Caught Our Eye: Sunshine in the House

What first catches my eyes in Gertrude Käsebier’s 1913 photograph is the streaming sunshine illuminating the interior scene while one bold slant of sunlight has entered the room through the open screen door:

Photo shows Clarence White and family, posed just inside doorway, at F. Holland Day's house in Maine.

Sunshine in the House. Photograph by Gertrude Käsebier, 1913. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.30560

Next, as I survey the five people gathered near the open door, the sailor’s attire worn by the four male figures prompts me to wonder: Are they off to a morning sailing outing or maybe even a regatta? And, what is the relationship between these five people?

The succinct summary in the catalog entry provides helpful context: “Photo shows Clarence White and family, posed just inside doorway, at F. Holland Day’s house in Maine.” White, Day, and Käsebier (along with other notable photographers including Alvin Langdon Coburn, Frank Eugene, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, et. al.) had all been associated individually and in various combinations with the effort to establish photography as a fine art accorded the status of painting, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking. So, my imagination takes over at this point speculating that perhaps Day was hosting White (and family) and Käsebier for a holiday of snapshooting and late-night discussions of the aesthetic qualities that make fine photographs worthy of distinction as “art.” Sign me up for next summer’s gathering!

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