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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Forman G. Hanna

Other: Forman Hanna 
Dates:  1881, 21 December - 1950, 20 April
Born:  US, MO, Windsor
Died:  US, CA, Los Angeles
Active:  US
American pictorialist photographer.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Forman G. Hanna
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Hanna exhibited his pictorial prints for forty years, beginning in the mid-1910s. Based in Globe, Arizona, he made photographs of Native Americans, the southwestern landscape, and female nudes. His vocation was that of a pharmacist.
Forman Gordon Hanna was born in Windsor, Missouri, on December 21, 1881. He grew up on his fatherís cattle farm near Anson, Texas, and graduated from the Galveston School and University in 1904 with a pharmacy degree. He soon landed a job in Globe, Arizona, at the Palace Pharmacy, which he later bought and ran until retirement.
Hanna acquired his first camera as a child. After seeing reproductions of creative photographs, he began reading monthly photographic magazines to teach himself the technique of pictorial photography. His pictures first appeared as prizewinners in the monthly competitions of American Photography from 1913 to 1915.
By the late 1910s, his photographs were being accepted at national exhibitions in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He continued to consistently exhibit in salons until the early 1940s, showing up to fifty prints a year. He was also honored with one-person exhibitions, in 1923 and 1928 at the Camera Club of New York, and about the same time at the Art Center (New York). His last solo show occurred in 1948 at the Brooklyn Museum, which he traveled east to see.
Hanna was involved with various influential pictorial groups. He was a council member of the Pictorial Photographers of America shortly after its founding and a regional vice-president in the late 1920s. In 1933, he was honored with fellowship status in Englandís Royal Photographic Society (FRPS), and a year later he became a charter member of the Photographic Society of America.
Hannaís choice of subject matter reflected his lifelong residence in Arizona. He frequently turned his camera on the Native Americans of the Southwest, idealizing the lifestyle of the Apache, Navajo, and Hopi tribes. He was also accomplished at picturing female nudes, which he classically posed in the areaís natural surroundings; he wrote an article on the subject for the April 1935 issue of Camera Craft. In addition, he produced pure landscapes, repeatedly photographing the stateís peaks, deserts, and canyons with an eye toward light and shade, rather than topographical documentation.
In 1946, Hanna sold his drugstore and retired. His pictorial output had slowed by this time, and he made his last photographic trip, to the Grand Canyon, in 1949. A year later, after three months of poor health, he went to Los Angeles for medical care and died at the Good Samaritan Hospital, on April 20, 1950. 
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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