Author: Alfred Cheney Johnston
Alfred Cheney Johnston (known as "Cheney" to his friends and associates) (April 8, 1885 - April 17, 1971) was a New York City-based photographer known for his portraits of Ziegfeld Follies showgirls as well as of 1920s and 1930s actors and actresses.
Johnston was born into an affluent New York banking family, which subsequently moved to Mount Vernon, New York. Initially he studied painting and illustration at the National Academy of Design in New York, but after graduating in 1908 (and marrying fellow student Doris Gernon the next year), his subsequent efforts to earn a living as a portrait painter did not meet with success. Instead, reportedly at the suggestion of longtime family friend and famed illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, he started to employ the camera previously used to record his painting subjects as his basic creative medium. In approximately 1917, Johnston was hired by famed New York City live-theater showman and producer Florenz Ziegfeld as a contracted photographer, and was affiliated with the Ziegfeld Follies for the next fifteen years or so (he also maintained his own highly successful personal commercial photo studio at various locations around New York City as well, photographing everything from aspiring actresses and society matrons to a wide range of upscale retail commercial products—mostly men's and women's fashions—for magazine ads). He photographed several hundred actresses and showgirls (mainly in New York City, and whether they were part of the Follies or not) during that time period. For his indoor studio work, Johnston often employed a large "Century"-brand view camera that produced 11x14-inch glass-plate negatives, so a standard Johnston 11x14 photographic print was actually just a "contact print" from the negative and not enlarged at all. This size of negative afforded extremely fine image detail. (However, Johnston also is confirmed to have shot with a Graflex camera in 3-1/4 x 4-1/4-inch roll-film format; an unknown brand of 8x10 view camera; and a Zeiss Ikon camera in 120 [2-1/4 x 2-1/4-inch] film format.) ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Cheney_Johnston