

But for Day, photography was his primary passion, and he regarded the medium as fine art. By the turn of the twentieth century, Days reputation in photographic circles was very high, and in 1900 the Royal Photographic Society exhibited New School of American Photography, curated by Day. 42 photographers were exhibited, and of the 375 photographs, 103 were the work of Day.

Day would routinely create only a single print of each photograph, and made use exclusively of the platinum process. Yet after the Russian Revolution, platinum became increasingly difficult to obtain, and Day’s interest in photography waned as a direct result.


c. 1897: Angela Grimké in Middle Eastern costume and Tuareg tribe headdress


c. 1898: ‘Woman in drapery with hoop earrings’


c. 1905: African American man wearing the Hampton Institute uniform


1903: Young man in black


c. 1898: Minnie Maddern Fiske (1865-1932)


1905: Luke Lowdog


c. 1905: Young woman in dress with striped collar and necklace, Hampton, Va.


1905: Boy in profile


c. 1898: Woman in drapery with hoop earrings


c. 1896: Young man in renaissance costume, in studio


c. 1896: Woman in dark dress


c. 1896: Isabelle Giles


1911: David Leung, in sailor suit


c. 1895: The Gainsborough Hat (Ethel Reed)


1896: Woman in medieval folk dress


1907: Agnes Lee


c. 1906: Young man, possibly Nicolas Giancola


c. 1898: Kahlil Gibran in Middle Eastern costume with leopard skin and staff