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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Ernest G. Boon

Other: Dr. E.G. Boon 
Other: E.G. Boon 
Dates:  1864, 14 August - 1959, 17 May
Born:  English Antilles, St. Kitts
Died:  England, Dorset, Parkstone

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Ernest G. Boon
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Though English, Dr. E. G. Boon spent most of his life in Italy. He was born on August 14, 1864, on the island of St. Kitts in the English Antilles. He developed asthma while studying medicine in London, so he moved for the climate to Alassio, Italy, where he became a family doctor.
Boon began photographing in the mid-1880s and maintained close ties with the photographic community in Britain after leaving his homeland. He joined the Royal Photographic Society in 1898, and his work was regularly exhibited in its annual exhibitions from this year until 1911. Two years later, the Royal honored him with a one-person exhibition. During this period, he also showed at the London salon and exhibitions in Leeds and Glasgow. Englandís annual Photograms of the Year included at least one image by him every single year between 1898 and 1914. In 1912, F. J. Mortimer, the editor of Photograms, placed Boon in what he termed the "sunlight school," comprised of photographers, such as Lťonard Misonne, whose images were full of high values and natural light. Indeed, Boonís image in that yearís annual was of a young woman in a white dress arranging flowers on a sunlit veranda.
Boon was an exponent of unmanipulated platinum prints, particularly enjoying the processís great rendering of shadow transparency. In 1913, he wrote on the subject for the American Annual of Photography, to which he had already contributed articles in 1910 and 1911 on other topics. He was also known to have made large carbon prints, in contrast to his platinum prints, which were usually small, delicate, and gem-like. Other American periodicals that reproduced his work around this time included American Photography, Photo Era, and the Photographic Times. The last issue of Camera Notes, issued in December 1903, included a photogravure by him.
Boon seems to have slowed his photographic activity after World War I. During the 1920s, he did show at exhibitions in Buffalo, Copenhagen, and Turin, but only one of his images appeared in Photograms of the Year. He surged back in the 1930s, however, showing up in the annual almost every year of that decade. Now his images were modernist in their subject matter and scale of tones, unlike his early work. He became particularly taken with patterns and deep shadow areas and shooting from unusual viewpoints.
Shortly before World War II, Boon moved back to England. He died in Parkstone, Dorset, on May 17, 1959. 
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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