Am Gartenzaun Williams, James Leon  (American, 1852-1932)

James Leon Williams was a dentist, scientist, scholar, artist, and philosopher. While he is most noted as the first to discover plaque and the inventor of modern dentures, he was also a photographer of considerable ability, using photographic techniques for both artistic and scientific purposes. As a scientist, his microphotographic research confirmed the relationship between bacteria and tooth decay. As an artist, he was amongst the few American photographers to fully recognize the photogravure process as not only a technique for reproducing photographs, but an artform in its own right. Williams’ work is most akin to the school of photography founded by Peter Henry Emerson, where creating an atmospheric composition with soft peripheral focus would most closely resemble nature. He produced two fine photogravure picture books, “The Home and haunts of Shakespeare” (1892), and “The land of Sleepy Hollow and the home of Washington Irving” (1887). His work on the home of Washington Irving was a collaborative effort with the well known Irving illustrator, Felix Darley. The book celebrates the work of Washington Irving, his literary importance and enduring popularity.

Since the early 1850s the development of photography was documented and supported elaborately by magazines in France, England and Austria, the USA and Germany. None of these early magazines were as relevant as Photographische Correspondenz, particularly in German speaking regions. Founded in 1864, and edited by Ludwig Schrank as a periodical from practitioners for practitioners, with an emphasis on composition and the various genres of photography, including the practical aspects of photography as a fine art. Containing photogravures by Klic, Riffarth, Blechinger,Paulussen, Johannes Bayer, J Löwy, and Wilhelm Cronenberg, the content of the periodical negotiates photo-technical and photochemical innovations, provides guidance for professional photographers, examines new fine print methods as well as scientific, economic and esthetic aspects of photography.

The photographs for the most part came from Vienna studios. High-quality prints dominated its pages, using established reproduction processes that were economically beneficial. The majority of these fine prints were provided provided by Vienna studios and J. Albert, C. Aubel, K. Klietsch, Ch. Reutlinger, and L. Rutherfurd.

References

James Leon Williams: Dentist, Photographer, Philosopher https://blogs.harvard.edu/preserving/2015/05/12/james-leon-williams-dentist-photographer-philosopher/ cited 10/22/22