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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Edmund Stirling

Dates:  1861, 13 September - 1948, 21 November
Born:  US, PA, Philadelphia
Died:  US, PA, Philadelphia
Member of the Linked Ring Brotherhood.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Edmund Stirling
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Born on September 13, 1861, in Philadelphia, Edmund Stirling apparently spent his whole life in that city. He worked for more than fifty years at the Philadelphia Public Ledger, as a reporter, editor, and writer.
Stirling took up photography with his wife, and was exhibiting by 1888, the year his work appeared in both the annual membersí show of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia and the second Joint Exhibition, organized by the leading clubs in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. He became very active in his hometown society, serving as its vice president in 1892 and then its secretary for seven years beginning in 1894. He lectured to the group in 1893 on color photography, and in 1900 on photographic technique, and helped edit the clubís journal and organize three of its important salons. In 1901, Alfred Stieglitz praised his efforts in Camera Notes, relative to both the Philadelphia society and pictorial photography in general.
Stirling made lantern slides early in his creative career, like many other photographers. He served on his clubís slide committee and prepared at least eight slide shows of his work from various localities. These included Philadelphia, New York, the White Mountains, London, Japan, Bombay, Calcutta, and Cashmere, indicating how well traveled he was. In 1890 and 1891, William H. Rau, of Philadelphia, published the text for these lantern-slide presentations as separate Descriptive Readings.
Stirlingís imagery, in both slide and print form, comprised primarily figure studies, like his one photogravure in Camera Notes (April 1902), titled Bad News, a dark scene of a woman leaning on a desk with an opened letter in her hand. Reproductions of his work also appeared in Photo Beacon, Photographic Times, American Annual of Photography (in 1901 and 1902), Englandís Photograms of the Year (in 1899, 1900, and 1903), and Sadakichi Hartmannís 1910 book, Landscape and Figure Composition. In April 1902, Stirling reviewed the last Philadelphia Photographic Salon for Camera Notes.
Around the same time, he actively exhibited his platinum prints in important shows, among them salons in Chicago, Cleveland, London, and Philadelphia. F. Holland Day included his work in the 1901 London presentation of the New School of American Photography. The same year, Stirling exhibited at the Glasgow International Exhibition and the Camera Club of New York, the latter as part of a three-person show with fellow Philadelphians John G. Bullock and Robert S. Redfield.
In 1902, Stirling had the honor of entering the ranks of both Londonís Linked Ring Brotherhood and Stieglitzís Photo-Secession, the two most artistic groups of photographers in the world. Stieglitz included his work in most of the Secessionís significant shows, such as its inaugural in 1902 at the National Arts Club (New York), in 1904 at the Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh) and Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), in 1906 at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia), and in 1910 at the Albright Art Gallery (Buffalo). Edmund Stirlingís photographs also appeared in Toronto in 1902 and 1905, London in 1903, and Bradford, England, in 1904. He died on November 21, 1948, at the Presbyterian Home for Aged Couples and Aged Men, in Philadelphia. 
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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