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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Walter S. Meyers

Dates:  1884, 10 June - 1960, 8 January
Born:  US, NY, Rochester
Died:  US, CA, Coronado

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Walter S. Meyers
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

A life-long resident of Rochester, New York, Walter S. Meyers was born there on June 10, 1884. He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1906, and immediately went to work for the men’s clothing firm of Michaels Sterns. In 1938, he became its vice-president when the firm was reorganized.
Meyers was involved with numerous photographic organizations. He joined the Photographic Society of America in 1935, became a member of the Pictorial Photographers of America, and was an associate of England’s Royal Photographic Society (ARPS). He was an honorary member of the Kodak Camera Club, where in 1944 he took a series of advanced classes with the famous pictorialist Adolf Fassbender. Around 1951, he helped found the Rochester Pictorialists.
Meyers involved himself with the Rochester International Salon of Photography, his hometown showcase that was world renowned. He served as treasurer for its first two exhibitions in 1929 and 1930, and on the jury in 1939. He frequently exhibited in the salon beginning in 1929, continuing through much of the 1930s and 1940s, and lastly in 1954. For the monthly magazine Camera, he often penned reviews of the show during the early 1930s.
In addition to Rochester, Meyers successfully submitted his pictorial prints to salons elsewhere in the country and abroad. Between 1927 and 1949, they were seen in Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Princeton, San Diego, San Francisco, Antwerp, Toronto, and Turin.
Undoubtedly, Meyers’s most widely seen picture was Halfway Down, showing a child perched on an arching staircase and titled after a poem by A. A. Milne. In 1938, it was included in the deluxe publication Modern Masters of Photography: Pictorialists, edited by Condé Nast art director Heyworth Campbell. Printed in rich gravure, it was one of less than forty illustrations, issued as both a box of loose sheets and spiral bound as an oversize book. In 1943, the Eastman Kodak Company used the image in advertisements for its Kodabromide paper and original prints of it traveled extensively. The museum’s example, for instance, has more than twenty-five exhibition labels on the back of its mount; it was seen at camera clubs in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Semi-retired, Walter S. Meyers died on January 8, 1960, while visiting his sister in Coronado, California. 
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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