Photography

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Entries - Entry Category: Photography

Armstrong III, Ralph Waldo

Ralph Waldo Armstrong III photographed the African-American community of Little Rock (Pulaski County) for more than fifty years. Between 1951 and 2006, a period of dramatic social change, he accumulated an invaluable archive of thousands of photographs of Little Rock’s black citizenry, houses, churches, schools, and professional and civic organizations. Ralph Armstrong was born on February 23, 1925, in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Ralph W. Armstrong II and Callie Armstrong; he had one older half-brother and two younger sisters. His father worked in a Little Rock furniture factory, and his mother took in washing to help the family meet expenses during the Great Depression. Later, she, too, worked in the factory. Armstrong developed an early love for classical music …

Daniel, Thase Christine Ferguson

Thase Christine Ferguson Daniel of El Dorado (Union County) was an internationally known nature and wildlife photographer. During a career that spanned the 1950s to the 1980s, her work appeared in major publications and magazines, including Field and Stream, Ranger Rick, and Reader’s Digest. Thase Ferguson was born on December 5, 1907, the daughter of C. Curran Ferguson and Daisy Moore Ferguson of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). She graduated from Ouachita Baptist College, now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), with a BA in music in 1929. While at Ouachita, Ferguson met fellow student John T. Daniel of Arkadelphia (Clark County). They were married on June 29, 1930. The Daniels lived in El Dorado, where John owned and operated an automobile dealership. …

Davis, William Emmet

Photographer William Emmett Davis distinguished himself as a commercial photographer for forty years and, beginning in 1983, worked as a fine art photographer. Davis had aesthetic connections with photographers on the West Coast and worked almost exclusively in Arkansas. William E. Davis was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 14, 1918, to E. N. Davis and Mayson Wise Davis; he had no siblings. His father was a physician. Davis attended local schools and then the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). There, he took two years of pre-med courses. The course of study was interrupted when Davis enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II. From 1941 to 1945, he was a fighter pilot aboard …

Disfarmer, Mike

aka: Mike Meyer
A portrait photographer in Heber Springs (Cleburne County), Mike Disfarmer’s invaluable contribution to photography and the documentation of rural America went unnoticed until 1973, fourteen years after his death. This eccentric man’s work, which later garnered national attention, captures with stark realism the people in and around Heber Springs in the early to mid-1900s. The particularities of Disfarmer’s biography are sketchy, largely because of his reclusive lifestyle and meager status during his lifetime. Various sources date his birth to German immigrants as either 1882 or 1884; however, a World War II draft registration card for one “Mike Disfarmer” of Heber Springs lists an August 16, 1882, birth in Daviess, Indiana. Disfarmer’s family later moved to the German community of Stuttgart (Arkansas …

Harding, Thomas, III

Thomas Harding III was a successful commercial photographer and an internationally recognized, fine art pinhole photographer. Thomas Harding was born on July 7, 1911, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Thomas Harding and Mary Rice. Both his father and grandfather were architects. Harding graduated from Little Rock Senior High School (now Central High School) in 1929 and then attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. After two years, he found that college studies in architecture did not interest him. He dutifully returned to Little Rock to work at his father’s architectural firm, Thomas Harding Architect, until his photography talents surfaced. Harding joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and was stationed in Italy’s Allied Headquarters during World War II. Although …

Hursley, Timothy Joseph

Timothy Joseph Hursley is an architectural photographer whose works have been featured in architectural journals and museums around the world. Tim Hursley was born on July 19, 1955, in Detroit, Michigan, the fifth of nine children, to Frank and Lois Hursley. His father was a tool engineer, and his mother sold women’s shoes. At age sixteen, he began doing yard work for a neighbor, Balthazar Korab, a pioneer in modern architectural photography. Within three months, while still attending Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield, Michigan, Hursley had become Korab’s part-time photographic assistant and apprentice. From 1971 to 1980, Hursley’s apprenticeship taught him the craft of large-format photography and black-and-white photographic printing. As Hursley advanced in photo assignments, Korab’s approach to …

Kilgore, Andrew

Andrew Wilson Kilgore is a Fayetteville (Washington County) photographer best known for his arresting black-and-white portraits, primarily of fellow Arkansans set against a plain backdrop. By his own estimation, Kilgore photographed more than 30,000 people in Arkansas between early 1971 and late 2011. Andrew Kilgore was born on November 2, 1940, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was the second of three children born to Bill and Carolyn Kilgore, both natives of Washington DC. Kilgore’s family moved several times when he was a child, first relocating to the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Aurora shortly after World War II and then to El Paso, Texas, in 1956. Kilgore cites his time as a teenager along the Texas border as the period of his …

McDonald, Thomas Newton (Tom)

Photographer Thomas Newton McDonald, a resident of Jonesboro (Craighead County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including the United Nations award for service to humanity, Gerard Bakker Award for teaching, and National Award for Service from both the Arkansas Professional Photographers and Southwestern Professional Photographers. His primary work focused on portrait photography, but he also took scenic and artistic photographs. In 1996, McDonald wrote The Business of Portrait Photography: A Professional’s Guide to Marketing and Managing a Successful Studio, with Profiles of 30 Top Portrait Photographers. The book, published by Amphoto Books of New York, was later published in a second edition and translated into Mandarin for publication in China. Born in Lake City (Craighead County) on July 2, 1933, …

Miller, Harry Lewis

Harry Lewis Miller was a photographer active in Arkansas at the turn of the twentieth century. His White River landscapes and scenes of daily life throughout the north-central region of the state form an important aesthetic and social history legacy. While some of Miller’s images were familiar, they were generally unattributed until staff at the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Old Independence Regional Museum in Batesville (Independence County) researched his work and mounted exhibits in 1998 and 2003, respectively. The oldest of nine children, Harry Miller was born on April 1, 1870, in Dodge County, Minnesota, to Anton and Mary (Lewis) Miller, who were farmers. By 1880, they had moved their growing family to North Dakota, …

Photography

Photography reached the Arkansas frontier in 1842, three years after the invention was announced to the world in Paris, France. For the first fifty years or so, photography as a science and an art was in flux; photographic processes changed, photographers moved to and from Arkansas, and many early practitioners remain unknown. Photographs were made on metal, glass, leather, and wood. Eventually, the collodion wet-plate process, in combination with albumen-coated photographic papers, became the process of choice, and photographers began to expand their interest beyond the portrait to other subject matter. Early photographers were versatile and adaptable, and their photographs played a strong role in preserving the cultural and historical heritage of Arkansas. Photography is defined as the act of …

Preller, Hugo and Gayne

Hugo Arthur Preller (1865–1950) and Gayne Avey Preller (1874–1958) owned a floating portrait studio and traveled along the Mississippi River and White River from 1898 to 1950. They took photographs of Arkansans while living in different towns along the rivers. Hugo Preller was also a gunsmith, watchmaker, writer, and painter. Gayne Preller took most of the photos inside the studio, while her husband took the outdoor photos.  Hugo Arthur Preller was born in 1865 in Weimer, Germany. Gayne Laura Avey was born in 1874 in Kentucky. Hugo was sent to the United States in the late 1800s by his parents to escape the potential war environment. He arrived in America when he was seventeen years old and spoke only German. …

Sellers, Barney

Professional photographer Barney Sellers, a native of Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. His photographs of Arkansas barns, old houses, and rural scenes attracted many fans of his work and aspiring followers to northeastern Arkansas and the Ozarks. Born on March 28, 1926, to John and Edith Sellers, Barney Bryan Sellers was the younger of two sons. He grew up in Walnut Ridge, where he graduated from high school in 1944. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served two years aboard the USS De Haven. In the navy, he served in an administrative capacity and advanced to the rank of yeoman third …

Shrader, Gustave Joseph

Gustave Joseph Shrader was a photographer who was best known as the official photographer for the state Senate and House of Representatives and for several Little Rock (Pulaski County) schools. Joseph Shrader was born on May 25, 1870, in Orel, Russia, to a merchant. In 1885, Shrader began serving as a photographer’s apprentice. He immigrated to the United States in 1892. Shrader met Bertha Frank, a resident of Louisville, Kentucky, and married her in December 1900 in Memphis, Tennessee. The couple had one child, Gustave Joseph Shrader Jr., called “Buddy.” Shrader worked for photographers in Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Providence, Rhode Island; and New York City. In May 1901, he opened a studio with his wife in St. …

Stern, Howard Seymour

Howard Seymour Stern was a physician, a noted photographer, and an award-winning painter. Although he had no professional training in art, his paintings and photographs continue to be displayed in various collections in Arkansas and around the world. Howard Stern was born on June 14, 1910, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the eldest of four children born to Eugene John Stern and Frances Burger Stern. His father was an architect, half the partnership of Mann and Stern, which designed Little Rock Central High School, the Albert Pike Hotel, the Arkansas Consistory, the Arlington Hotel, and the Fordyce Bath House. The family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1913 so Stern’s father could work with George R. Mann on designing the …