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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Buck Hoy

Born: Buck Lim 
Dates:  1901, 20 January - 1980, September
Born:  US, IL, Chicago ?
Died:  US, CA, Oakland

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Buck Hoy
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Hoy was born Buck Lim on January 20, 1901, possibly in Chicago’s Chinatown. He dabbled in painting, but got his first camera in 1931 and found work making proofs, retouching, and coloring photographs.
Hoy turned professional in 1933, when he opened the Buck Hoy Photography Studio and Art Shop in Chicago’s Chinatown, on the south side. He was assisted there by his wife, Blanche Elizabeth Moy Lim, making portraits of both area residents and wealthy business and professional people from the north side.
In the mid-1930s, he began making pictorial photographs, frequently submitting them to competitions in the magazine Photo- Art Monthly, and in 1936 he won its annual golden cup. His work was exhibited at salons from about this time to the early 1940s, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and elsewhere. In 1947, one of his pictures was shown at the annual convention of the Photographers’ Association of America, the nation’s organization of professionals. His figure studies and nudes were reproduced in the monthly American Photography during the 1940s and eight of them also appeared in the American Annual of Photography, between 1938 and 1950. Hoy’s best nude images are similar to those of the Czech modernist Frantisek Drtikol. His Dawn, for instance, features a supple female form, skillfully defined by an outstretched pose and dramatic rear illumination.
Recognized equally by pictorialists and professionals, Hoy was profiled in periodicals geared to both groups. Sigismund Blumann, the editor of Photo-Art Monthly, wrote a lead article on Hoy for its April 1939 issue, which featured an image of his on the cover. In it, Hoy stated, "My oriental predispositions probably help me in such patternism and composition as attract attention. Sometimes I wonder if the compliments given are for excellence or for what there is of difference and novelty." The March 1954 issue of the Professional Photographer featured an article on Hoy, titled "’Low Key’ Photographer: Money Should Not Come First." Buck Hoy retired to Oakland, California, in 1969, and he died there in September 1980. 
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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