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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Harry G. Phister

Born: Harry Gilson Phister 
Dates:  1873 - ?

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Harry G. Phister
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

According to Phister, he began photographing in the "old albumen print days," suggesting he became interested in the medium during the 1880s, while he was in his teens. His photographic work and writings appeared in the first two decades of the twentieth century.
Harry G. Phister resided in Vernon, New York, a small upstate town about twenty miles east of Syracuse. From there he interacted with other creative amateurs by joining two groups that circulated albums and portfolios of members’ work through the mail—the Camera Craftsmen and the Associates of Pictorial Photography. In addition, he sent his work to numerous exhibitions and publications. His photographs were seen at the international salon at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1908 and the 1913 annual exhibition presented by the John Wanamaker department store in Philadelphia, which was judged by Alfred Stieglitz. Reproductions of his work appeared in Camera in 1911 and 1913 and in Photo Era a number of times between 1907 and 1918.
Phister wrote four short, illustrated articles for the American Annual of Photography, that appeared between 1916 and 1919: "The Protective Mimicry of Nature," "Photographing Waterfalls," "Wild Bird and Nest Photography," and "The Value of Clouds." In all of them he discussed both subject matter and technique.
Phister most frequently photographed animals and landscapes, but also turned his camera on flowers and children. In 1918, he claimed that he had specialized in shooting wild birds and their nests for a number of years. 
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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