Ebony and Ivory Day, Holland  (American, 1864-1933)

Few of the images seen in Camera Notes were as subdued and emotional as those by F. Holland Day. Day’s important figure study, Ebony and Ivory, wallows in shadow and lack of definition. By rendering an out-of-focus black figure against a nebulous dark background, Day produced nothing short of a visual tone poem. The issue of Camera Notes that included Ebony and Ivory described Day’s way of working: “His aspiration has been to lift us into the realms of the imagination by avoiding the vulgar effects of mere realistic quality; and he has aimed throughout his work to suggest, not the mere beauty that delights the eye, but the grace which moves the intellectual and higher sensibilities as well”. [1]

Only three of Day’s images were reproduced by Stieglitz in Camera Notes and American Pictorial Photography. None in Camera Work.

See the highlight https://photogravure.com/highlights/ebony-and-ivory/ for more info.

Reproduced / Exhibited

Jussim, Estelle. Slave to Beauty: The Eccentric Life and Controversial Career of F. Holland Day, Photographer, Publisher, Aesthete. Boston: Godine, 1981. pl.11 (reversed)

Naef, Weston J. The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz: Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography. New York: Viking Press, 1978. no 178


[1] Peterson Christian A et al. Alfred Stieglitz’s Camera Notes. 1st ed. Published by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Association with W.W. Norton 1993. p. 20