Portland Society of Photographic art (Portland)

1905: “First Display in Portland’s New Art Museum
On of the most important of the afterlent events will be the photographic salon opening at tha new art museum on Fifth street tomorrow evening. Its importance lies not only in its own excellence but in the fact that this is the first opening of the handsome new art association home. It is, to be sure, only a preliminary opening being made especially for the showing of the splendid art exhibit that comes our way at this time, and only the upstairs will be opened. Next week, after the exhibit is over, the building will be closed again for completion, furnishing, and for the setting up of seats, and will not be open till about June 1.
The museum makes a very attractive home for the art association and gives it the space for which it has sighed in vain during its years of habitation in the library building. There has been no fight between the two parties, yet it is hard to say which rejoices the more at the removal, the art association or the library association. Suffice it to say that no tears have been shed on either side, unless it be for the extra work the rearranging implies.
The new art building is particularly attractive for its absolute plainness. There is no more ornamentation on or about the building than is absolutely necessary to identify as an art building instead od merely a nicely furnished barn. And this is as it should be. Everywhere is the simplicity of elegance. The rooms are welt proportioned, and well lighted; the windows are well grouped and well placed; the walls are calcimined or burlapped in a soft easy color; the woodwork and floors are stained in a prettily harmonizing color which does not show dust or scratches easily; the doorways are amply large and yet not too large, and the rooms are easily accessible from one another. But there is no showy marble, no heavy frescoing, no elaborate ornamentation to detract from the art of statuary or paintings. The building throughout la a return to the simple and strong In architecture.
Upstairs are two galleries, well lighted overhead, which will be used for art displays of various kinds. These rooms will be initiated by the photographic art salon which opens tomorrow night. They are finished in natural colored burlapplng with oiled and waxed floor, and woodwork in stained brown oak, finish. In the angle formed by these two rooms is the art library which is finished in dark green calcimated with stained woodwork in a dull green. The curator’s room off the other end of the lighted gallery and opening into the hall, is finished in the same manner as tha library. The halls are in a soft pale green calcimating. The upstairs only will be open to visitors this week. The work downstairs has been delayed
to complete the upstairs rooms in time for this opening. The caat room downstairs is calcimated in green, and the lecture and art study, rooms in burlap.

Every one does not yet know the principle on which the photographic salon which will he seen in this city
will be baaed, and many never knew before that there was such an enterprise in America, but localizing the interest in anything of this kind brings a search for information. The collection is sent out by the American Federation of Photographic societies which has its headquarters in New York. The societies
belonging to the federation are the Boston Camera club, the Brooklyn Camera club, the Capital Camera club (Washington, D. C), the Chicago Camera club, the Columbia Photographic society, the Metropolitan Camera club (New York), the Portland (Maine) Camera club, the Portland (Oregon) Society of Photographic art, the Salon club of America (New York), the Toronto Camera club, the Photographic Section Pittsburg Academy of Sciences and art, and the San Francisco Salon club. All these send work to be judged and any one not a member of a society may send it independently. Thus while there are only 13 clubs represented in the actual organization work is received from all over the world and the honor of securing a place among about 380, out of 10,000, is not to be laughed at. Many of the leading photographers not only of America but of Europe, are represented in the collection. Besides almost all the states in the union being represented in the final selection pictures are included in the collection from Birmingham, Plymouth, Bristol, Wolverhampton, Surrey, West Hartlepool, Kent, and Staffordshire; in England; Edinburgh. Selkirk, Glasgow, and Fraserburgh in Scotland; Hamburg, Hainau and Darmstadt, in Germany; Paris, Tours, and Bordeaux, in France; Genoa, Italy; Riga, Russia; Copenhagen, Denmark; Toronto, Canada; and Brussels, Belgium. Many other countries competed.
Portland then may feel proud that she has four artists represented in five pictures, and one other Oregon artist, Mrs. Helen P, Gatch of Salem, has two pictures. The officers of the Portland society are: President, Will H. Walker; vice-president, George F, Holman; secretary-tressurer, O. M. Ash. The members, in speaking of their organization, always emphasize the fact that they are in no way in opposition to or in rivalry with the the Oregon Camera club, for many are members of both organizations. They have organized merely for united effort, and have as their object the general object of the federation — the advancement of pictorial photography, the encouragement of rising pictorial workers, and the development of new talent.
A jury of 2l members is appointed to pass judgment on the pictures submitted and the final collection is sent entire, to such of the prominent cities as are able to secure it. This year they were sent in order from New York to Washington, Pittsburg. Chicago, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, and go from here to Boston end Toronto. San Francisco and Portland co-operated to get it out to the coast and divided the expense.
The collection itself includes pictures of every– class and a thorough study of them –serves to impress one more and more with the fact that photography is a high art which, by the way is just the reason why the federation exists and sends out its best work for the public to see. Such well known artists as Walter Zimmerman of Philadelphia, George H. Seeley of Stockbridge, Mass., Curtis Bell and Mrs. Jeanne B. Bennett of New York are among the list, and as the competition is not limited to amateurs and includes many leading professionals of the country, the amateurs have reason to be proud of their laurels.
Decisions are made not only on technical merit front the photographer’s standpoint, but are judged for their artistic value as well. So that if one sees a picture in which he finds no exceptional merit he can take the comforting assurance that perhaps its photographic technicalities, of which he knows nothing, recommend it.
There are in the collection some splendid specimens of what is known as “funny” pictures, those that are indistinct at near view and take form at a distance. There are beautiful fog scenes which present more details to the eye the longer it looks. Foreign scenes on land and water, domestic scenes of peasant life, scenes that are such good imitation of Corot’s trees and Millet’s laborers that they seem a copy, pastoral scenes that bring to mind old paintings of these favorite subjects, photographs done in colors, photographs that resemble old etchings, photographs of clouds, photographs of light and shadows, photographs that you must walk away from to get the expressional effect, and photographs that you must put up against your nose to appreciate the value of careful detail; in fact, nothing seems omitted and there are pictures that cannot fail to appeal to everyone, no matter how diversified their tastes.
O. M. Ash of this city has two pictures in the collection, both water scenes, “The Mighty Deep” and “The Fishers.” The former shows a small ship on the ocean just as a small squall is rising. The picture was taken from another vessel. Later the small squall developed into one large enough to sink that same ship.
Miss Bertha Breyman and George F. Holman, also of this city, have pictures whicn are typically Oregonian, especially the latter. “The Meadow.” which is Miss Breyman contribution, as its title shows, a simple bit of landscape, well chosen and artistically finished. Mr. Holman’s picture, “An Oregon Wild Duck Lake,” is done in dark greens, giving the natural effect of the rich coloring about the marsh in the foreground and the brush about it and the fir-covered “buttes” in the background.
The picture signed by Cora T. and Will H. Walker Is called “White Death’ and shows a bit of Oregon country after an unusually heavy and blighting frost, which is weighing everything down to the earth with the burden. The detail work is good and minute crystals are plainly shown. Mrs. Gatch’s work is in portraiture. “The Usurper”, is particularly happy in its choice of title, showing a small boy eyeing enviously the affectionate attentions bestowed by the mother upon the little later-comer in her lap. The photographer was particularly fortunate in catcning the injured, longing expression on the face of the older child. Her other picture is a portrait study, “Agnes”
The salon will open tomorrow evening to the public and catalogues nave been prepared giving the number and subject “or each picture, the exhibitor and his town or club of which he is a member, if any. All throughout the week it will be open to visitors from 2 to 5 o’clock in the afternoon and from 7:30 to 10 o’clock in the evening. The exhibition is free to all.” Oregon daily journal, April 23, 1905, sec, 2, pg. 21, whole page story with illustrations.
“An Oregon Wild Duck Lake” by George F. Holman, Portland, Or.
“The Fishers,” by O. M. Ash, Portland, Or.
“Good Morning” by P. H. Thompson, Portland, Me. Camera Club.
“Girls Ain’t Much,” by Mrs. W. W. Pease, Waukegan, Ill.”
“An Artist,” by Alice (illegible) Cook, Philadelphia, Pa.

1905: “Photographic Salon Opens. The first American Photographic Salon, presented by the Portland Society of Photographic Art, will be opened to the public at the Museum of Art, Fifth and Taylor streets, tonight at 7 o’clock.
This salon, consisting of 350 pictures, representative of the best photographic work in America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Denmark, Italy and Belgium, is one of the most notable events in local art and photographic circles. Oregon is represented in this salon by four exhibitors, Mrs. Helen P. Gatch, of Salem, with “The Usurper” and “Agnes”; O. M. Ash. of Portland, “The Mighty Deep” and “The Eishers”; George F. Holman, of Portland, “An “Oregon
Wild Duck Lake”; Cora T. and Will H. Walker, of Portland, “The White Death.” Morning Oregonian, April 24, 1905, pg. 7, col. 3.

1906: “Oregon Photographers Win Distinction at American Salon in New York City.

Distinction has come to two Oregon Photographers, in that their work has been hung in the second annual American Salon of Photographers at New York. Henry Berger, Jr., of Portland has had three pictures accepted, and Mrs. Helen P. Gatch, of Salem, has had two pictures hung. This is no small achievement, in view of the fact that the competition is really international, pictures being entered from Germany, England, France and Italy. A total of 1800 pictures were received, of which less than one-fourth were accepted. Most of the competitors were from various points in the United States.

The Art judges are three of America’s most eminent artists, Kenyon Cox, John LaFarge and William Chase. The selection of a jury whose member are so well established in the field of art gave assurance that the battle would be fought out on the one basis of artistic merit.

Mr. Berger had one portrait, one landscape and one genre accepted, while Mrs. Gatch succeeded with a marine and genre. Her marine picture, ‘The Incoming Tide,’ is shown above, and is striking for its originality of conception, fine composition and delicate handling. The portrait by Mr. Berger shown herewith is a representative bit of art photography. ” Sunday Oregonian, January 14, 1906, pg. 11, cols. 1-4.


‘When Life is a Pleasure” by Henry Berger, Jr.

‘Incoming Tide’ by Mrs. Helen P. Gatch, of Salem.