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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Will H. Moses

Born: William H. Moses 
Dates:  1871, 22 September - 1923, 24 September
Born:  US, LA, New Orleans

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Will H. Moses
(Courtesy of Christian Peterson)

William H. Moses was born on September 22, 1871, in New Orleans, where he spent his entire life. Both his grandfather, Samuel, and father, Gustave, were professional New Orleans photographers. Will studied architecture, painted landscapes, and was a member of the local artists’ association.
In 1896, he went into partnership with his father to form the G. Moses and Son Photographic Studio in the French Quarter. The studio produced portraits, theatrical work, illustrations to poetry, and artistic studies of the city for decoration. In addition, Will on his own created genre scenes that stereotyped southern blacks, with titles like "Who Struck de Fustest?" and that were reproduced in popular magazines. The studio’s work won medals at expositions in Paris and St. Louis, and at the national conventions of the Photographers’ Association of America.
A straightforward portrait of a white boy by the studio was included in the October 1902 issue of Camera Notes, as a small, oval photogravure. This was the first issue edited by Juan C. Abel, who was more interested in the work of professionals than the previous editor, Alfred Stieglitz. While Abel credited the picture solely to Will, it appeared a year later in Wilson’s Photographic Magazine as being the work of Moses and Son.
The senior Moses, Gustave, died in 1915, and Will carried on the business. Eight years later, on September 24, 1923, Will died of a heart attack. His widow, Mildred (with whom he never had children), then took over and ran the studio to at least 1935. 
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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