Gertrude Kasebier (U.S., 1852-1934): A Christmas Scene

Platinum print, 8 x 6 inches, circa 1904

Like Julia Margaret Cameron, Kasebier took up photography only after her children were grown. She was a founding member of the Photo-Secession, having earlier received recognition from overseas by becoming the first woman elected to The Linked Ring. Kasebier remained in the first ranks of creative photographers and in 1916 helped to found the Pictorialist Photographers of America.

This seldom-seen image utilizes many of the signature techniques of Secessionist photography, including lighting that creates an atmospheric quality and defines space. In depicting the figures silhouetted against a brilliant light, Kasebier is making use of the platinum print's capacity to render subtle tones within shadows. This technique is reminiscent of her most famous photograph, another mother-and-child composition called "Blessed Art Thou Among Women."

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Kasebier always spelled her name with an umlaut over the "a," and even featured the umlaut in her monogram. It has been dropped here because some browsers do not support it.


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