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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Francis Strauss

Born: J.F. Strauss 

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for John Francis Strauss
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

John Francis Strauss, often known simply as J. F. Strauss, apparently was not related to J. (Julius) S. Strauss, a leading St. Louis portrait photographer around the turn of the twentieth century. J. F. Strauss and Claude S. Hedges headed the New York law firm of Strauss and Hedges, which litigated cases in customs, importing, and other areas.
Strauss joined the Camera Club of New York around 1898 and showed in its members’ exhibitions in 1900 and 1901. He served on the club’s committees for admissions, lantern slides, and publications. As one of the junior editors of the club’s prestigious magazine, Camera Notes, he contributed seven articles, including exhibition reviews and articles on the club’s activities. He left this position after the July 1902 issue, when Alfred Stieglitz, the lead editor, also resigned.
Strauss was sufficiently close to Stieglitz to become, in 1902, a founding member of the Photo-Secession, Stieglitz’s new cadre of advanced pictorialists. He then worked as an associate editor for Camera Work, Stieglitz’s new quarterly, from its first issue, in January 1903, through April 1910. In July 1903, the magazine featured a photogravure by Strauss of the Brooklyn Bridge, made atmospheric by its nighttime setting and glowing highlights.
This appears to have been Strauss’s most popular image, as it was also reproduced in England’s Photograms of the Year 1903 and the December 1909 issue of the Photographic Times. Other images by him were seen in Camera Notes (October 1900), American Annual of Photography 1902, and Charles Holme’s Art in Photography: With Selected Examples of European and American Work (London, 1905), a deluxe volume with tipped-in plates.
Strauss exhibited his photographs for most of the first decade of the twentieth century. In addition to members’ shows at the Camera Club of New York between 1900 and 1905, his work was presented in Photo-Secession exhibitions. These included the 1904 shows at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute and Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the 1909 exhibition at the National Arts Club, New York. His work was seen at salons in Denver in 1903, and London in 1905, and international exhibitions in Hamburg (1903), the Hague (1904), and Montreal (1907). John Francis Strauss maintained his interest in art until at least 1920, when he was a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
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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