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Henry B. GoodwinDr. Henry Buergel Goodwin is one of Sweden´s most distinguished photographers ever. He was active in Sweden during and after World War I. Henry B. Goodwin was born in Munich, Germany, on February 20, 1878. He was christened Karl Heinrich Hugo, but after he had graduated from the University of Leipzig in 1903, he started to gradually change his name to give it an English-like touch by calling himself Buergel instead of Bürgel. He also converted from Catholicism to the Anglican Church. Young Heinrich was an Anglophile and was preparing himself for a future life in Great Britain. At the University of Leipzig Heinrich studied Nordic languages and wrote his doctor´s thesis on an old Icelandic manuscript. During his university years in Leipzig he also studied photography with Nicola Perscheid, who was one of the real great photographic masters in Europe at the turn of the century.
In 1906 he got an engagement for two years as a lecturer of German at the University of Uppsala, which was prolonged for another two years in 1908. In 1908 he also became a Swedish citizen. Gradually Heinrich continued to change his name. In 1905 he added the surname Goodwin. In 1907 Heinrich was replaced by Henry and from then on he called himself Henry Buergel Goodwin or Henry B. Goodwin.
During the years 1909-1915 Goodwin continued his linguistic work. In 1912 he was employed by the publishing-house, P. A. Norstedt & Söner, in Stockholm as a lexicographer. Gradually his interest in photography developed, and as the linguistic career did not make its appearance, he passed on to portrait photography, part-time from 1913 and full-time from 1916. He named his studio ‘Kamerabilder‘, which means ‘Camera Pictures‘. He claimed that his camera pictures are works of art and that they should be treated as such. He soon became a fashionable photographer but he also got a reputation as a debater and an ideologist in photographic matters. The name Goodwin became well-known and a trademark in those days.
In January 1921 Henry Goodwin went to New York, invited by Condé Nast, publisher of the Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines, which had published pictures by Goodwin since 1915. Condé Nast made his home at Park Avenue available for the famous "Dr. Goodwin of Sweden" to use it for his studio work. Eastman Kodak provided a well-furnished laboratory at Long Island for Goodwin with an experienced assistant and equipment to suit Goodwin´s working methods. Henry Goodwin stayed in New York for three months. He took a lot of portraits, he began a series of exhibitions, starting at the Brown-Robertson Galleries at Madison Avenue, continuing to Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.
In 1921 Henry Goodwin had one-man shows in New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. Today Henry Goodwin’s fame is reaching far beyond Sweden and several exhibitions are planned abroad.
Any information concerning the 1921 exhibitions in the US is greatly appreciated.
Courtesy of Björn Andersson, Lund, Sweden
[March 10, 2009]