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An Ethiopian Chief Day, Holland  (American, 1864-1933)

It may have shocked some of the subscribers to Camera Notes to open the October 1897 issue and discover one of the first pictures taken in the United States that ennobled a black American. Here was a vigorous, uncompromising young male, regally draped in a striped North African robe, crowned with a headdress of black pigeon wings. He gripped a staff in one hand and with the other held back the robe to reveal a serene body naked to the navel. It was one of the first photographic embodiments of the idea that ‘Black is beautiful.’  


Jussim, Estelle. Slave to Beauty: The Eccentric Life and Controversial Career of F. Holland Day, Photographer, Publisher, Aesthete. Boston: David R. Godine, 1981.  p. 107