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HomeContents > People > Photographers > A. Aubrey Bodine

Dates:  1906, 21 July - 1970, 28 October
Born:  US, MD, Baltimore
Died:  US, MD, Baltimore
Active:  US
Baltimore pictorialist who worked for the Baltimore Sun from the 1920s until his death.

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Approved biography for A. Aubrey Bodine
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Bodine was a career photographer for the Baltimore Sun. From the mid-1920s until his death, he produced dramatic pictures of Baltimore and its environs for the paper. Many of his visually appealing professional images were also successful in pictorial salons, in which Bodine exhibited for decades.
A. Aubrey Bodine was born on July 21, 1906, in Baltimore, his lifelong home. At the age of fourteen, he became a messenger for the city’s newspaper, where he would spend his entire career. Soon he was making photographs in the paper’s advertising department, and in 1941 he was named head of the photography department of the Sunday edition.
Working under a weekly, instead of a daily, deadline allowed Bodine the freedom to make photographs that were universal and lasting, rather than event-oriented and ephemeral. For forty-five years, he captured the look and feel of his hometown, the Chesapeake Bay, and countless sites throughout Maryland and Virginia. His accessible pictures of the buildings, boats, streets, and people of these areas appeared every week in the pages of the Sun, and four books of his images were published between 1952 and 1963, all of them printed more than once. Pictorialists admired many of Bodine’s professional photographs. Their simple compositions, idealistic outlook, and virtuosic printing technique exemplified key tenets of the pictorial movement. Bodine began exhibiting in salons in 1925, and throughout the 1930s and 1940s he was a consistent exhibitor and sought-after salon judge. In the 1950s he had one-person exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Like a few other pictorialists, he continued to submit work to annual exhibitions after mid-century. In 1961, for instance, his photographs were included in a least fifty international salons, from Bangkok, Thailand, to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bodine was equally involved in both amateur and professional organizations. He joined more than one camera club in Baltimore and was a founding member of the Photographic Society of America, which in 1965 awarded him an honorary fellowship (Hon. FPSA). He was a charter member and fellow of the National Press Photographers’ Association and was named Newspaper Magazine Photographer of the Year in 1957.
Comfortable with the printed page, Bodine involved himself in publishing. In 1946, he became a contributing editor to Camera, a monthly published in Baltimore that featured his salon photographs and articles for five years. In 1951, he formed Bodine and Associates, a firm that copublished his well-printed, oversize picture books. In 1970, Bodine fell ill while working in the photo lab of the Sun; he died shortly thereafter, on October 28. 
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. 
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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A. Aubrey Bodine
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Exhibitions on this website

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A. Aubrey Bodine (1906-1970), Photographic Director of the Sunday Sun Magazine took pictures of his beloved state of Maryland for fifty years. A constant exhibitor in photographic salons, his pictorialist photographs, shot on newspaper assignments, won awards from all over the USA and the world. One of his awards was first prize of $5000 for his "Choptank Oyster Dredgers" in a contest sponsored by Popular Photography magazine, which drew 52,018 entries. He won second prize in the same contest the following year of 1949. Throughout his career, Bodine strived to have photography recognized as an art form. He attended the Maryland Institute College of Art. He was awarded fellowships in both the Photographic Society of America and National Press Photographers' Association, the first photographer to be so honored by peers.
In 1944, Bodine married Nancy Florence Tait, without whose help he could never have achieved his level of recognition. They had one daughter, Jennifer B. Bodine.
Bodine published My Maryland, Chesapeake Bay and Tidewater, Face of Maryland, Face of Virginia and Guide to Baltimore and Annapolis, selling 100,000 copies. Bodine's Chesapeake Bay Country, edited by Jennifer Bodine and Bodine, Baltimore Pictorialist by Kathleen Ewing are currently in print.  

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website

Internet resources

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A. Aubrey Bodine ... 
A. Aubrey Bodine: Baltimore Pictorialist, (photojournalist who worked for the Baltimore Sun from 1920 to 1970) ... 
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