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HomeContents > People > Photographers > J.H. Field

Born: Julius Herman Field 
Dates:  1869, 19 February - 1936, 14 January
Born:  US, WI, Waupun
Died:  US

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for J.H. Field
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

Julius Herman Field was born in Waupun, Wisconsin, on February 19, 1869, to Norwegian immigrants. Initially, Field practiced carpentry with his father but eventually worked for a local photographer. In 1894, he purchased a portrait studio in nearby Berlin, Wisconsin, and hired a female assistant, Minne Bell Dies, whom he later married. His personal work consisted almost entirely of landscapes, sometimes with figures and always under misty conditions.
From about the turn of the twentieth century through the 1910s, Field’s photographs were seen in photographic periodicals and both professional and pictorial exhibitions. He showed at the 1900 Philadelphia Photographic Salon and the first three American Photographic Salons, which traveled from 1904 to 1907. At this time, his work was frequently seen in the exhibitions at the annual conventions of the Photographers’ Association of America, the nation’s organization of professionals. In 1915, the photography exhibition at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition included his pictures. Outside of the country, his photographs were exhibited at the Toronto Camera Club, the Royal Photographic Society (London), and at shows in Budapest, Dresden, Italy, and South Africa.
Field joined the populist Salon Club of America, a rival organization to Alfred Stieglitz’s elitist Photo-Secession. Over the course of his career, his pictures won over 300 prizes, including one that was illustrated in the Bausch and Lomb Lens Souvenir (1903). Reproductions of his work also appeared in the American Annual of Photography and England’s Photograms of the Year during the first decade of the century. His images were most frequently seen in the periodicals Photo Era (over twenty times between 1903 and 1916) and the Photographic Times (nearly twenty times between 1901 and 1915). In 1910, one was included in Sadakichi Hartmann’s book, Landscape and Figure Composition.
Field was a small, quiet man of frail health and poor hearing. Drawn by the mild climate and an article he read in the Saturday Evening Post, he moved his family to Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 1913. There, he reestablished his portrait business on the town square and began producing photographs for illustration. In 1915, local author William R. Lighton issued his book Happy Hollow Farm, featuring photographic images reportedly by Field but uncredited in the publication. Lighton had written the Post article about Fayetteville and by this time had become friends with Field. Field’s pictures illustrated articles in popular magazines such as the Craftsman (June 1916) and Good Housekeeping in 1922, 1923, and 1925. The December 1928 issue of the American Magazine ran a feature article on Field that included reproductions of his ethereal landscapes.
In 1925, Field had a one-person exhibition of his work at the art department of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Eight years later, he closed his studio, although he continued to make personal work, largely shooting in the nearby Ozark wilderness. J. H. Field died at home, on January 14, 1936, after a series of heart attacks. 
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. 
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J.H. Field
Portrait of J.H. Field 
1930s (?)
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