Susie & Bill in their kitchen, 2011. copyright by Richard Margolis.


We hope, from time to time, to post some photos, notes or bibliographies about photographers we have found to be interesting throughout the years that we have been looking at this medium. Some of these photographers were well-known during their time but almost forgotten now; or they may be individuals who never really broke into the official “histories” of the medium at all, but who have struck us as interesting in some manner or other.

William Johnson began teaching the history of photography at Harvard University in 1970 while working as a professional librarian there; and since then has taught and worked at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston College, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY, and elsewhere. He wrote W. Eugene Smith: Master of the Photographic Essay (Aperture); eight of the sixteen chapters in Photography from 1839 to today George Eastman House, Rochester, NY (Taschen); The Pictures Are A Necessity: Robert Frank in Rochester, NY November 1988 (Rochester Film & Photo Consortium, George Eastman House), and the self-published Horses, Sea Lions, and Other Creatures: Robert Frank, Dave Heath, Robert Heinecken and John Wood, with Susan E. Cohen. He has organized more than thirty exhibitions and is the author or contributor to more than fifteen exhibition checklists or catalogs, including a half-dozen or so on W. Eugene Smith, as well as … one thing just sort of led to another …The Photography of Todd Walker; Lucien Aigner’s Paris; More Than Meets the Eye: Landscape Photography 1850 – 1910 and John Wood: On the Edge of Clear Meaning. He has also published extensive bibliographies on the photographers Lucien Aigner, Eugene Atget, Carl Chiarenza, Walker Evans, Robert Heinecken, William H. Rau, W. Eugene Smith, Southworth & Hawes, Edward Weston, Whipple & Black, John Wood, and on the 1930s journal Photo Notes. He compiled and edited the annual International Photography Index (G. K. Hall & Co.) from 1977 to 1980 and also published Nineteenth-Century Photography: An Annotated Bibliography, 1839-1879. (G. K. Hall & Co.) Currently he is extending the range of Nineteenth-Century Photography: An Annotated Bibliography, 1839-1879 by compiling a large annotated bibliography of articles that indexes, annotates and excerpts articles from more than 800 periodical and newspaper titles published in America and Great Britain between 1835 and 1869.

Susie Cohen studied photographic history at Boston University where she received a MA in art history. She has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Tyler College of Art in Philadelphia, and the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. Co-editor of Views magazine, and co-author of one thing just sort of led to another …The Photography of Todd Walker; and Horses, Sea Lions, and Other Creatures: Robert Frank, Dave Heath, Robert Heinecken and John Wood, she also was a contributor to the annual International Photography Index (G. K. Hall & Co.) from 1977 to 1980. She organized the exhibition and catalog Time after Time, the photographs of Alice Wells and has published additional articles and essays on Robert Heinecken, John Wood, and others.


  1. Hi! I cannot tell you how happy I was to discover your blog. I was doing some research on David Heath and the polaroid work he has done and then saw that you had worked on a polaroid project with some of my favourite photographs including Heinecken! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and time. I would love to speak to you more about this project if you are open to it. Best regards, Semira

    • Pardon the delay. I havent been checking this blog page frequently, as I’ve been trying to complete the 19th c. bibliography. However I do intend to start posting some things again. I am also happy to talk to you about Heath or Heinecken or whatever. Try using http://www.wjphoto@rochester.rr.com for a more rapid response. William.

      • Hello William,

        Thank you so much. I got in touch with Michael Schrier to chat about the contemporary Dave Heath collection but would love to learn anything new about Robert Heinecken as he is one of my references. I am notably interested in the use of polaroids in his practice and how the use of polaroids would be interpreted today (I use the sx-70 with Impossible Project film).



        Sent from Outlook


      • Hello,
        I’m afraid that your question about Heinecken is too broad for any type of coherant answer. He used Polaroids throughout his career in very many ways. These have been well-documented in several of the monographs published about him. I guess the best comment I can make here is that, for me, Robert’s major artistic interest was to comment upon the underknown or unrecognized impacts which various visual media had upon his society at large, and upon himself as a representative individual within that culture. He often simply found the Polaroid process very handy as a tool to enable him to actually make his creative works and also very useful as a subject technology upon which he could base many of his comments about the nature of his world. In other words, he used the various Polaroid processes both as the subject of his art practice and also as the medium he used to create his art objects.

  2. Regarding the Minstrel Maids pictures, the one signed by Flo Rockwood would seem to be of this person: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=174007972

  3. Renate Burns says:

    I m sending this note in hopes u can help. My grandma passed away and n the box of stuff I recieved was a 1800’s vintage cabinet card album with many cards n excellent condition. There r some from London of Cleopatras needle, the photographers are Hills & Saunders, Henri Bechard, and Francis Bedford. The one by Henri is of some pyramids. And there are many photos. I would like to sell these items can u tell me where to look to find someone interested n them please. Thank You for ur help.

    Renate Burns

    • I’m sorry, I don’t think I can be of much help. I actually don’t know the marketplace for photography very well. There is not enough information here. I don’t know the number or size or quality of the photographs or of the album. “Cabinet cards” is a specific type of image, and one I don’t think that the photographers you mention used very frequently. If they are unbacked photos of views etc. pasted on the album pages, that is one thing. If they are small photos, most often portraits, mounted on cardboard mounts, that is another. The good point is that these are named photographers who are known to the history of photography, so they have some value. The bad thing is that they usually are not worth a lot of money in the commercial photography market, so unless they are very unusual, no auction house or gallery dealer will be interested. Auction houses and dealers usually only deal with a very limited number of specific images by known photographers and stuff they think is worth thousands of dollars. Albums are hard to sell, as opposed to individual photos. I don’t know where you are living. If there are any galleries or dealers in your town you might try to show the album to them. Be cautious. They make their living by buying cheap and selling high. On the other hand, its difficult for a “civilian” to sell photos for any value. If you check my other website on ETSY you see that I’m selling Bedford photographs for $30 to $40 dollars each. I had to set up an ETSY storefront because the dealers were not interested in handling my photos, because, with a few exceptions, they are not worth thousands of dollars. You will probably wind up trying to sell the item on an ETSY site — check the other vintage dealers out to see whats around and what they are asking for that type of work. Or check out E-Bay auctions. Photograph collectors seem to frequent E-Bay sites more frequently, so you might get more action there.

  4. Hi, I’m new to this site. Professor Edwin Emerson, Sr. was my great-great grandfather. I found his stereo views at the Eastman Museum in N.Y. while tracking my family tree. I have photos taken by Edwin in our family photo album from the 1800s. We are a historical family. They were Congressmen, Industrialists, Secretaries of the Treasuries of the U.S., and an Efficiency Engineer. Edwin was connected to Frederick Ferris Thompson through this club and also through meetings that were held at the Sonnenberg Mansion where the major industrialists and bankers would meet for social and business purposes. I am seeking a concrete link within this circle of business men between Edwin and Salmon P. Chase. It must exist and the network through the Thompson’s is the closest thing I can find that could provide this concrete link. The link would have been through Edwin’s son, Harrington Emerson, Efficiency Engineer, who engineered many of the first American railroads, who married Florence Chase-Brooks. Her father was Datus Chase-Brooks, adopted by a Brooks, leaving Chase as his born name apparently. Frederick Thompson’s father was John. They named a bank they started the “Chase National Bank” after their friend and creator of the greenback under Abraham Lincoln, Salmon P. Chase. This places Edwin Emerson and Salmon P. Chase at the Sonnenberg Mansion with the Thompsons at the same time. The concrete link I am seeking is the family relationship between Edwin and Salmon P. Chase. There is one other loose link between them, being Michigan University alumni (Salmon was Supreme Justice with affiliation to Michigan University).

    It is exciting to find this website!

  5. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the
    nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays.

  6. Hello,
    If you get an opportunity to read our bio you will find that we are not dealers in the traditional sense, in that we try to buy items and then resell them. We are historians selling off a collection put together years ago. But thank you for your offer.

  7. jim knipe says:

    Hello Bill:
    I own many photographs of architectural landmarks, interiors and reproductions of paintings that were used in teaching art history. Many were published by Lesch Fine Arts NY and contain images by F. Alinari, Neurdein, Stewart Bale and others. They are original prints mounted to an olive board in various sizes. I could send you some images if you might be interested in purchasing some of them for your retail business. I enjoy your site.

  8. Hey Bill and Susie,

    Thank you!

    Mary P.

  9. LunaBluandCo says:

    Congrats for your wonderful blog!!!!
    Love your work!

    Good luck from Italy!;))

  10. Luis Nadeau says:

    Perhaps your database could be added to the Grove Art Online service, now part of Oxford Art Online:

    Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grove_Art_Online

    Luis Nadeau

  11. Hi Bill,
    Good idea. Time consuming though to maintain traffic (one must provide the beast with fresh flesh).


    • Hi Bruno, Thanks for responding. Don’t I know it. Susie tells me what I’m doing is the equivalent of writing a “publishable paper” for a MFA program, and I’m trying to do about one a week. But I’ve decided that I just have a lot of little bits of info floating around that I still hope is interesting to people interested in photohistory and its never going to see the light of day unless I just post the stuff. I’m going to try to start putting in shorter stuff soon — just fun notes that I’ve run into over the years. Please join in if youve got stuff to add. Wm.

  12. Hi Bill, good running into you after all those years. I bought your original bibliography (light blue binding) when it came out years ago. Regarding your new project, ca. 8,000 pp. in length: You have to be a certified masochist to handle such a project in Microsoft Word! The first edition of my Encyclopedia of Printing, Photographic and Photomechanical Processes was done with Word and I quickly ran out of hair to pull out!

    Adobe Framemaker can handle multi-volume work with ease. Boeing, General Motors, etc., use Framemaker for their maintenance manuals, etc. It is not too expensive if you can get the educational price and you can create very powerful cross-referenced documents with many indices formatted on the fly in several languages with proper hyphenation, etc. The software can also produce a pdf with live links.

    I suggest that your new project is too extensive to be put on paper. You need a database publishing solution. I’m not sure if this would work but I experimented for a while with the sale of a revised edition of my Encyclopedia in a pdf format, password-protected. This is not a perfect solution as it is time-consuming. You may want to approach the Getty Research or Conservation Institutes:


    and see what they have to say. My new Encyclopedia (see http://www.photoconservation.com) will be available on paper and probably in the iPad format but my projects are smaller than 1,000 pp.


    Luis Nadeau

    • Hi,
      Thanks for your comments. I will try to look into your suggestions as soon as I get a little space. I also think that an on line database would be best, but I have absolutely no skills in that direction and more than a little paranoia about losing the materials. But I will check it out . Thanks again. Good to hear from you.


  13. Hey Bill, Remind me about the Ryder Swing photo. I’m busy as a one legged man in an ass-kicking contest over here in Memphis. The day schedule for the Folk Alliance convention is now nine pages long and growing, and I’m up to my patoot in it.

  14. I also second Mr. Cohen’s observations regarding this joint endeavor and look forward to further posts. Bill, I seem to think we ran into each other at the George Eastman House several years back but if I’m only hallucinating then I only wish I had run into you. Thanks again for a delightful resource.

    • Hi, Thanks for your encouragement. I worked at the GEH for a while.–We may have met there, but my memory is terrible so forgive me if I dont know. Will be posting stuff as I get to it. Did you see our store on ETSY? Same name as blog. What is your specific interest in photo?

      • I’m interested in worldwide artistic photography from the late 1880’s to about World War I. My website PhotoSeed.com was launched last year. I timed my visit to Rochester with a good friend in order to see the “Truth/Beauty” show as well as to meet with Grant Romer for research and librarian Rachel Stuhlman. I have seen the Etsy storefront-very nice indeed and I will definitely check back for updates!

      • Very nice site. I’ve long felt that the period that your interested in has been badly undervalued within standard histories of photography as I feel that its a period of dynamic change and great growth. Its great that your looking into that time so carefully.

  15. Mike Johnson says:

    Your blog looks amazing! What an incredible resource.
    You wouldn’t happen to have any alligator wrasslin’ pictures, would you?

  16. This is a marvelous enterprise and I will be checking in periodically to make sure the two of your behave.

    • Hi Andy, Actually getting a hunger for pulled pork — how you doing? You might not remember, but I found the Ryder Swing Bridge picture when visiting you in Ohio years ago. Finally, someone can get to see it as it deserves — I hope. Wm.

  17. Cynthia Cable says:

    Did you know that I took course @ Harvard one summer early 70’s with Rbt. Heineckin? He loosened me up considerably in my photographic style. We had a show @ the Fogg at the end of the class & my works were banned, I am proud to say. I was in LA at the time for J’s medical school & the work was removed from the show. They were Itek prints, all double or triple exposures, that were of human body parts. I am still working with that sort of imagry today. He was an inspiring teacher. Cindy

    • Hi Cynthia,
      I first met Heinecken during that same time (I expect) and his work had the same effect on me, widening my understanding about what constituted serious art — for which I’ve always been grateful. I tried to write about that in a more graceful manner in my obituary note published in Afterimage when he died. A loss to us all.
      If I can get around to the 20th century someday I may post excerpts from the Polaroid project with Heinecken interviews, etc. on this blog. Thanks for your comments. Wm.

  18. hi

  19. Carlos Chiarenza says:

    Very handsome. Good luck and keep me posted. One day we might have lunch again!!!!

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