Sigismund Blumann, California Editor and

Photographer
Christian A. Peterson
Sigismund Blumann (1872-1956) (figure 1) was a promin­
ent taste maker in Californian photography during the
1920s and 1930s. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area
for his entire career, he edited magazines, wrote books,
and made creative photographs. From 1924 to 1933
Blumann edited Camera Craft, the leading West Coast
photographic monthly. Subsequently he established his
own periodical, Photo Art Monthly, which he published
until 1940. In these two magazines - for over fifteen
years - Blumann found a large audience of mainstream
pictorial photographers. In addition, he wrote five instruc­
tional books on photography, providing a substantial
Figure 1. Sigismllnd Billmann. Self-Portrait, c. 1930. Minneapolis
Institute of Arts, gift of Dr Donald and Alice Lappe.
HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY, VOLUME 26. NUMBER I, SI>RING 2002
amount of technical information for committed picture­
makers. During the 1920s, Blumann also made accomp­
lished pictorial photographs of his own, concentrating on
landscape work. After the middle of the twentieth century,
however, his visibility diminished quickly, due to his own
inactivity and a growing disdain for pictorialism. None­
theless, he established a place for himself in American
photography that now deserves recognition.
Sigismund was born Simon Blumann on 13 or 14
September 1872, in New York City.l Nine years later, as
an only child, he moved with his German-born father,
Alexander, and his Polish-born mother, Rosalie (Price),
to San Francisco. According to Thomas W. High,
Blumann's grandson, Sigismund's mother encouraged her
son to study music seriously at an early age, hoping he
would become a concert pianist. He developed his talents
sufficiently to perform in a public concert at age sixteen
but in order to make a living started teaching music a
few years later, in 1890. Blumann continued to teach and
perform for the next thirty years, enjoying a full career
in music before turning to photography. In 1894 he was
the musical director of both the California School of
Elocution and Oratory and a musical production that
travelled out of state. Ten years later he helped form a
'music bureau' that booked bands and represented a music
publisher. In the 191Os, when he was at the height of his
musical career, he led his own orchestra, which played at
venues such as the 1916 annual banquet of the Fire
Underwriters Association of the Pacific.
Blumann met his future wife, HiJda Johansson, while
teaching music, sometime during the 1890s. Sigismund
and Hilda fell in love but were initially thwarted by both
sets of parents owing to their different religions, the
Blumanns beingJewish. Hilda was sent back to her native
Sweden but managed to return to the United States
and marry Sigismund in 1901. The couple lived with
Blumann's parents for about five years but in 1907, shortly
after the San Francisco earthquake and fire, they bought
their own house across the bay in the Fruitvale section
of Oakland. They had four girls: Ethel, born in 1902;
ISSN 0308-7298 © 2002 Taylor & Francis Ltd. 53
Christian A. Peterson
Amy, born in 1906; Lorna, born in 1908; and Vera, born
in 1911. In about 1915, badly needing more space, the
Blumanns reconfigured their modest one-storey, six-room
cottage into an impressive three-storey, sixteen-room
house. Interestingly, the original storey was raised to the
top of the house, and the new Roors inserted underneath.
Blumann remained at this residence, situated on the crest
of a small hill, for the rest of his life.
Blumann's enlarged house better accommodated one
of his most serious avocations - letterpress printing.
Foreshadowing his interest in photographic publishing,
Blumann maintained a home printing press from at least
1889. In that year, still living with his parents in San
Francisco, he handprinted a pamphlet promoting his
musical services. To Music Teachers and Students: A New
System oj Musical Theory in Hand-Book Form utilized red
and black ink and old-style type on deckle-edged paper,
evoking the designs of Englishman William Morris.
Appropriately dubbed the Home Press, Blumann's print
shop produced other small, well-designed pieces on music,
poetry, and photography, his three main life passions.
Early Years in Photography
Blumann became interested in photography during the
1890s, early in his musical career. He first used his wife's
Kodak camera to make snapshots and soon began search­
ing the photographic periodicals for information and
advice. He appreciated the 'spirit of helpfulness that
pervaded' The American Annual oj Photography,2 but was
most drawn to Photo-Beacon, a photographic monthly
published in Chicago until 1907. In later years he fre­
quently reminisced about how much he learned from the
magazine's editor, F. Dundas Todd, who supplied both
technical information and critiques of Blumann's prints.
Todd promoted a conservative aesthetic agenda that
Blumann would later continue in his own magazines.
By 1906, when the San Francisco earthquake hit,
Blumann owned his own, more sophisticated camera,
which he used to document the quake's aftermath.
According to his family, Blumann wished to get so close
to the action that he volunteered in rescue efforts in order
to get behind police lines. Once there he photographed
hundreds of destroyed buildings, blocks, and streets. Only
a small number of 5 x 7-inch prints of these subjects
remain, however, for Blumann later destroyed most of
them, fearing that they might be used by insurance
companies as evidence against property owners.
About the time he moved to Oakland, in 1907,
Blumann became a part-time portrait photographer, as a
sideline to his musical career. He joined with Jacques
Tillmany, a fellow musician, to offer home portraiture, a
line of portrait photography popularized by such advanced
East-Coast workers as Clarence H. White. The advantages
of this genre were that it relieved the photographer of
maintaining a permanent studio and it elicited more
relaxed poses from the subjects. The firm of Blumann
and Tillmany promoted themselves in a small brochure,
At Home Portraiture, undoubtedly printed at Blumann's
Home Press. It featured tipped-in original photographs as
samples of their work and the phrase 'We Come To You'
printed on every other page. The brochure's text con­
trasted the activity of going to a photographer's studio
for a portrait with the experience of having one's picture
made at home. The former was described as time consum­
ing and unnerving, in part, because of the foreign environ­
ment. Home portraiture, on the other hand, provided
ease and comfort for the sitter. The brochure also stated:
'You know your own home and safe to say you like it.
The walls are familiar, the furniture is intimate, the
atmosphere is your own, and if under such conditions
you are not smoothed and patted into a benignant mood
it were indeed strange
03
Blumann believed that a portrait
reRected the way a subject felt and commented that, in
five years experience, he had never had to ask someone
to look pleasant in their own home. Blumann and
Tillmany also appealed to entertainers to have their
portraits made at their place of work, where make-up
and wardrobes were conveniently located. And they
declared that their type of portraiture was truly artistic ­
a step above nonnal, studio work, where faces were often
heavy retouched. Their work was 'of the freest, pictorial
portraiture; perhaps too unusual for general taste, but it
serves here to show how near the camera can come to
simulating the methods of the painter'.4
It is likely that Blumann wrote the text in the Blumann
and Tillmany brochure, for he soon began penning full­
blown articles for photographic magazines. His first known
contribution appeared in 1911, and over the next thirteen
years - while he continued to make his living primarily
in music - he wrote over fifty articles. They appeared
in Photo-Era, a Boston monthly, The American Animal oj
Photography, published in New York City, Wilson's
Photographic Magazine, also from New York, and Camera
CraJt, issued across the bay in San Francisco. The latter,
not surprisingly included more than half of his early articles.
During this period Hlumann addressed many of the topics
he would continue to essay during his later career as an
editor: technique, photography as an art, camera clubs, the
role of critics, nude photography, and others.
B1umann's first known article, 'Cutting Masks for
Border Printing', appeared in the March 1911 issue of
Camera Craft. In it he explained the procedure for creating
templates and using them to print decorative borders,
which he used for many of his own photographs. The
fact that his initial contribution to a magazine was technic­
ally oriented affIrmed his early and abiding interest in
the science of photography. His second article, which
appeared two years later in the same journal, pointedly
emphasized the importance of laboratory work. He chided
photographers who used prepared chemicals for not fully
understanding their materials and claimed that, for him,
laboratory work was the most pleasurable part of pho­
tography. Blumann boasted that he was the ultimate
54
expert on kallitype pnntlng (better known today as
vandyke brown) and extremely knowledgeable about
other photographic processes: 'When it comes to the
darkroom I have you all beaten; beaten all the way and
back. There isn't a chemical H. D' Arcy Power [technical
editor of Camera Crafl] has mentioned in the past ftve
years that is not on my shelves'.5
In 1914 Blumann penned four articles. He continued
to promote good technique, writing, for instance, about
the economic and artistic advantages of sensitizing one's
own photographic paper.
6
In other articles he railed
against the Photographers Association of America for their
proposal to license all photographers, amateur and profes­
sional alike,7 and essayed the work and personality of
Ohio photographer Nancy Ford Cones.
8
The article,
'Constructive, Helpful Criticism', however, was his most
important of the year and his first in Photo-Era. It began:
'Judgement tempered with mercy, criticism mellowed
with sympathy, advice made acceptable with kindness ­
these are the qualities which, when added to knowledge
of the subject, make an ideal critic,.9 Blumann believed
strongly in constructive criticism, and the values he listed
guided him for the rest of his career as a writer on
photography. In the article, he mentioned the patience
and positive outlook of magazine editors F. Dundas Todd,
of Photo Beacon, and Fayette]. Clute, of Camera Crafl,
both of whom were role models for him. He observed
that critics who lacked appreciation often became bitter
and those who were too severe usually lost respect, fates
he wished to avoid. Blumann also noted that - at this
early stage in his writing - he had already been acknow­
ledged for the value of his 'kind words' about several
prominent photographers. Yet, curiously, he then
admitted to a 'pitiful lack of real art education', an
attribute that might have given pause to those he passed
judgement upon. .
Despite Blumann's lack "of artistic training, he felt
strongly that p,hotography could be an art. He weighed
in on the subject for the fIrSt time in 1915 with a simply
titled article, 'Photography a Fine Art', in which he made
the familiar claim that it was the individual, not the
materials, that created a work of art. If a photographer
infused an image with perception, discernment, sympathy,
understanding, and spirituality, it, most probably, rose to
artistic heights. Blumann knew from personal experience
how many choices a photographer had to make in order
to succeed: 'Let us never forget that back of the ground
glass is the eye of an artist, and that along every material
step in the procedure a mind with dreams of an ultimate
conception, the spirit of a master is the dominating force
that rightly compounds the chemicals, measures the
seconds accurately for the purpose, selects the paper of
the proper tone, surface and finish, and at the last, so
trims that the idea, emotion, or what you will, shall gain
in its conveyance'. He believed the spirit of a thing
decreed its creative standing and that the' Muse may smile
through a photographic print'.10 Blumann allied himself
Sigismund Blumann, Editor and Photographer
with Alfred Stieglitz, who was still ftghting for acceptance
of photography as an art in his exquisite quarterly Camera
Work. He closed his 1915 article with 'a word of tribute
to Mr. Stieglitz, who, with inflexible (stiff-necked, if you
will) persistence, has disdained all argument and bravely
gone ahead, maintaining that where photography is not
a flOe art it is not to be considered at all' .11 'He neither
argues nor debates', Blumann wrote, 'And I go with him'.
Blumann, however, felt that artistic photographers
should not manipulate their imagery. His second article
for Photo-Era, published in 1915, asked in its title, 'Is
there a Place Left for Straight Photography'? He declared
that 'however broadly a photographer works he must
conftne himself to the limits of his branch of art or confess
that he is reaching in extremis for help elsewhere, any­
where. The painter works broadly, but with paints. He
does not, for instance, put on plaster-moldings to get
relief'.12 He felt that use of a 'doctored' negative excluded
the resulting picture from classiftcation as a photograph,
and he even objected to enlargements, preferring the
classic, small and intimate contact print. Blumann was
well aware that he stood counter to many prominent
pictorialists who performed extensive handwork on their
negatives and prints to make them look more painterly.
But he disparaged the practice as misguided and found
much of their work to be mere curiosities that did not
enrich photography as an art form.
In addition to writing in 1915 about straight pho­
tography and photography as an art, Blumann wrote at
least four articles on San Francisco's Panama-Paciftc
Exposition and one on how to organize a camera club.
His articles on the exposition, which appeared in the New
York Tribune and the Photographic Journal oj America, sur­
veyed the buildings and exhibits without regard to photo­
graphic issues. His piece on camera clubs, however,
vividly addressed a key element of American photography
at the time. From the late nineteenth century to the
middle of the t'\:ventieth, amateurs, pictorialists, and profes­
sionals organized hundreds of clubs around the country.
They offered equipment, instruction, and comradeship,
met regularly, and were bastions of social activity. By the
First War most sizeable American cities had at least one
camera club, a phenomenon that greatly spread serious
interest in photography.
Blumann's article on camera clubs recounted his
experience organizing a short-lived group in OakJand a
few years earlier. It appeared in Camera Crafl and was one
of the few critical articles to appear on the subject. He
related how he had taken on the primary responsibility
of writing letters to prospective members, renting club
rooms, and running meetings. Soon, however, the club
was consumed with debates over such non-photographic
issues as its name and constitution, and its expenses began
to exceed income. Exasperated, Blumann resigned as
president and pledged to never try forming a club again.
'Don't do it', he wrote. 'To the pioneer in such a
movement comes all the expenses, trouble, annoyance,
55
Christian A. Peterson
blame and heartburnings, and none of the credit, profit,
glory or pleasure'.13 He advised photographers to devote
their time, money, and energy to their work, and, if they
needed the facilities of a club, to avoid getting involved
in its business affairs.
The very next year Blumann went against his own
advice and participated in at least t""o organizations of
photographers. In February 1916 Blumann wrote a lead
article for Camera Craft praising the work ofJ. C. Strauss,
a prominent St Louis portrait photographer. He compared
Strauss's work to the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds
and John Singer Sargent and boasted that he had success­
fully recruited Strauss for membership in a group called
the Photo Fellows of the World. Blumann indicated that
he was, in fact, the 'Dean' of the group, which circulated
work among its members and kept a low profile. Later
that year Blumann spoke at the California Camera Club,
which had been based in San Francisco since its founding
in 1890. On a special evening devoted to Nancy Ford
Cones, he critiqued her eighty pictures on display and
conducted his orchestra, craftily combining his interests
in photography and music. It seems that Blumann quickly
got over his aversion to photographic organizations,
probably because such groups were so pervasive and
active.
In 1917 Blumann wrote his first article on nude
photography and, separately, his first for The American
Annual [1 Photography. Revealing his conservative outlook,
Blumann initia1ly was somewhat sceptical of the nude as
a subject for photography. He recommended it only for
advanced pictorialists, rather than average amateurs, and
warned that photographers were always in danger of
presenting plain nakedness because of the verisimilitude
of the medium. 'The camera is too frank and too handy.
It shows, for aU the technique of the most skillful, a
tendency to record, with .disconcerting keenness, the
body - not the soul'.14 He feft that women photographers
like Anne Brigman and Kate Smith did the best nude
work, but not a single illustration accompanied his article,
suggesting the equal conservatism of the editor of
Camera Craft.
His contribution to the A nnual, the country's leading
yearly digest, was ostensibly about studio Lighting, but,
instead, essayed the influence creative amateurs were
having on professional portraiture. BLumann pointed out
that the best portraitists, such as John H. Garo, Elias
Goldensky, and J. C. Strauss, had adopted the relaxed
poses, natural lighting, diffused backgrounds, and artistic
mounts used by pictorialists. The article also exemplified
the author's inclination to write unconventionally. In its
last paragraph, Blumann included a whopping 114-word
sentence that, despite its length, was still incomplete.
Over time his writing style would become increasingly
idiosyncratic.
In 1918 Blumann again contributed heavily to period­
icals, with seven articles. He wrote about his own role as
a critic, revisited the subject of nudes, and penned two
articles inspired by the First World War. His patriotic
pieces, one for Camera Cralt and one for Photo-Era. both
appealed to photographers to sell to the government the
lenses it badly needed for the war effort. He pointed out
that the mi.litary needed only certain types of lenses and
that most photographers who owned them could easily
spare them. Blumann, who was then forty-six years old,
did not try to recruit soldiers but did declare that he
wished he was young enough to enlist.
Blumann's 1918 articles about nude photography
were more encouraging than his piece on the same subject
the year before. In Photo-Era he addressed the problems
that many people had with the nude as a subject for
artists. He suggested that most of those who objected to
the nude were, in fact, not opposed to all nudity, only
to particular nude pictures that were artistically unjustifi­
able. 'When they are led to consider each instance by
itself and to judge it as an instance rather than a compre­
hensive basis, they will find that there is no evil in Art,
and that there never was from its inception,.ls In his
article for The American Annual of Photography 1918,
Blumann advised photographers how to make successful
images of the nude. According to him, the most important
elements were generic settings, natural poses, and idealized
models. And he analysed how these features were present
in the work that illustrated his article - photographs by
Anne Brigman, Louis A. Goetz, and Percy Neymann, all
fellow Californians.
Blumann's other main topic in 1918 was the photo­
graphic critic - his own position. Such self awareness
kept his ego partially in check and made for interesting
reading. Earlier in the year Blumann had criticized a
particular photographer's nude work as inferior to his
landscape work. In retrospect, however, Blumann appar­
ently felt his words had been too harsh, so he wrote a
rebuttal to his own article, criticizing both himself and
the role of the critic. Penned under a pseudonym, he
pulled no punches, charging himself with being glib,
illogical, and a 'self-ordained arbiter of photographic
destinies'.16 He went on to wish he could get the critics
to attack one another, but knew that that would never
happen because they maintained a code that kept them
from doing so. This probably explains why Blumann did
not sign his own name to the piece, hiding the fact that
he was roasting himself. In another article, he suggested
eliminating the position and influence of the exhibition
judge (another form of critic), leaving decisions in the
collective hands of the sponsoring organization. He even
questioned his own standing in the field at the time,
modestly stating that 'my time is limited, my position
in photography precarious and obscure . .. I have no
affiliations and no standing'. 17
Perhaps humbled, Blumann wrote less than half a
dozen articles during the next two years. In 1919 he
focused on the work of other photographers, avoiding
any references to himself. Once again, he praised Nancy
Ford Cones, in a lead article for Camera Craft that noted
56
her Inner urge to create and the necessity of such
inspiration for all successful photographers. He also tran­
scribed the thoughts of Percy Neymann, a close friend
who, apparently, was more comfortable as a photographer
than as a writer. Their joint article addressed how artistic
photographers imbued their work with personal vision, a
point well illustrated by the accompanying reproductions.
Neymann asked four of the country's leading pictor­
ialists - A. D. Chaffee, Louis Fleckenstein, Louis A.
Goetz, and Wilbur H. Porterfield - to craft a print from
the same negative, resulting in four vastly different inter­
pretations of the same image, each of which, tellingly,
reflected the maker's own style. The next year, Blumann
concentrated on photographic technique, writing a few
articles on the old kallitype process he still favoured.
In 1921, however, some ofBlumann's verve returned,
and he enthusiastically addressed amateur photography as
a relaxing pastime. Blumann paid equal attention to
amateur and professional photographers in these early
years. Knowing that snapshooting amateurs comprised the
largest class of photographers, he identified with them
and praised their simple, healthy ways: 'I set up my tripod,
look at the ground glass, expose, and, when the sun is
setting, go home with a clean, soothed mind, lungs filled
with oxygen, and a good appetite' .18 He claimed that
photography was just one of the many hobbies that made
his life feel richer than that of a Carnegie or Rockefeller.
And he expressed childlike excitement over the experi­
ence of both finding subjects out in the open and watching
prints develop in the darkroom.
Sometime in the early 1920s Blumann retired from
music to become an efficiency engineer, apparently setting
up his own office. In this position he studied businesses
and devised ways to increase the production of their
equipment and personnel. His new profession, however,
must have given him more, time to write about pho­
tography, because in 1922 he put out no less than eleven
articles, by far the most in any year so far. His main topics
were professional photography, the laws of art, and
exhibition judging.
Despite Blumann's love for amateur photographers,
he also appealed to professionals. He had, after all, been
a portrait photographer himself, and he felt that many
issues applied equally to both groups of workers. In 1922
he wrote articles for both Camera Craft and Photo-Era on
making a living as a professional, encouraging serious
photographers to try their hand at it. He believed profes­
sionals had to artistically differentiate their work from
their competitors in order to succeed fll1ancially, but
warned them not to go extremes. 'If you are selling
pictures, know Art, practice Art, deliver Art; but do not
confound Art with Oddity', he wrote. 'Selling portraits
is a profession; a profession is a trade; a trade is a defmed
practice, not a debauch'.19 He continued to mention
Garo and Strauss as professionals he admired and added
to his list Dudley Hoyt of New York and H. H. Pierce
of Providence, Rhode Island.
Sigismund a/umann, Editor and Photoxrapher
Blumann considered nature the ultimate goal of art,
and he wrote two articles stressing his belief in rigid
artistic standards. In one, he contrasted the laws of art and
individual taste: 'The rules of Art are not made arbitrarily
and intended to curb individuality. They are arrived at
by experience, and mature, patient study and considera­
tion. They are based on laws of nature: basic and funda­
mental'. And, he asserted that art had but one creed: 'To
hold the mirror up to Nature,20 In the second article,
however, he admitted that images which merely duplic­
ated or simulated nature were not enough, for selection
and tntth were also necessary. Blumann's attitudes about
art and nature were traditional, but he expressed pride in
his conservatism, asserting that it was a solid rock upon
which to base judgements.
By this time Blumann was judging exhibitions as well
as writing about photographs. In 1922 he sat on the jury
for the San Francisco photographic salon, an exhibition
about which he wrote an article for Photo Era. In it he
noted that photographic judges from the West, like
himself, were more independent than those from the East.
Western judges 'conscientiously and persistently refused
to accept formulae instead of conceptions and arbitrary
standards as a substitute for broader ideas', he wrote. They
'cannot be awed by names or distinctions not su bstantiated
in the work shown. The pictures were judged as pictures
and not as the product of any person. Names were as
nothing to us; previous honors were not considered'21
As a result, he proudly proclaimed that some established
photographers saw their pictures rejected while some new
talent had its work accepted.
In 1923 Blumann churned out more than half a dozen
articles, most of them on technique. He wrote about many
brand-name products (such as the Verito lens and Cyko
p;lper), but fdt compelled to defend this seemingly promo­
tional practice as an important informational service for
his readers. Early in the year he spoke to the Photographers'
Association of California on ethics, the text of which
Camera Craft subsequently published. Blumann was intro­
duced to this group of professionals as having complete
technical knowledge of photography. After telling them
he felt at home in their midst, he encouraged each of them
to defend good work and decent prices, to appreciate
competition as healthy, and to work for the good of both
the organization and the field as a whole.
Call/era Crt!!i, 1924-33
In early 1924 Blumann continued to write articles for
Camera Cra)i and a few other magazines on a freelance
basis. But in August of that year Camera Craft appointed
him editor, allowing him to give up his job as an efficiency
engineer and devote himself full-time to photography.
The year before he had written his last article for The
Aml'l';wn Annual of Photography and once he took over the
reins of Camera Craft he rarely contributed articles to
other periodicals, owing to the heavy workload of his
57
Christian A. Peterson
own magazine. At fifty-two years of age, Blumann
embarked on his career as a photographic editor - his
most important contribution to the field of photography.
Camera CraJi had begun publishing in 1900 and
became the longest lasting and most significant photo­
graphic monthly west of the Mississippi during its time.
Fayette J. Clute edited the magazine from almost its
beginning until late in 1920, accepting many ofBlumann's
early articles and serving as a role model for him. After
Clute's departure the magazine had two other editors,
each for short periods of time, before Blumann took over.
Blumann went on to edit Camera CraJi longer than
anyone except Clute, running it for nine years. From
1924 to 1933 he covered all the major concerns of
amateur, pictorial, and professional photographers in a
lively and timely manner. He enjoyed his work immensely
and was widely regarded among photographers as a
leading tastemaker in the 1920s and 1930s.
Blumann's first issue as editor of Camera Croft
appeared in August 1924 (figure 2). In his first editorial
he acknowledged the previous editor, P. Douglas
Anderson, affirmed the stability of the magazine, and
indicated that he looked forward to serving his readers.
The magazine featured a lead article by commercial
- - - - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - , F f - - - -
VoL XXXJ No. II
AUGUST, 1924 Q, Pri<eU ea.
CAME A
C FT
Figure 2. Cover of Call/era Creif!, August 1924. Center for Creative
Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson.
/
photographer Ralph Young, titled 'Putting Human
Interest in Illustrations', plus articles on photography as
an art, colouring techniques, quantity production of
photographs, amateur adventures, and photographing
forged handwriting. Pictorialist Thomas O. Sheckell con­
tributed an article about one of his own tree photographs
and Harold Cazneaux reviewed the first Australian
salon. Blumann continued most of the regular columns
that the magazine had run previously, covering profes­
sional photographers, camera clubs, general information,
technique (still authored by a previous editor), and
amateur troubles (taken over by Blumann).
Over the next year Blumann instigated changes at
the magazine to match his personal style and better serve
the general readership. Most visually noticeable was the
cover, which beginning in October 1924 reproduced a
photograph. Previously, the magazine featured drawings,
but Blumann embraced the obvious concept that a photo­
graphic magazine should have a photographic cover. He
added a department that carried bits of information on
photographers around the country, called 'Chit Chat
About our Friends', and one covering the activities of the
national association of photographic finishers. In 1925 he
commenced a photographic competition, in which readers
sent their photographs into the magazine hoping to have
them reproduced and awarded prizes. This was a common
means for photographic periodicals to obtain images,
engage their readers, and raise the level of amateur work,
all goals Blumann had in mind.
Camera CraJi located its offices in the Claus Spreckels
Building (now Central Tower), at the corner of Market
and Third Streets in downtown San Francisco. A year
after Blumann began editing the magazine it was acquired
by Miss Ida M. Reed, who had previously worked under
editor Clute. Blumann, who apparently never owned a
share of the magazine, was kept on to work with a staff
of six.
Blumann was Camera CraJi's most prolific writer
during his tenure as editor. He authored many unsigned
articles, oversaw a few regular columns, and wrote many
feature articles. Between 1924 and 1933 his name appeared
on 128 articles, an average of fourteen per year. Blumann
wrote an editorial for every issue of Camera CraJi, a
practice in which all magazine editors indulged. Here, he
had free reign and authority to speak his mind about any
topic - photographic or otherwise. He editorialized on
a range of issues that went far beyond those covered in
the magazine's articles. He promoted the golden rule and
cautioned photographers against conceit and vanity. He
railed against billboards and pushed for better maternity
care. He encouraged photographers to take advantage of
every season, working both outdoors making exposures
and indoors making prints. And, despite his Jewish herit­
age, he lavished Christmas greetings upon his readers
every December.
In early 1926 Blumann christened his editorial
column, 'Under the Editor's Lamp'. It featured a drawing
58
of Blumann in profile, reading at his desk, with a wall of
books running off into the distance (figure 3). On the
desk was a tobacco jar labelled 'My Lady Nicotine' and
in Blumann's mouth his ever-present pipe, producing
ascending puffs of smoke. A few years later he described
the charged atmosphere of his work station: 'Here I sit at
a desk smoking rose leaves and violet petals in a Sevres
pipe with an amber mouthpiece, incense rising from the
censer at my side, dictionaries, books of rhetoric, and
sweet music from the dynamic in a corner of the room,
wooing the muses just to sling some nice language clear
over to Iowa and you'. 22 By this time his editorials ran
two full pages, covered two or three separate topics, and
often featured one of his own poems.
In January 1925, only half a year after starting at
Camera Craft, Blumann penned the article 'It is Good to
be a Photographic Editor' for Photo-Era. Blumann and
A. H. Beardsley, the editor of Photo-Era, exchanged
articles on the subject, due to their long friendship and
interest in cooperation. Blumann had already editorialized
on the advantages of close ties with other photographic
magazines, and Beardsley credited him with initiating the
idea of magazines sharing articles, like this. Blumann
stated that photographers were his people and his liveli­
hood a joy. 'It is good to be an Editor, especially of a
magazine of this class, because it offers the possibility of
friends as well as mere readers', he wrote. 'It is not a
business, there is no work to it - this being an Editor. I
find it all good, all fun'.23 Five years later, he admitted
there were hardships to the job but, nonetheless, pro­
claimed great fulfilment from his work. Writing in one
of his regular monthly editorials, Blumann described the
pleasures of having a large readership, getting friendly
letters, and dealing with interesting subjects all as
'mighty fine'.24
First and foremost, Blumann wanted Camera Craft to
serve its readership. He continually asked readers to send
him their good and bad, so that their interests
and opinions could be represented in the magazine's
pages. He proclaimed: 'If this is to be your magazine as
we continue to assert, you have a right to kick and we
have a right to expect you to help make it what you
want' .25 He recognized that the magazine and its readers
were mutually dependent upon one another, working
towards a common goal. Blumann relished feeling close
to his approximately 8000 readers, even though one of
Sigismund Blumann, Editor and Photographer
/
them once characterized the magazine's tone as too
personal. He was, in fact, so gregarious that he personally
answered every letter addressed to him at the magazine.
The monthly picture competition at Camera Craft
also exemplified the extent to which the magazine was
open to reader contributions. At one point Blumann
indicated that he was receiving over five hundred entries
a month, creating a vast resource of pictures for the
magazine. Photographers who saw their pictures repro­
duced undoubtedly felt invested in the magazine and
encouraged to submit again. Their names were reprinted
throughout the year to maintain their interest and burnish
their pride.
Blumann's inclusive approach to editing Camera Craft
was mirrored by his populist attitude towards photography
in general. He believed that photography could be a
creative outlet for everyone and that basic technique
should be taught in the public schools. He welcomed an
increasing number of women as photographic colleagues
and picture-makers, and repeatedly promoted successful
figures such as Nancy Ford Cones. After one interested
woman stopped in his office for advice he wrote an article
assuring photographers who were beginning, that every­
one began on an equal plane of enthusiasm and talent. A
few years later he observed that photography was the art
form for the masses. 'Not many of us have the talent or
the time to cultivate the talent, if happily we have it, in
painting', he wrote. But, 'the camera frees our shackled
urge' .26 To encourage more widespread usc of cameras
Blumann encouraged high schools and colleges to add
photography classes to their curricula. He believed that
such instruction would increase both the aesthetic and
scientific knowledge of their students, benefiting both the
individual and society as a whole.
Individuals not in school who wished to learn pho­
tography had numerous other sources of instruction.
Magazines, such as Camera CI"<?/i, and photographic books
provided a plethora of information. Many people also
sought personal instruction, either from an individual or
through a camera club. Blumann provided many articles
for beginners in Camera Craji, continually reviewed new
books, and wrote an instruction manual of his own. He
abo strongly encouraged newcomers to join a camera
club, a lively place to learn photography.
In 1927 the Camera Craft Publishing Company,
published l3lumann's first book, Photographic f;Vorkroom

IIIJII,JIIIII • I I I II 1···,· I 'VtC''':'--' I I'·
..I" :1 , '
! -

Figure 3. W. R. Potter, Ultder the Editor's Lamp, 1920.
59
Christian A. Peterson
Hartdbook (figure 4). In its preface, Blumann acknow­
ledged that there were many big, complete technical
books currently on the market. His manual, however,
was meant to be concise and handy, including only simple
formulae for everyday photographic procedures. He
proudly proclaimed it contained no reprints and only
recipes fully tested by himself. For easy use in the dark­
room, the Handbook was small in scale (S-} x 51' inches)
and indexed. Its modest 106 pages were packed with two
hundred technical topics (from acid hardener to waxing
solution), fourteen portrait illustrations by J. Anthony Bill
and O. J. Smith, and sixteen pages of advertising. This
book was Blumann's most successful, serving thousands
of enthusiasts and going into four editions.
Blumann's love for books was evident in the pages
of Camera Craji. He claimed he had a substantial personal
library, consisting of several hundred photographic titles
on technique, history, and individuals. The magazine's
monthly book column sometimes repeatedly promoted
the same title, rather than only reviewing it upon publica­
tion. l1lustrative Photography in Advertising by Leonard A.
Williams, for instance, was listed at least three times. This
was an important early book on the subject, but the fact
that it was published by Camera Craft most probably
affected how often it was mentioned. Admirably,
Figure 4. Cover of Ph(1/(lxraphir vVvrkrvol/1 H'lIJdbvvk, Craft
Publishing Company, Francisco, 1933 (fourtn edition).
Blumann restrained himself from revlewll1g his own
Photographic Workroom Handbook, knowing how self
serving that would be. He nonetheless advertised it heavily
in the magazine, often prominently featuring it on the
inside front cover.
The Camera Craft Publishing Company, in addition
to publishing books and a magazine, operated a successful
book service, selling titles through the mail. Its 1932
catalogue claimed that it offered every important photo­
graphic book currently in print and that it was the only
catalogue of its kind. It included about 125 books in
categOlies such as aerial, enlarging, nature, pictorial,
portraiture, and stereoscopic. SubsCliptions to ten other
photographic magazines were offered (at a discount with
Camera Craft), as well as fifteen annuals, issued in countries
from Britain to Japan. Seemingly, this catalogue could
fulfd every photographic need.
In fact, reading books and making good pictures were
two distinct activities. As much as Blumann believed in
the value of photographic literature, he knew that the
photographer ultimately had to put down his or her
favorite treatise and pick up the camera. He wrote: 'Books
have been written on Art Appreciation. Many on How
to Make Pictures. Permit me to advise you that they are
all good and may be studied with advantage. But above
all learn to make pictures by trying to make them. You
will never learn to swim from a book. Jump right in.
The water's fll1e'.27
Blumann thought that camera clubs were an excellent
place for individuals to learn to make pictures and swim
around with other photographers, so to speak. Despite
his early frustration over organizing a club in Oakland,
he recognized the value of photographers banding
together for knowledge and power. He was a charter
member of the Photo Club of Alameda County and
frequently spoke to other groups in the Bay Area. He ran
a regular column in Camera Craji that reported the
activities of clubs throughout the country, and he fre­
quently editorialized on the subject. In 1930 Blumann
listed the attributes of an ideal camera club member: a
passion for photography; the spirit of 'clubbism'; a desire
to remain an amateur; the ability to pay dues on time; a
respect for other people; and the drive to make pictures
that bettered photographic standards. A few years later he
proclaimed: 'If you are in for the pleasures of photography
get all the pleasure. You cannot do it secretively and
alone. Humans are gregariolls by instinct and habit. Never
so much so as in their hobbies. Find one another, you
brothers in photography. Round yourselves up and keep
rounded up. Join a club or start one,.28
During this period, most American camera clubs
fomented pictorial photography, a movement that
nIumann devoted much attention to in Camera
'What is this pictorial art of which we hear so much and
see so little'? he asked. 'We will sum it all up in two
requirements: emotional appeal and sense of beauty'.29
Blumann believed that artistic photography incorporated
60
expression married to an aesthetic standard. In
1926 he wrote an article on the current state of pictor­
ialism, noting trends in style, processes, and subject. He
made his conservative preference obvious by illustrating
the article with soft-focus images of old-world subjects
by European pictorialists such as Alexander Keighley and
Joseph Petrocelli. By this time he had run a sufficient
amount of pictorial work in Camera Craft for at least one
reader to complain that there was too much of it. Blumann
admitted that pictorialism dominated the magazine's text
and illustrations, but he did not apologize. Instead, he
characterized pictorial work as advanced and distinctive,
and, it was hoped, an inspiration for amateurs.
Blumann continued to believe in natural laws of art
during his editorship of Camera Craft. He personaJly
admired the paintings of Raphael, Titian, and Camille
Corot, and recommended that pictorialists study art and
learn to draw to improve their photographs. In 1932 he
asserted that 'basic principles and the laws of Nature and
Art are inalienable, inexorable, and a knowledge and
conformation to their dictates is essential to the best
pictorialism'.30 Pictorialists considered correct picture
composition a key element to success, an outlook re­
inforced by Blumann. He defmed the concept of compo­
sition, appropriately enough, with a musical analogy he
borrowed from Bach: putting the right fmgers on the
Blumann, Editor and Photographer
right keys at the right time. Blumann believed that just
as Bach was governed by harmonic laws, pictorialists were
governed by visual laws - guidelines dictating that every
element in a picture had an appropriate place.
Before he joined Camera Craft Blumann had expressed
equaUy strict views on the purity of the photographic
image, criticizing photographers for manipulating their
imagery. By 1930, however, he had completely changed
his view. In one of his monthly editorials he stated that
he now believed creative photographers could use any
means they liked to complete their pictures. He noted
that Arthur F. Kales used ink, Jose Ortiz-Echagi.ie used
rosin and chalk, and Leonard Misonne used crayon to
hand craft their images. A year later Blumann declared:
'The clouds may be printed in or worked upon the
negative or print. Two or twenty negatives may be
combined. Prints may be worked up with crayons, chalks,
chemicals or the knife'.31 As far as he was concerned
pictorialists could add tabasco sauce to their pictures if it
helped them achieve the desired results.
It is likely that Blumann changed his mind about
manipulated imagery largely because of the work of
Leonard Misonne of Belgium. Misonne was one of the
world's leading pictorialists, producing romantic rural
scenes that glowed with contra jour lighting (figure 5). In
the darkroom, he printed in clouds, accented highlights,
Figure 5. Leonard MisonIlt' (1870-1943), Ti'lIIjJs Oragc/./x, 1924. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund.
61
Christian A. Peterson
and performed other handwork that made his photographs
look very painterly. Blumann fell in love with Misonne's
work, frequently reproducing it in Camera Craft, person­
ally collecting examples, and cherishing European books
Misonne sent of his work. When Blumann made his own
pictorial photographs he followed Misonne's lead and
made primarily landscapes. As late as 1939 Blumann con­
tinued to praise Misonne, claiming that he held 'a place
in pictorial photography on which none has or, perhaps,
can encroach,.32
Blumann also regarded highly William Mortensen,
another pictorialist who heavily manipulated his prints.
In 1933, a few months before leaving Camera Craft, he
stated, 'Mortensen is in my mind one of America's
outstanding artists with regard to photography or any
other medium of graphic expression' .33 He went on to
say that Mortensen's work was sometimes grotesque or
bizarre but always interesting and masterful. Mortensen,
a fellow Californian, began his rise to prominence by
writing influential articles and books shortly after Blumann
left Camera Craft, so he had little opportunity to feature
him in the magazine. He did, however, reproduce three
of Mortensen's early images, list a few of his one-person
exhibitions, and review and recommend for purchase his
small portfolio of 'salon studies'.
By promoting the work of photographers such as
Misonne and Mortensen, Blumann placed himself in the
anti-modernist camp of photography. During the 1920s
and '30s, while Blumann edited Camera Craft, some
creative photographers - the pictorialists - continued
to relish romantic subjects and hand work, while others­
the modernists - embraced realistic subjects and straight
printmaking. As early as 1922 B1umann criticized a
controversial photograph of a kitchen sink by Margaret
Watkins as mere record work and a stunt. A few years
later he declared that and designs preferred
by modernist photographers' were only a temporary
novelty that tin1.e would soon erase. He even went so far
as to warn the public that 'much of what we see and
which is offered us as pictures is not artistic but psycho­
pathic. Beware lest you permit your taste to be con­
taminated' .34
Blumann, however, was not always so extreme when
it came to modernist photography. In fact, he viewed the
work of Edward Weston and his influential band of
straight photographers, Group £.64, with mixed feelings.
Blumann demonstrated great tolerance in 1930, for
instance, when he published a lead article by Weston in
which the writer harshly attacked pictorial photography.
Weston likened pictorial images to calendar art and stated
that 'photography following this line can only be a poor
imitation of already bad art' .35 Weston claimed that
photographers who tried to imitate painters were mis­
directed, insisting that serious workers use the inherent
qualities of the medium; detail, sharp focus, and a, full
range of tones. Blumann admitted he did not like Weston's
subjects, referring to one as a 'Pickle in Agony', but he
was impressed with Weston's commitment to straight
photography, declaring it as legitimate a cause as that of
pictorialism.
In 1933 Blumann reviewed the important, single
exhibition of work by Group £.64, which included
Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and a few
other Bay Area photographers. He was of two minds
about the modernist work he saw, both praising and
criticizing it. On one hand, he conceded that these
photographers were using classic beauty in an up-to-date
manner, were successfully pursuing personal goals, and
were creating a place for 'photographic freedom'. He
wrote: 'We went with a determined and preconceived
intention of being amused and, if need be, adversely
critical. We came away with several ideals badly bent and
not a few opinions wholly destroyed'.36 On the other
hand, Blumann questioned the work's ultimate worth,
quipping, 'we estimate lowly the highest achievement in
portraiture of gourds and peppers', referring specifically
to Weston's work. He concluded: 'In a word, you will
enjoy these prints. You will be impressed, astounded. But
you will not love them nor want to hang them in your
home. The wilful taste still prefers the too sweet Uohn
M.] Whitehead and Misonne,.37 Unfortunately, Blumann
did not give his readers the opportunity to judge the
work for themselves, for he did not run a single illustration
with his review.
Blumann's anti-modernism also affected his outlook
on art and society as a whole at this energetic time in
America history. He decried Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso,
and their followers for tearing down established traditions
of art and erecting nothing of value in their place. He
asserted that much that was called new and modern in
the arts had been attempted before, with equally poor
results. To him this 'vicious reading matter', 'lewd pic­
tures', and 'raving in music' reeked of a 'meaningless
confusion of ideas and emotions,.3R Writing in Photo-Era
for a change in 1927, B1umann lamented the bad habits
of the country's young people: smoking, talking loudly,
using make-up, and disrespecting their elders. He noted
that during this period of heightened speed and progress
individuals occasionally needed to slow down, ease their
minds, and relax their bodies. Blumann celebrated his
conservative, Victorian attitudes with no apologies. In
one of his last articles in Camera Craft he proclaimed: 'It
has been said that to stand still is to be left behind. That
may not be so bad. If my company is traveling to hell I
shall stand very still and hope to be left very £1r behind,.39
Despite his anti-modernist feelings, Hlumann updated
the cover of Camera Croft at about this time. Previously
the cover had featured an ornate border that framed
both the magazine's name and illustration against a stark,
white background. The cover of the July 1930 issue,
however, sported a more modern design. It now com­
prised nine rectangles, formed by a series of straight lines
running off the edge of the paper. B1umann used a newer
type style for the magazine's name and two different
62
Sigismund Blumann, Editor and Photographer
colours for the rectangles surrounding the reproduction
in the centre. With few formal changes, the magazine's
cover became much more dynamic.
Blumann never put an image of a nude on the cover
of Camera Craft but, by this time, he had altered his views
on photographic nudes. While he had written a few
cautionary articles about the subject in the late 1910s, he
now was more open to photographers turning their
cameras on the unclothed figure. Nevertheless, he initially
sent mixed signals about nude photography in Camera
Craft. In a 1927 editorial he claimed that the magazine's
policy was to not publish photographs of the unclothed
figure. 'The human figure is not always divine', he wrote.
'And most of the photographers who put naked women
before the camera neither know nor care about art in any
particular' .40 Contrary to this editorial, however, Blumann
had already reproduced Rudolf Koppitz's significant
and seductive image 'Bewegungsstudie', plus nudes by
California pictolialists Louis A. Goetz and Anne Brigman,
whose work he pointed out was enjoyed even by his
wife and daughters. Over the next few years he featured
more and more illustrations by the world's leading
nude photographers, most notably Frantisek Drtikol, of
Czechoslovakia, and Arthur F. Kales, P. H. Oelman, and
Max Thorek, of the United States. In 1933 reproductions
such as these prompted a female reader to question
the magazine's policy. Blumann responded in another
editorial, saying that, over time, photographs of the nude
had improved markedly and that the general mood towards
them had softened. He indicated that he was now neutral
on the subject, although offensive nudes were, of course,
still unacceptable. He asserted that he had recently 'been
delighted with nudes which glorifIed what was created
to be beautiful. We have seen pictures of the human form
divine that showed a delicacy and poetic conception. It
isn't so much what is in t ~ e pictures as what is in the
mind of the artist'41 .
During th¥ 1920s and '30s, American photographers
presented their work - whether nudes or other sub­
jects - in an extensive network of exhibitions, termed
salons to signal their artistic nature. Camera clubs in about
twenty-five cities sponsored annual salons to both show
off their own best work and to view photographs submit­
ted by other pictorialists from around the country and
abroad. These exhibitions, which were the ultimate goal
of every self-respecting pictorialist, were strictly jlllied,
hung in art museums, and accompanied by il.lustrated
catalogues. In the Bay Area, for instance, camera clubs in
Oakland and San Francisco jointly organized salons that
were presented at both the Oakland Municipal Art
Galleries and the Palace of Fine Arts, in San Francisco.
Blumann wrote regularly about photographic salons,
reviewing them and encouraging photographers to enter.
He ran many reviews of the country's premier salon in
Pittsburgh plus lead articles on the exhibitions in Los
Angeles, Chicago, Rochester, and elsewhere. In 1932
photographic salons so pervaded the pictorial movement
that Blumann led off five issues of Camera Craft with
exhibition reviews, showing no fear of overexposing
them. In fact, a few years later he stated: 'Until there is
a salon once a year in every American metropolis there
cannot be an overabundance. As long as one citizen walks
barefooted there cannot be an over production of shoes' .42
He pointed out that salons served three important pur­
poses: demonstrating the artistic potential of photography
to the general public; encouraging young photographers
to advance; and acknowledging the accomplishments of
leading pictorialists. He also expressed his opinion on
other aspects of the photographic salon. In 1932, for
instance, he warned photographers not to tailor their
entries to the make-up of a salon's jury, because it made
them 'an abject sycophant instead of an artist'.43 And he
repeatedly spoke out against the increasing tendency of
salon organizers to standardize the mount sizes they
accepted. He believed that such a practice homogenized
the presentation and discouraged viewers from looking at
the entire exhibition.
As a critic, Blumann served on juries for exhibitions
and competitions. As editor of Camera Craft, he wrote
about judging photographs and continued to encourage
positive criticism. He noted, for instance, that during the
judging of the 1932 Los Angeles salon, in which he
participated, 'there was an ever present consciousness that
it was not merely inert photographs that were being
passed upon but the sensibilities and hopes of human
beings'. He then humbled himself, by continuing: 'We
judges are just feJJows like yourself. We love the game
for its own sake and we disagree or agree amongst
ourselves just as you agree or disagree amongst yourselves
and with us' .44 Blumann knew he was not omnipotent,
stating that a picture was good on its own merits, and
that no judge, critic, or editor could change its status. He
did observe, however, that photographers who criticized
taste makers, like himself, seemed to do so only when
their pictures were rejected, never when they were
accepted. And he chose not to print critiques of the
pictures in the Camera Cra)1 competitions, believing that
most readers wanted to hear only unabashed praise for
their work.
Although Blumann paid great attention to amateur
and pictorial photographers in Camera Craft he did not
neglect professionals. He ran regular columns for profes­
sional organizations, profIled individuals, and wrote about
issues that concerned those who made their living with
the camera. In the late 1920s the magazine regularly
devoted space to the country's national group, the
Photographers Association of America, plus the PacifIc
Coast's regional organization of professionals. Monthly
columns reported on the membership, conventions, and
other activities of these groups. In feature articles,
Blumann wrote about leading professionals, describing
their methods and discussing their pictures. Among those
he covered were English portrait photographer Marcus
Adams, J. Anthony Bill of Cleveland, and Philip Newberg,
63
Christian A. Peterson
a Los Angeles studio photographer. These photographers
succeeded, according to Blumann, because they put some­
thing of themselves into their work, creating distinctive
images that went beyond average picture-making. He
counselled professionals to maintain a clean studio, know
their expenses, charge a fair price, produce quality work,
and, most importantly, provide good service.
During 1927 and 1928 Blumann ran an important
series of articles in Camera Craft on advertising pho­
tography, a new field for professionals. Written by
Leonard A. Williams, a Minnesota college professor, the
articles covered aesthetics, lighting, composition, colour
theory, typography, models, and equipment. They were
well illustrated with reproductions of modernist advertise­
ments and photographs by Adolf De Meyer, Lejaren a
Hiller, and others. The series was so well received that a
year later Camera Craft compiled them into the book
Illustrative Photography in Advertising, which sold well and
remains today a key early work on the subject.
Blumann knew the field of professional photography
through personal contact with many of its practitioners.
In the 1920s he attended meetings of the Photographers
Association of California, where he spoke on ethics, gave
pep talks, and even performed music. He enjoyed close
contact with the Pacific International Photographers'
Association, helping organize its 1929 convention and
receiving an honorary life membership for his 'unselfish
and efficient services rendered the organization and for
continuous and consistent efforts for the advancement of
the photographic profession as an business and as an art'.45
He also involved himself with the nation's photographic
finishers and businesses that developed negatives, and
printed pictures for the general public. The Master Photo
Finishers of America awarded him their first honorary
membership, and in 1930 he delivered the keynote address
to the group's annual conve!1tion in St. Louis.
Blumann remained enamoured with the technique
of photography,., giving it regular coverage in the pages
of Camera Craft. He included a monthJy column on
technical issues, edited by H. D'Arcy Power, and wrote
numerous articles himself, on developers, toners, and
printing methods. As before, Blumann encouraged pietor­
ialists to become familiar with a variety of films, papers,
and chemicals, so that they would be fully equipped to
use the appropriate process for every picture. In 1931 he
wrote: 'A poet who is unfamiliar with language, a painter
who has never learned to draw and color, a musician
who knows no harmony, a photographer who is ignorant
of exposures, development, and printing, may have the
gift but certain.ly lacks the means' 46 Blumann loved to
talk shop and remained a rich source of technical informa­
tion for amateurs and professionals alike.
Blumann was editing Camera Craft when the American
stock market crashed in late 1929, but he made no mention
of it untiJ over a year later. In a january 1931 editorial he
criticized people for buying on margin, a contributing
factor to the crash, and expressed a naive optimism: 'The
times have no cause to be bad. They are not bad except
we make them so. Perhaps a little rest from squandering
may do us good'. 47 He went on to claim that the depression
was largely psychological and advised temporarily unem­
ployed individuals with cameras to take advantage of the
extra time they had, not to find a job, but to go out and
make photographs, believing that things would right them­
selves. He wrote few additional editorials on the country's
economic condition, even though, according to Thomas
W. High, Blumann had to depend on income from his
daughters to make ends meet during the 1930s. Blumann
preferred not to discuss politics in Camera Craft, but did
support, in his last editorial, President Roosevelt's drive to
regulate American industry, once he realized that the 'wolf
is at the door' 48
Generally, Blumann expressed a positive outlook that
was moral, optimistic, and religious. He claimed that
idealism was, in reality, practical and necessary to get
through life happily. In 1931 he wrote: 'Truth is an ideal.
Honesty is an ideal. Kindness, charity, philanthropy, love
of home and family, respect for traditions ... are ideas,
yet how practical is their influence and effect, how real
they do become when bred into our character'. 49 Though
he was raised jewish, Blumann renounced his parents'
faith when they resisted his plans to marry a gentile. After
he successfully wed his wife, he adopted her Christian
beliefs, championing them annually in Camera Craft. Most
of his December issues included a Christmas greeting, an
editorial on the meaning of the holiday, and an article on
photographic Christmas presents. In his 1926 greeting
Blumann suggested that Christ's birth was significant for
jews, Buddhists, and Christians alike, and that, ironically,
one's faith was often the 'accident of birth'. Speaking
practically, he explained how to make photographic
Christmas cards and stationery and also suggested giving
photographs as gifts. Such items, he assured readers, were
appreciated for their handmade qualities. He also pointed
out that photography itself was 'one more gift for which
to thank the Creator of aU things'.5o
Blumann, who spent untold hours at his editorial
desk, developed a unique writing style, taking great
liberties with the English language. He refused to be
constrained by the rLlles of grammar, often creating long
and convoluted sentences. In addition, he developed a
large vocabulary, using little-known words such as anim­
adversion, eleemosynary, and ratiocination. In 1930 one
of the readers of Camera Craft complained about
Blumann's peculiar style of writing and even claimed that
he made words up. Blumann responded with both
humour and hubris: 'Now, in self defense I must be
permitted to show that I am neither the first or only
offender. Spenser, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Tennyson,
Browning, Masefield, Edgar Guest, and other Rotarians
have done some fancy language slinging - not just me.
As a matter of fact I don't sling it so good like they does
lsieJ nor so much of it. In fact I'm a mild offender. It's
too bad but I can't make my pen behave'51 As a writer,
64
S(l?isllnind Billmann, Editor and Photographer
he undoubtedly felt that his personality should show not
only in the content of his work but also in its form.
In addition to the substantial amount of prose
Blumann wrote, he also composed hundreds of poems
throughout his life. According to two of his daughters,
Sigismund did not graduate from high school because he
was expelled for writing poetry in maths class. As a young
adult, his Home Press printed small collections of his own
poems, such as The Springtinle (!f L!fe and In Many Moods,
whjch he gave out to friends. And once he began writing
for the photographic press he contributed poems as well
as articles. In 1917 Blumann had contributed a lead article
to Camera Crq{t on how poetry and photography could
be combined. He had suggested that photographers find
written verse to title their work, or, better yet, write their
own. 'Such home-made poetry need not be great', he
wrote. 'It merely need express in "vords what the artist
would have the picture convey, only to a more deflllite
degree. The picture and the lines lend one another a
reciprocal value' .52 He reasoned that the recipient of such
a photograph would not only acquire a work of visual
art but also 'a taste of literature for good me;lsure'.
Blumann also believed that good poems could inspire
photographers to make pictures illustrating them and,
conversely, that good photographs could inspire indi­
viduals to write poetry. In fact, his article included a
poem he wrote about one of his own images and one
inspired by a photograph by his friend Percy Neymann.
Later in life Blumann sent out holiday cards that paired
one of his photographs with one of his poems.
Blumann contributed a few pieces of verse to Photo
Era, but most of his poems appeared in Camera Craft. His
fIrst one in that magazine, published in August 1921, was
'Out of Doors', an eleven-line revelry about enjoying
nature with his camera, pipe, and dog. A few years later,
when he became its editt?r, he began peppering the
magazine with about half a dozen a year. In addition to
these freestanding poems, however, he also included his
own verse in virtually every monthly editorial. In late
1926, after featuring three poems in an earlier editorial,
he proclaimed, 'If I cannot unload my verse in my own
department of the magazine I edit, where, oh where,
'
shall I hope to unbosom myself?'.53
Blumann wrote verse about a host of emotions and
ideas, including youth, ageing, life, death, music, love,
poverty, nature, and God. True to his flamboyant way
with language, he sometimes used Latin titles, such as
'Summum Finitum' for a 1928 poem about mankind's
smalJ place in the universe. In 1938 he was sufficiently
accomplished to be included in Principal Poets of the WorLd,
a guide to 500 English-speaking writers which indicated
that his best liked poem was one called 'Christmas Snows'.
Despite this recognition, however, I31umann opened the
pages of Camera Craft to other poets. He proudly cham­
pioned the work of Bert Leach and James Courtney
Challis, as well as that of Ida M. Reed, the magazine's
owner. He even included poems by inmates of San
Quentin, observing that male prisoners usually wrote
abstractly, while the women wrote more emotionally.
Some readers objected to such a deluge of poetry in a
photographic magazine. Blumann responded by saying
that good poets and creative photographers were allied in
their quest for beauty, and he reprinted a poem from the
very fIrSt issue of Camera Craft that had been prominently
placed opposite the frontispiece, indicating the importance
of verse to the magazine's founders. He made it clear that
as long as he was running the magazine, poems and
photographs would cohabit in its pages.
In August 1933 Blumann edited his last issue of Camera
Craft. In it he included a typical mixture of pictorial
photographs, technical articles, poetry, and editorial com­
ment. Pictorialist Joseph Petrocelli, known for his images
of Mediterranean countries, contributed the frontispiece,
and the lead article was an eight-page review of the
photographic salon in San Diego. Blumann wrote two
pieces, one on development and one defending the Royal
Photographic Society. Others addressed technical topics
such as the Graflex camera, small darkrooms, and pinhole
photography. There were four poems and ten regular
columns, covering books, professional photographers,
amatems, equipment, and the monthly competition (won
by Chicago pictorialist Max Thorek). In his editorial,
Blumann reminisced about photographing in Yosemite
National Park and supported government organization of
American industries during the current economic crisis.
Blumann gave no indication anywhere in the maga­
zine that this was his last issue of Camera Craft, raising
questions about the reason for his departure; it is not
known whether he chose to leave or was asked to resign.
In the magazine's next issue, owner Ida M. Reed intro­
duced the new editor and briefly thanked Blumann with
the following words: 'Since 1924 we, and the readers of
this magazine, have enjoyed his contagious enthusiasm,
and his wide technical knowledge of photography. He
leaves with our best wishes for success and happiness'.
This short, tepid appreciation and the fact that Blumann
contributed nothing during the magazine's subsequent
life suggest that the editor and the owner of Camera Craft
parted ways over deep differences.
Blumann's abrupt departure from the magazine, how­
ever, in no way compromised the pivotal place he held
as a technical adviser and creative consenter during the
1930s. He was now one of the West Coast's leading
photographic tastemakers, always anxious to help the
amateur, encourage the pictorialist, and commend the
professional. Camera Crqft and American photography in
general were immeasmably enriched and strengthened by
Blumann's nine years at the magazine.
Blumann as a Photographer
Blumann frequently downplayed his own ability as a
photographer, claiming that his calling was as a critic.
Nevertheless, he achieved success as a pictorialist in his
65
Christian A. Peterson
own' right during the 1920s and early '30s, when he was
editor of Camera Craft. During this time he made creative
phmographs that were published and exhibited primarily
in the United States. He worked with a number of
processes, because of his great technical knowledge, and
he preferred photographing landscapes.
Blumann made self-deprecating remarks about his
own photographs for years. As early as 1913 he noted
that even though he possessed five hundred dollars' worth
of chemicals, he still could not make good negatives or
prints. A fevv years later he stated: 'Consider the writer,
who has owned about every make and size of camera,
... who has spent precious hours in the field and in the
darkroom; has tried everything and every way to get out
of himself something he feels is within; but has failed' .54
He referred to himself as an 'amateur snap-shooter' and
'pseudo pictorialist', and even assured readers that it was
all right for them to make poor pictures because he did
as well. Blumann surmised that had he been a better
photographer he never would have become a critic
and editor.
It is true that most ofBlumann's creative photographs
do not match the best work of many of the leading
pictorialists he admired. He claimed he was inspired, for
instance, by Clarence H. White, a prominent member of
the Photo-Secession, and Arthur F. Kales, an important
California pictorialist. He collected work by Misonne,
Alexander Leventon, Max Thorek, and others who were
much more accomplished than he. Nonetheless, he pos­
sessed demonstrable artistic talent. In 1916 he claimed,
'I feel an impulse to express emotions in pictures ­
emotions of my own in pictures made by myself. Since it
is not given me to use the pencil or the brush, I use the
camera,S5 In fact, Blumann decorated his own stationery
and hand-crafted holiday cards for his wife. When it came
to the camera he was equally ~ e n s i t i v e , producing compet­
ent pictorial images. And he sensed that his experience as
a musician propably aided his work in creative photo­
graphy, for he noted that the musical profession provided
more pictorialists than any other, except medicine.
Blumann's most enduring photographic subject was
the landscape. He regularly photographed the environs of
Oakland, where he lived, and California's state parks and
national forests. He was an environmentalist with a
camera, who contrasted the 'shooting' he did with that
of hunters. In 1916 he noted: 'Without injuring any of
God's creatures I tramp the hills and explore the woods,
quietly and peaceably, with a burden of some ten or
twelve pounds of camera, plates, and tripod' .56 Many
years later he wrote and illustrated a three-part series of
articles on Pacific Coast parks, in which he promoted the
value of rustic cabins, comfortable hiking clothes, and
nature photography.
Blumann's landscape photographs show his reverence
for nature and his skill for interpretation. Magazines repro­
duced them as early as 1911, but those from the 1920s are
more resolved. His image 'Diana's Mirror' (figure 6), for
Figure 6. Sigismund l3lumann, Diana's Mirror, n.d. Minneapolis
Institute of Arts, gift of Holly and James Bogin.
instance, shows a wooded scene, made moody by deep,
rich tones and grainy texture. B1umann expertly composed
the image with trees along both edges and a small reflecting
patch of water near the center. He was drawn to this
particular setting more than once, making other equally
compelling images during different seasons.
Another landscape demonstrates the degree to which
Blumann was willing to manipulate the photographic
image. In this untitled nocturne (figure 7), he dramatically
flattens the image by suppressing details, massing dark
areas, and overlaying a textured pattern. He blocked out a
small spot on the negative to create a bright rising moon,
which becomes the focal point of the image, and he toned
prints of the image at least three different colours (green,
blue, and brown), revealing the interpretive power of this
technique. While someone else felt free to cut down the
tree in the foreground of this scene, Blumann preferred to
restrict his alterations of nature to darkroom work.
Blumann's favourite landscape photograph apparently
was 'The Three Guardsmen' (figure 8), made in Washing­
ton's Rainier National Park. Although he reproduced
about fifteen of his own pictures in Camera Craft, this is
the only one he put on the cover of the magazine, in
November 1926. He contributed another photograph,
two articles, and two poems to this issue but, unfortu­
nately, did not discuss his cover image. Nearly ten years
later he prominently reproduced it again as the frontispiece
in Photo Art i\![onthly, retitling it 'Athos, Porthos, and
Aramis', the leading characters in Alexandre Dumas's
66
Sigismund B/umann, Editor and Photographer
Figure 7. Sigisl11l1nd I3llll11Jnn, Ulllir/cd. n.d. Minneapolis Im[iw[e of Arts, gilt of James D. Gollin.
historical romance The Three A1usketeers, whom I31umann
identified with the three towering sequoias in his picture.
Despite Blumann's ·,d<:yotion to landscape pho­
tography, his most striking gr·oup of pictures was a series
of at least seven he made in the studio, sometime during
the 1920s (figurres 9-11). These images show a professional
photographer posing and lighting a model, an unusual
subject for him that he nonetheless used to great advant­
age. On one hand, Blumann essayed the practice of
photography itself in this series, while, on the other, he
boldly experimented with the abstract massing of light
and dark.
The photographer in the pictures "vas Philip
Newberg, a dapper, Los Angeles photographer Dlumann
befriended at a professional convention. Blumann must
have visited Newberg's studio, where he was impressed
with what he saw. He then commenced photographing
Newberg adjusting lights and directing a well-dressed
model against a backdrop, a routine activity for many
professional photographers. Photographers frequently
made portraits of themselves and each other, but they
rarely photographed everyday procedures like the one
I31umann captured. The subject was so simple and obvious
that most photographers never considered it.
More important than the activity shown, however,
was the near abstract manner in which I31ulllann depicted
it. 131umann used strong contrasts in most of the pictures
to render the photographer, the model, and the lights
essentially as silhouettes. He rigidly structured the images
with dark borders that framed the figures and created a
stage-like setting. And, as was his common practice, he
printed a stippled texture into most of the series, adding
a flat, poster-like quality to the photographs.
Despite the similarities between the pictures in this
series, they do not form a strict sequence where one
particular image follows another. Blumann, in f.1Ct, varied
their tonalities :ll1d textures so that, formally, they did not
match. Tellingly, he also gave every picture a different
title, from the straightfon'v'ard 'Photography' to the ques­
tion, 'Fashion or Art'? Surprisingly, Blulllann did not
reproduce a single image from this series in either of his
magazines. Perhaps he considered them unrepresentative
of his work as a whole and too advanced for his readership.
Nevertheless, they stand as his most accomplished photo­
graphic images, comparing favourably with other pictorial
work of the time that showed the influence of modernism.
Blul11ann exhibited his photographs only modestly,
owing, undoubtedly, to his responsibilities as an editor.
67
Christian A. Peterson
Figure 8. Sigismllnd Bllll11ann, nrc 'J1lr('l' ClIcJrdsrtll'll, r. 1')2(,. Figure 10. Sigislllllnd Blulllann, Fashion or Art', n.d. Minneapolis
Minneapolis lnstitmc of Arts, gift of Dr Don'lld and Alice Lappe. Institm{' of Arts, "'ift of Holly and Jallles Bogin.
Figure 9. Sigislllund I31ulllann, Thl' Wi//i.t! ili/odel, n.d. Minneapolis Figure 11. Sigislllllnd Ululllanll, J>h(l{ography, n.d. Minneapolis
Institute of Arts, gift of Holly and Jailles Bogin. Institute of Arts, gift of Holly and James Bogin.
68
Sigismund Bhtmann, Editor and Photographer
He successfully submitted a few pictures from his
photographer/model series to the 1931 Scottish National
Salon but sent primarily his landscape work to exhibitions.
Between 1923 and 1932 his pictures were accepted at
photographic salons in Amsterdam; New Westminster,
British Columbia; Toronto; Rochester, New York;
Seattle; and Los Angeles. He claimed, like hundreds of
other creative photographers, that 'the salons are my hope
and objective', 57 but he apparently never got his work
into such leading salons as Pittsburgh and London. In
1927 Blumann created his own one-person exhibition of
about thirty bromoil prints that he travelled around the
United States. Calling it 'our own bold plunge into the
vortex of pictorialism' ,58 he sent the exhibition to camera
clubs in Chicago, Akron, Cincinnati, and elsewhere. In
New York, the pictures became part of a unique exhibi­
tion showcasing pictures by editors of American photo­
graphic magazines. Presented at the prestigious Camera
Club of New York, the exhibition comprised contribu­
tions from A. H. Beardsley, of Photo-Era; Frank F.
Chambers, of Camera; Frank Roy Fraprie, of American
Photography; Herbert C. McKay, also of Photo-Era; John
A. Tennant, of Photo Miniatl.lre; and Blumann. Tennant
reviewed the exhibition in Camera Craft, writing that all
of Blumann's prints displayed 'that poetic ardor which
breaks through in whatever Mr. Blumann does or says,.59
Blumann, however, ran another review which claimed
that only one picture in the entire show was worthy of
exhibition and that Blumann had far to go as a pictorialist.
Presumably he disagreed with this opinion but felt it
deserved airing in his own magazine.
His own magazines, not surprisingly, reproduced
more of Blumann's pictures than other publications.
Between 1911 and 1929, he included eighteen of his own
illustrations in Camera Craft. Between 1933 and 1940
he reproduced eleven of his photographs in Photo Art
Monthly. He used some of the same images for both
magazines however, suggesting he had a limited number
of successful photographs. Other periodicals that repro­
duced his work were The American Annual of Photography,
which, in 1927, featured a harbour scene, and Camera,
which, in March 1930, included his self-portrait (figure 1).
His last known reproductions appeared in the December
1943 issue of P o p ~ t l a r Science, illustrating an article by him
on toning. Most striking among them was 'Winter at the
Station' (figure 12), which showed a bleak, snow covered
landscape under an ashen sky. Alternatively titled 'Dakota
Weather', this image was probably made at a train stop
Figure 12. Sigismund Blumann, /If/inter at the StatiNI, n.d. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, gift of Holly and James I3ogin.
69
Christian A. Peterson
on the Great Plains, on one of Blumann's many trips to
professional conventions. rt reflects both his known
adversity to travel and an understandable longing for the
milder weather of California.
Blumann's original photographs are characterized by
distinctive features, both in mounting and identification.
He usually mounted his prints on thin, cream-colored
board with an embossed plate mark. Most of his exhibition
prints measured 8 x 10 inches, although he occasionally
made larger ones. He rejected the standard 16 x 20-inch
mount, preferring the narrower format of 13 x 20 inches.
Blumann marked his exhibition prints with his signature,
label, or monogram. He usually signed prints in pencil
on the mount, below the lower right corner of the print,
in a confident stylized script. To the backs of each mount,
he usually affixed a paper label (figure 13), which he may
have designed and printed at his own press. Measuring
2 x 5-} inches, it included his name, address, picture title,
and process. Only occasionally did Blumann mark his
images with his monogram - a stylized 'SB' in a vertical
rectangle. Like most other pictorialists, he rarely dated his
photographs, ailowing him to submit the same picture to
exhibitions for years.
Blumann used his extensive knowledge of technology
and chemistry to photograph with different equipment
and print in a variety of processes. In his fIrSt book, he
described the portable darkroom he had built to check
his film on trips. It was an aluminum box that 'Neighed
less than a 4 x 5-inch camera and held trays, chemicals,
and a graduate. In 1931 he claimed he owned and used
no less than nine cameras, including a Graflex and a
5 x 7-inch model. He also promoted 'miniature' (35 mm)
cameras like the Leica, believing they were useful tools
for general photographers and pictorialists alike.
Blumann enjoyed experimenting with different pho­
tographic printing processes,_championing the kallitype
early on. In 1927 he used the bromoil process to make
the prints in his travelling, one-person exhibition. A
bromoil was created by bleaching out the image of a
regular silver bromide print, chemically treating it, and
then redeveloping the image with a brush charged with
oil pigment. These handcrafted photographs, natural1y,
took on a distinctive, painterly appearance. Many of
Blumann's prints are labelled 'lithobromes', probably a
hybrid process he developed and named himself. Others
he called 'pastelographs', plain black-and-white photo­
graphs he hand coloured, presumably with pastels. He
wrote a few articles on what he called the 'photo-etching'
process, a term incorrectly suggesting photogravure.
Blumann's method involved simply copying a photo­
graphic image onto an intaglio plate, the result being a
traditional hand-rendered etching. His own pieces in this
medium are small, black-and-white etchings that do not
betray the source of their imagery. In addition to all these
media, Blumann used a variety of texture screens, inserting
them between the negative and paper during enlargement
to create lined and stippled patterns. Finally, he toned his
prints, a subject he wrote an entire book on. Careful1y
matching imagery and colour, Blumann made photo­
graphs that were brown, green, and blue, stretching the
meaning of black-and-white photography.
Photo Art Monthly, 1933-40
Blumann was out of photographic publishing for only a
few months after editing his last issue of Camera Craft in
August 1933. In September he wrote a letter to the editor
of Camera, stating: 'Watch for a new and startling photo­
graphic magazine that will set a new standard of literary
value and pictorial beauty' .60 At this time 13lumann was
on a 1110nth-long, 8000-mile trip across the United States,
probab1ly gathering advice and support for his new
endeavour. After returning to the Bay Area, he hired an
assistant, and, three weeks later, put out the first issue of
Photo Art Monthly, 'A Magazine Dedicated to Those Who
Love the Beautiful in Photographic Art and Craft'
(tigurc 14). It appeared in November 1<)33, with a care­
fully chosen title that informed readers it would focus on
artistic photography, on a monthly basis. Not surprisingly,
Blumann's editorial approach at Photo Art Monthly would
closely follow his outlook at Camera CraJi.
The first issue of Photo Art Monthly comprised articles
SIGISMUND BLUMANN
WINTER AT THE STATION
LITHOBROME.
Figure 13. Sigisl1lund 13lumann'5 label, c. "[ '1205. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
70
Sigismund Blumann, Editor and Photographer
NO ER .1011 moronic and believes in the good taste of its readers in
PHOTOAR
MONTHL.Y
SIGISMUND BLUMANN, EDITOR
c.r.....
S2.00
per year
PHOTO ART PUBLISHER
MONADNOCK BUILDING
Figure 14. Cover of Photo Ar' Monthly, November 1933. Center
for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson.
and columns on a variery of topics Blumann felt fell
within the parameters of his artistic mission. He included
features on pictorial photography, toning, nature photo­
graphy, the photographic amateurs, and photo­
graphic education. English pictorialist H. Y. Summons
wrote the lead article on photographing in Corsica and
iLlustrated it with images made from paper negatives.
Harold McMurtoch reviewed the exhibition of artistic
photographs at Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition.
Blumann also began a series caLled, 'Hallelujah! I'm a
Snapshot Shooter', in which he addressed everyday
problems common to amateur photographers.
Blumann established a number of sections in the
magazine's fIrSt issue that ran most of its seven-year life.
Most important was his editorial, 'From the Editor's
Sanctum', which included his personal ruminations and
poems. In his first editorial, he thanked others for the
advice and encouragement he had received and informed
readers that the magazine would be theirs as much as his.
He also took a stab at Camera Craji, but did not mention
his former magazine by name. 'No excuses are made, no
apologies offered', he wrote. 'I now start under new
auspices to again address those who enjoy a publication
of the sort that accepts the popular mind as being above
matters of English, Art, and Sentiment'.61 Besides his
editorial, Blumann included columns on books, camera
clubs, equipment, technique, upcoming salons, and
miscelJaneous photographic news. He also began an enter­
taining feature called 'The Wisdom of Bazibazook', made
up of his short quips about photography and life in
general. Among the dozen statements he made in its first
instalment was: 'That fellow Weston has a thousand critics
and not a dozen equals' .62
The magazine's first cover reproduced a picture by
Karma-Heinzen De B, about whom nothing is known.
Blumann framed this image in thick lines that matched
the bold, sans-serif type used on the cover. Proud to be
running his own magazine, he now put his name on the
cover. This modern design was altered a few times over
the life of the magazine. In 1935 the 'P' in 'Photo' was
integrated into the border of the illustration, producing a
more abstract design. The next year, however, most of
the cover's original design was reinstated. The last changes
were made in 1938, when the illustration lost its frame
and was pushed to the lower right corner of the cover.
Blumann located the offices of Photo Art Monthly in
the Monadnock Building, at 685 Market Street, less than
a block from the offices of Camera Craft. This building
was under construction during the 1906 earthquake, but
it survived and is sti]] located next to the exclusive Palace
Hotel. Blumann, then 61, knew he could not run Photo
Art Monthly alone, so he hired Mrs Franke A. Unger as
his business manager and only employee. In its first issue,
he thanked Unger for her loyalty, untiring labour, and
enthusiasm, and he repeatedly acknowledged the impor­
tance of her efforts to the life of the magazine.
Unger initially performed primarily administrative
tasks at Photo Art Monthly, leaving Blumann with much
of the writing responsibilities. Unlike at Camera Craft, he
used no outside editors for the monthly columns, having
to compose all of them himself. For each issue, he always
wrote an editorial, usuaLly contributed a feature article,
and often contributed additional, shorter pieces that were
unsigned. Consequently, and not surprisingly, Blumann's
voice was prominent in the magazine. He wrote twenry­
seven of the first issue's fifry-five pages, for instance, and
in 1934 contributed fully half of the magazine's lead
articles. Numbers like these continued throughout the
life of Photo Art Monthly, indicative of his drive and
stamina at the rypewriter.
Despite his large presence in the magazine, BJumann
wanted the pages of Photo Art Monthly to be open to the
views and pictures of everyone. From the beginning, he
encouraged readers to write him with their concerns and
send in their photographs. In his first editorial, he claimed,
'this publication is ours, yours and mine' 63 In the next
issue, he admitted that he was after every kind ofindividual
involved with photography: readers, advertisers, and
buyers. Yet, he explained that he was interested in them
aLl as intimates, not just business partners: 'Most of all we
71
Christian A. Peterson
want' Friends'.64 Consequently, he usually wrote in the
first person, believing it would endear him to his readers.
'There are those who detest the singular first person 'I'
when used by other than themselves', he stated in 1933.
'It has been the contention of this editor that a more
intimate relationship is established, a better time is had,
and a heartier friendship formed, when a magazine boldly
puts aside mock modesty and bravely talks, just talks, to
its readers' .65 Shortly thereafter, he was happy to report
that he had received numerous letters supporting his
personal tone in the magazine, from readers both domestic
and foreign. Blumann ran his office the same way as he
did the magazine, maintaining an open door policy at the
Monadnock Building. There, he heartily welcomed all
visitors to discuss issues photographic and otherwise.
Blumann ran monthly picture competitions in Photo
Art lVionthly as a way of democratizing the magazine. To
ensure that every taste was represented, he turned the
judging over to a wide range of photographers, including,
at different times, Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham,
pictorialist D. ]. Ruzicka, and illustrative photographer
Ralph Young. Anyone could submit pictures, in either
the amateur or advanced class, competing for prizes and
a reproduction of their work in the magazine. Hundreds
of individuals got their first, and sometimes only, recog­
nition as photographers in the magazine's competitions.
The amateur class competition encouraged untold
numbers of beginning photographers to compare their
work with that of others and to strive for creative results.
Those repeatedly successful in this class moved up to the
advanced category, where the competition was much
stiffer. Here, nationally recognized pictorialists such as
Christine B. Fletcher and Max Thorek competed,
enjoying one more place to show their work. Blumann
also ran a competition in the magazine solely for members
of school camera clubs and, in. 1936, added a third, lower,
class to the regular to encourage even the
most inexperienged to enter.
Aware that amateurs comprised the largest class of
American photographers, Blumann made sure that Photo
Art Monthly appealed to them in ways other than the
competition. He celebrated his own lowly status as an
amateur with his series of articles, 'Hallelujah! I'm a
Snapshot Shooter'. A year later, he segued this series into
another one also geared to amateurs - a course in basic
photographic technique, complete with review questions
at the end of each instalment. He wrote frequently about
photography as a mere hobby, promoting it as less
expensive and more rewarding than pastimes such as golf
and hunting. In 1938, Blumann admitted he had com­
pletely given up making artistic, salon photographs,
asserting that he was happy making casual snapshots.
'Perhaps we have arrived at something better', he stated.
'Now the pleasure of taking pictures lies in perpetuating
a temporary enjoyment into a lasting joy' .6(,
As he had done in Camera Craft, Blumann continued
to popularize photography by supporting photographic
education in high schools and colleges. He editorialized
on the advantages of learning how to make good pictures
at an early age and on the medium's use to nearly every
profession. In 1935 he predicted a growing demand for
photography teachers, as 'the time is nearing when every
college will not only make photography an accredited
course bllt will insist on it as an essential to matriculation
in those courses' .67 He recommended that every school
establish a complete photography department, staffed with
instructors in physics, art, and technique.
During his editorship of Photo Art Monthly, Blumann
maintained his faith in the camera club as a wellspring of
photographic activity. He ran a monthly column in
the magazine listing camera club events and personnel,
creating, in some cases, the only record of many small
groups. Between 1,934 and 1940 Blumann himself showed
up frequently in the event listing for California clubs, due
to his standing as one of the region's senior figures. He
attended gatherings at the California Camera Club, Leica
Club of Oakland, East Bay Camera Club, Golden Gate
Miniature Camera Club, Photographic Society of San
Francisco, San Jose Camera Club, and Western Amateur
Camera Conclave. At these venues, h.e gave lectures such
as 'Some Unusual Pictorial Effects', introduced photo­
graphers like Adolf Fassbender and D.]. Ruzicka, judged
competitions, and presided over annual dinners.
By the late 1930s, when Blumann had ceased making
pictorial photographs, he began to soften his attitude
about the social value of camera clubs. For years he had
insisted that clubs focus solely on photographic rather
than social activities. As photographic organizations
throughout the country began to bestow honorary and
life memberships upon him, however, he came to appre­
ciate the fellowship that such groups provided. 'The clubs
have given me many a happy evening', he admitted in
1940. 'And for the friends made within the four walls of
our meeting place I am grateful. They are more precious
than all my cameras and lenses' .68 Clubs in San Francisco,
San Jose, Chicago, and Newark were among those that
recognized him. He was also honoured by leading national
organizations in the United States and Britain. In 1933
he was a charter member of the Photographic Society of
America, and, the same year, the Royal Photographic
Society awarded him its prestigious fellowship (FRPS).
Blumann made his interest in art evident by naming
Photo Art Monthly as he did. No other photographic
monthly of the time contained the word 'art' in its title
or was so adamant in its support of manipulative imagery.
In the magazine, Blumann continued to claim that the
laws of art, beauty, and good taste were God given and
not arbitrary. 'True art and real merit live through the
ages and their basis remains the same', he wrote in 1934.
'Beauty, coming direct fi'om the Creator, remains immut­
able' .69 He reproduced the paintings of Jean Franc;:ois
Millet as the type of work that followed these precepts
and could inspire pictorialists. He was particularly taken
with the paintings ofJames A. Holden, about whom he
72
Sigismund Blumann, Editor and Photographer
wrote an article in 1935. In it, he indicated that Holden,
whose murals were prominent in Bay Area buildings, was
among the artists who judged the monthly competitions
in Photo Art Monthly. Blumann expressed his desire that
photographers and artists interact more and concluded his
article: 'May our efforts to interest the outstanding artists
in photography succeed in reciprocally interesting our
photographic readers in art,.70
Blumann persisted in defending a photographer's
right to manipulate his or her imagery, frequently editori­
alizing on the subject in Photo Art Monthly. He observed
that most people thought photographs were made by a
machine, not a person. This required creative photo­
graphers to 'trick' the public into seeing the medium as
an art, by performing extensive hand work in their images.
He wrote a long article titled, 'Cheating the Beholder',
in which he claimed there was no such thing as cheating
in the fme arts, for 'the end justifIes the means and a
good picture covers a multitude of sins'.71 He wrote
articles on manipulative procedures such as intensifIcation,
reduction, and texture screens, and claimed he personally
had over 100 cloud negatives for printing the skies in his
own photographs. In addition, he ran illustrated lead
articles on pictorialists like Leonard Misonne, known for
his oil prints; Max Thorek, acknowledged for his paper
negative work; and Arthur F. Kales, revered for his
bromoil prints and transfers.
Consistent with Blumann's support of manipulated
imagery was his continued disdain for straight photo­
graphy as an art form. He found purist photography cold
and crass, rarely reproduced it in Photo Art Monthly, and
predicted it would soon pass as a fad. In 1936 he wrote
about the straight worker: 'You shoot at a scene with the
aperture small, develop for detail, print on glossy, and get
a record. It is a graphic catalog of units. A number of
items accurately entered on a.sheet of glistening paper. It
affects one, emotionally, about" the same as a page from a
Sears and Roebl.\ck catalog'.72 He considered such workers
'misguided dillentanti', and called Ansel Adams, who was
lucky enough to get one picture in the magazine, a
'travelogeur'. Edward Weston, who received substantial
coverage in the competing Camera Craji, was occasionally
mentioned in passing by Blumann in Photo Art Monthly,
but not a single article or illustration by him appeared in
the magazine.
As earlier, Blumann's anti-modernist feelings toward
photography reflected his traditional attitude toward the
other arts and life in general. As he aged, he futilely
continued to editorialize against the growing speed of
automobiles, planes, travel, fI.lms, lenses, and even eating.
'Under stress we arc becoming neurotic as a race. We are
racing to our disintegration', he wrote. 'Let us live with
discreet leisure lest we die speedily'.73 He objected both
to the billboards popping up on Bay Area bridges and to
such modernist tendencies in advertising as bleed images,
vvhich, ironically, his own magazine would use in a few
years. And he still disliked the paintings of Cezanne,
Goya, and 'Sewereelism', stating that 'most of what passes
for this perverted art strikes me as the screaming of
maniacs' .74
By the late 1930s, however, Blumann slightly moder­
ated his anti-purist stance toward photography. He noted
that the debate between purists and what he called
'idealists' had softened and that the visibility of Group
f.64 had diminished. He indicated that his main objection
to the purist school was its claim that only straight
photography could be art. But by 1938 he admitted he
sensed emotion in the work ofsuch straight photographers
as Fred G. Korth and Will Connell. He al.lowed Willard
Van Dyke, a member of Group f.64, to judge his
magazine's month.ly competition and he promoted a
catholic taste that accommodated the work of both the
'Needle Sharpers' and the 'Fuzzy Wuzzies'. Ultimately,
Blumann preferred the middle ground, for in his words,
'between extremes lies the happy mean' .75
Most indicative of Blumann's openness to modernism
in photography was his appreciation ofJapanese-American
pictorialism. California's substantial Japanese population
produced many talented photographers, who used diag­
onals, patterns, and elevated viewpoints in their advanced
images. Blumann began promoting their work as early as
1928, when he wrote a glowing article for Camera Craft
on Hiromu Kira, the leading Japanese-American pictor­
ialist. He considered the Japanese natural-born pictorialists
and found Kira's images particularly poetic. In Photo Art
Monthly Blumann wrote about both Japanese art and
Japanese pictorialism. In 1934 he explained the Japanese
philosophy that life was integral to art, and he defmed
appropriate terms such as Se-do, which means full of life.
Four years later he wrote a long lead article on Japanese
photography in which he praised the Japanese as indi­
viduals as well as pictorialists. Blumann claimed he under­
stood them, was fond of them, and befriended them. He
thought they outperfonned most American pictorialists
both technica.lly and aesthetically, claiming, 'they have
never allowed formula to interfere with inspiration, nor
law to harden inspiration into mechanics. They have
mood and inspirations, hopes and discouragements, senti­
ment and marital spirit. They are emotional for all their
outer stoicism'.76 Blumann illustrated the article with
work by such practitioners as Kira, N. Matsumoto, and
Victor Yamakawa.
Many of the Japanese-Americans worked as profes­
sional photographers, running portrait studios or doing
commercial work. Blumann, however, devoted on.ly
modest attention to professional photography as a whole
in Photo Art Monthly. He occasionally reviewed or pre­
viewed professional conventions, such as those of the
Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley association in 1937 and
the Photographers' Association of America a few years
later. He included isolated articles from members of the
field, such as Charles Abel, the powerful executive secre­
tary of the Photographers' Association of America, and
Charles D. Kaufmann, partner in the leading Chicago
73
Christian A. Peterson
fIrm of Kaufmann and Fabry. In 1937 the magazine
included a long article on the art of commercial pho­
tography, illustrated with dramatically lit, modernist
advertising images by John F. Collins, Edward Steichen,
and others whose layouts were analysed. For the most
part, however, Blumann focused on the concerns of
amateurs and pictorialists, rather than professionals, in the
magazme.
Photo Art Monthly ran its share of copy on photo­
graphic processes and equipment. From the beginning,
Blumann devoted a regular column to new apparatus,
plus two separate ones on technique, one of which
answered readers' questions. In 1935 he declared: 'The
first step in the upward course that leads to being a
pictorialist is, of course, the mastery of technique. One
must be able to make a photograph before one can hope
to make a picture with the camera,77 He wrote articles
on every step of the photographic process, from exposure
to print finishing. He also ran articles by other experts,
such as Max Thorek, who wrote on the paper negative,
and Emil Mayer, who essayed the bromoil process. In
1939 he contributed detailed instructions on the 'pastelob­
rome' (distinct from his pastelograph), a method he
devised of making a bromide print simulate the look of a
gum-bichromate. Blumann also covered the great strides
made in colour photography during the 1930s. He ran a
full-colour frontispiece in early 1937 and subsequently
included articles on dye-coupler prints, Dufacolor, and
an Agfa process.
Photo Art Monthly covered primarily new cameras and
lenses in its monthly department, 'Goods and Markets',
but touched on every kind of equipment, from light
meters to photographic paper. In 1937, travel photo­
grapher Fritz Henle contributed an article on how he
used the 35 mm camera, illustrated with his pictures of
Japan and China. About th.e same time, Blumann noted
the end of the mania over high speed film for such
cameras and t,he continued proliferation of gadgets for
them. There were so many extra viewfinders, filters, and
other attachments for the miniature camera that many
photographers spent more money on their accessories
than the camera itself and ended up totting more equip­
ment than was part of a large-format camera outfit. At
one point, Blumann advised against the common practice
of making one's own equipment, claiming that it often
did not save the photographer money, did not yield
quality results, and put factory people out of work.
Inexplicably, he, nonetheless, ran articles on all kinds of
home-made equipment. In the last three years of the
magazine alone, he provided instructions on how to make
lens shades, enlarging focusers, colour cameras, light
meters, fire extinguishers, and ancillary objects like port­
folios and albums.
As a photographic critic, Blumann remained commit­
ted to the notion of constructive criticism in Photo Art
Monthly, preferring encouragement and positive remarks.
In 1934 he began writing short critiques of the competi­
tion winners, pointing out the strengths of each picture
and sometimes hinting at how it might have been
improved. Three years later he became bolder in sug­
gesting improvements when he started showing alternative
croppings and tonalities to pictures in a department he
called the 'Critigraph'. Yet, late in the life of the magazine,
he still believed that 'the critic who finds only the faults
and enlarges upon them is destructive. He takes away all
joy and brings discouragement. He is to be shunned as a
contagion and he is a pestilence'.78
Blumann ran reviews in Photo Art Monthly of the
photographic salons because they continued to be import­
ant to pictorialists. Many issues of the magazine led off
with an illustrated article on a salon - in San Francisco,
Milwaukee, and Princeton, as well as those devoted solely
to employees of Kodak or users of Leicas. He occasionally
included more than one review to provide differing
opinions, such as in 1934 when three women wrote
alternative accounts of the fourth San Diego salon. While
some photographers complained there were too many
salons, making it hard for them to submit to all of them,
Blumann disagreed, pointing out that most exhibitions
had an oversupply of entries, proving sufficient interest.
Throughout the run of the magazine, he also supported
the salons by regularly listing upcoming venues, with
their addresses, deadlines, and entrance fees.
In October 1937 Blumann moved the offices of Photo
Art Monthly up three floors, into larger quarters in the
Monadnock Building. He now had sufficient room to
present exhibitions - mini salons - in his own space
and under his own control, something he claimed he had
envisioned since the beginning of the magazine, four
years earlier. His plan was to present twenty-four two­
week shows a year, featuring the best camera club, salon,
and individual work available. This was a revolutionary
move, preceded in the USA only by Alfred Stieglitz's
'291' gallery, which had closed twenty years earlier, and
the Julian Levy Gallery, only recently opened. Blumann,
unlike his predecessors, however, was not trying to sell
photographs, yet he kept the gallery's doors open during
the magazine's long business hours (six days a week) to
reach as large an audience as possible.
The December 1937 issue of the magazine announced
the gallery to its readers with a long lead article by San
Francisco photographer Fred S. Herrington. It included
views of the two rooms that comprised the gallery,
showing neutral-coloured walls and curtains, silk uphol­
stered benches, flowers, and wall panels for the photo­
graphs. According to Herrington, 200 enthusiastic people
attended the opening reception for the first show, a
sprawling group exhibition. Included were portrait photo­
graphs by Pirie MacDonald, nudes by Buck Hoy, Philip
Newberg, and Max Thorek, still lifes by Christine B.
Fletcher and Hiromu Kira, landscapes by Leonard
Misonne, other contributions by pictorialists Edward
Alenius and Nowell Ward, and a small pastoral by
Blumann himself. Herrington indicated that the show
74
Sigismund Blumann, Editor and Photographer
featured about 100 prints (the gallery's limit) by photo­
graphers from Scotland, Belgium, India, China, japan,
and the United States, working in numerous processes
and representing schools from classic to romantic. Writing
in the same issue of the magazine, Blumann indicated
that his motives for opening the gallery were selfless and
inclusive: 'The reason for its being is that two persons
[he and his assistant, Franke Unger] feel that life holds
something more than the chase for profits and they find
full repayment for effort and money spent in the satisfac­
tion of having done something that is above criticism and
cannot be subject to impugnments of any sort. This is
your
I3lumann covered the gallery's exhibitions in the
montWy camera club column of Photo Art Monthly,
reporting after a few months that they were receiving 30
to 50 visitors a day. In 1938 he presented, among other
things, the Rolleiflex, Agfa, and Kodak salons, and a
one-person exhibition by local pictorialist Christine B.
Fletcher. He even included prints by photographers he
did not personally appreciate, such as the abstract and
modern pictures of Paul Greve, who worked without a
camera. Attendance climbed to an impressive 200 people
per day in 1939, the year he presented one-person shows
by Fred R. Archer, Adolf Fassbender, Misonne, and
Thorek, plus group exhibitions of camera club work from
Chicago, Indianapolis, and San Diego. Inexplicably, the
magazine ceased news of the gallery in 1940, suggesting
that Blumann's bold foray into organizing exhibitions
lasted only two years.
Photo Art Monthly made no mention of sales at the
gallery, though some must have occurred. Blumann's
primary objective was to expose people to fllle photo­
graphy, as was evident in another activity of the maga­
zine - its 'Print Service'. Begun early in the life of the
magazine, this service put individuals in touch with
photographers whose work they wished to acquire, at no
extra charge. Th.is was an excellent opportunity for art
lovers to buy original photographs from the world's
leading pictorialists. In one of its first promotions,
Blumann asserted, 'there is no educational factor in art so
potent as a collection of pictures. There is no greater
pleasure than in owning a little salon of your own'. 80 On
their own, many pictorialists exchanged photographs with
one another to build significant collections, but few
members of the general public are known to have actively
collected creative photographs. No records of Blumann's
print service exist to indicate how much it was used, and
he stopped offering it after about six months. Like the
magazine's gaUery, his concept of collecting photographs
was ahead of its time.
Blumann ran poems in Photo Art Monthly throughout
the life of the magazine, just as he had done in Camera
Craji. He featured the work of other poets, wrote his
own, and always included one or more in his montWy
editorial. His first editorial, in fact, ended with the poem,
'To My Wife', in which he lovingly predicted dying in
his wife's arms. The next month, he included poems by
Bert Leach, his daughter, Vera, and one Ethel johnson,
who was inspired to write by pictures she saw in the
magazine. Over the next few years, Blumann wrote verse
on topics such as childhood, YOllth, God, and Mt Ranier,
sometimes under Latin titles. On occasion, he created
special layouts for poetry, such as in August 1936, when
he gave Lucile Le Sage's 'A Paint Brush to a Violin' two
full pages, with an elaborately designed border and a
photographic illustration by her husband, W. Dovel Le
Sage. Blumann claimed that he loved beauty in every
form, and, thus, would have poetry in any magazine he
edited. He received occasional letters objecting to their
inclusion in Photo Art Monthly, but claimed that he
received many more that were supportive, including one
in 1936 from prominent portrait photographer Pirie
MacDonald. He even ran the text of a few plays, such as
Rowland S. Potter's 'The Souls of Men', which appeared
in two consecutive issues, illustrated with photographs of
it in production.
Blumann was a prolifIc writer who refused to limit
himself to magazine articles, and during the run of Photo
Art Monthly he wrote four books on photographic tech­
nique. Photo Art Publisher, the business that put out the
magazine, issued all four books, the only ones they
published. This business comprised only Blumann and
Unger, assuring that the author had complete control
over the content, look, and feel of his books. Probably
the only thing Blumann did not personally attend to was
their printing, knowing that his own Home Press was too
small for the job.
In late 1935, Blumann issued his Photographic
Handbook, the first book from Photo Art Publisher. This
was essentially a revised edition of his only previous book,
Photographic Workroom Handbook, the rights for which he
apparently retrieved from the Camera Craft Publishing
Company. The two hardcover books were similar in
content, detailing a multitude of darkroom procedures,
and in appearance, measuring S-} x 5-} inches. The Photo­
graphic Handbook went into a second edition, and, in
combination with its predecessor, was his most successful
title. Blumann received orders for it as late as 1944, at
which time he claimed the book had sold over 60,000
copies.
81
In 1936, at age 64, Blumann wrote two totally new
books, signalling his sustained energy and enthusiasm for
photography. One was on enlarging and the other on
photographic holiday cards, two areas of particular interest
to him. Photo Art Publisher issued his Enlarging Manual
in june 1936 as a practical guide for photographers who
wished to make more than contact prints. In it Blumann
covered apparatus such as negative carriers, lenses, and
easels, and procedures like focusing, dodging, and devel­
opment. He also included a formulary and advertisements
for products he presumably approved of. The book ran
to 76 pages, measured a handy 6} x 5 inches, and featured
75
Christian II. Peterson
a textured cover that was plasticized to protect it in the
darkroom, where the author wished it to be used.
Later the same year, Photo Art Publisher released
Photographic Greetings: How to Make Them, Blumann's most
intriguing book. This title, unlike all his others, went
beyond pure technique, discussing and illustrating a multi­
tude of custom cards photographers could make them­
selves. B1umann noted in the book's preface that although
manufactured photographic cards were available he
believed that home-made cards were much preferable:
'They are intended to carry to the recipient a sense of
having had worked into them an affection that made
labor a pleasure. They should be personal and individual­
ized as no factory could make them. Something truly
from you, your hands, your skill, your feeling, to those
whom you hold in affectionate remembrance,82
The book was issued in time to encourage readers to
make Christmas cards, but many other holidays and
occasions "vere also covered: New Year, Easter, Thanks­
giving, birthdays, engagements, anniversaries, bon voy­
ages, birth announcements, and mother's and father's days.
In every case, Blumann recommended designing a card
and affixing a small photographic print of an appropriate
subject. He also explained a variety of techniques to
further customize each card, including cut-outs, bevelling,
embossing, deckle-edges, borders, and ribbon-tying.
Because the pictures were necessarily small he asserted
that the images should be sharp and crisp, not soft like
full-size, exhibition prints. Nevertheless, he illustrated the
book with pictures by pictorialists Edward Alenius, Gustav
Anderson, Nicholas Boris, and Christian B. Fletcher.
These images were combined with printed type and
borders to make pleasing graphic designs. Photo,,?raphic
Greetings, unfortunately, did not meet with popular
success. Writing to his son-in-law in 1944, Blumann
indicated that the book ha9 'flopped', not selling out even
its fIrst printing of 10 000 ~ o p i e s .
Blumann':s fmal book, Toning Processes (figure 15),
appeared in 1939 and represented his return to pure
technique. The book was an exhaustive handbook on
every type of toning process the author knew about,
packed into a concise eighty-eight pages. Though the
material was highly technical, Blumann wrote the text
and formulae so it was accessible to the average photo­
grapher, the goal of all his writing. In it he detailed
numerous blue, red, green, ;md brown toners, plus selen­
ium and sepia. He covered a multitude of metallic
formulae, as well as bleach toning, double toning,
mechanical toning, multiple toning, one-solution toning,
pigment toning, salt toning, warm toning, and others.
The book matched the two previous books in size and
format, completing a handy set of three little darkroom
handbooks. Its cover, however, was graphically the strong­
est, featuring a black triangle in one corner and its
publisher's logo in another.
Blumann, naturally, promoted his own books in the
pages of Photo Art Monthly. He reviewed them as they
Figure 15. Cover of Toning Processes, Photo Arc Publisher, San
Francisco, 1939.
were issued, sometimes listed them again in the book
section, and pushed them in display ads. He ran full page
advertisements for the 'Photo Art Library', offering the
books singly or as a group. In a September 1940 ad he
declared, not so modestly, 'These are not just books but
Photo Art books. Written by an accepted authority in a
way to make them serve best'. He also called them
'Standard and Classic'. He reviewed and promoted books
by others as well, running in 1937, for instance, a full
page with the heading, 'You Should Read These
Photographic Books', which listed titles by Ansel Adams,
Ivan Dmitri, and Franklin I. Jordan. Unlike other
American magazines, however, Photo Art Monthly did not
sell books other than its own. Camera Craft, American
Photoj?raphy, and others offered virtually every photo­
graphic title available, as an extra source of income. But
Blumann thought this was unfair competition with photo
supply stores and he regularly directed readers to purchase
the titles they wanted there. In 1936, he responded to
the suggestion that his books were underpriced at 75
cents each by saying he was not in photography for profit
and that all revenues from his book sales remained in the
business. Given the economic conditions of the 1930s,
this was an altruistic stance.
The Second World War began overseas in the last
years of Photo Art Monthly, a world condition Blumann
could not entirely ignore in the magazine. Because he
was an optimist and the United States was not yet
involved, however, he mentioned it as little as possible.
76
He ran no articles on the situation, preferring to editorial­
ize on it occasionally, such as in 1938, when he expressed
his sadness over the rude treatment of some Japanese­
Americans. In late 1940, however, he more regularly
responded to the conflict in Europe. In his last editorials,
Blumann discouraged fear and promoted faith in the
forces of good. Rather naively, he promoted art and
photography as a means of retaining world peace. 'The
Brotherhood of Man is vvoefully forgotten', he wrote,
'and our only hope is that the Brotherhood of Art may,
with our assistance, survive in sufficiency to offer some­
thing to start with and build upon when sanity once again
returns to earth,.83 He suggested that people use their
cameras to stay cheerful and that every soldier be issued
one, to occupy his off-duty hours and divert him from
'evil influences'. If Blumann had sti]] been publishing
Photo Art Monthly in December 1941, when Japan bombed
Pearl Harbor, he may have sobered up to the harsh
realities of the situation, but the magazine ceased before
the United States was drawn into the war.
Blumann knew that both he and his magazine would
not live forever. He acknowledged his own mortality in
Photo Art Monthly in 1936, about halfway through its run.
He wrote a lead editorial early that year about the recent
passing of three of his close friends in photography, noting
that he was older than all of them. The same year he
wrote another editorial in which he claimed that when
he died, he would still be young at heart, for he had
given to others, experienced love, and was interested in
young people. In 1939, though, he was a bit more
reflective, writing editorials such as 'Reminiscing', in
which he said he would happily trade his memories for
youth. Fortunately, Photo Art J\![onthly died before
Blumann, avoiding the simultaneous death of the maga­
zine and its editor, a not uncommon occurrence in
publishing.
The last issue of Phoio Art Monthly appeared 111
November 1940, its 85th instalment. Its contents were
typical: articles by pictorialists such as Bernard G. Silber­
stein, a technical piece by Blumann, poems, reproductions
of competition winners, and regular columns on camera
clubs, salons, equipment, and books. Blumann's editorial
gave no indication this was the magazine's last issue,
suggesting that circumstances had changed quickly. On
22 November, 1940, Franke Unger, Blumann's assistant,
sent out a form letter to subscribers, stating: 'Due to
existing conditions, Photo Art Publisher has suspended
publication of the magazine, Photo Art J\![onthly, with the
November 1940 issue, until further notice' 84 She
expressed thanks to subscribers, indicated that copies of
Dlumann's books were still available, and pointed out that
subscription refunds were enclosed.
A couple of important factors - both beyond
Blumann's control - contributed to the demise of Photo
Art Monthly. First of all, he lost Unger, his right-hand
woman at the magazine. About the time of her November
letter, she left San Francisco to live in New York with
Sigismund Blumann, Editor and Photographer
her new husband, pictorialist Adolf Fassbender. Blumann
was either overwhelmed or incapable of replacing her, as
Unger later recounted that he was ill at the time and that,
as a consequence, she was virtually running the maga­
zine
85
The second, equally significant, factor was the
war. As Thomas W. High pointed out to me, many of
the contributors and advertisers for the magazine were
European. As the war expanded, Blumann found it
increasingly diffIcult to communicate with individuals
from such countries as England and Austria and it became
unpalatable to advertise products from German companies
like Agfa and Leica. Given these personnel and financial
challenges, Blumann acquiesced to the end of Photo Art
Monthly - his final publishing project and the one most
closely associated with his name today.
Last Years
Blumann remained interested in photography after closing
down Photo Art Monthly in 1940, but primarily on a
personal level. During the Second World War, he wrote
frequently to his son-in-law, William A. High, about his
continued escapades in the darkroom.
86
High, appro­
priately enough, was serving as a military photographer
and Blumann's letters sometimes supplied technical infor­
mation that High had requested. In addition, Blumann
told his son-in-law about his reworking old negatives to
make pictorial photographs, about his interest in new
photographic plasticizers and detergents, and how to meet
old friends of his in England, such as the important
photographers J. Dudley Johnston and Alexander
Keighley.
Blumann continued to receive newsletters from at
least three Bay Area camera clubs, although it is not
known whether he attended any meetings. In December
1943, Popular Science published his last known article,
'Color Moods for Your Photographs'. In it, nIumann
posited that most black-and-white photographs could be
improved by toning, and he gave numerous formulae and
instructions for their use. The magazine reproduced four
of his classic photographs - landscapes and 'Winter at
the Station' (see figure 12). In fact, Blumann could have
written this concise four-page article at almost any time
during his thirty-year career, suggesting the timelessness
of his contributions to photography.
In 1944 Blumann professed to his son-in-law that
'doing nothing is not a Blumann guality'.87 In addition
to staying active in his darkroom, Blumann pursued other
hobbies and helped run the Davis Street house in Oakland,
where he sti]] lived with his wife and two of his four
daughters, who never married or moved away. Since his
daughters worked and Mrs Blumann was not well,
Blumann performed many of the household chores,
reportedly even doing the ironing. The family drove
regularly to Golden Gate Park for picnics and to movie
theatres for double-bills. Thomas W. High, Blumann's
grandson, recalls playing rummy with his grandfather and
77
Christian A. Peterson
noted his ever-present pipe, a fixture of Blumann's image
throughout his life.
On 8 July, 1956, at age 84, Sigismund Blumann died
of heart failure in his home. His passing was briefly noted
by a few photographic magazines, but his influence had
clearly waned.
88
Indeed, Blumann's time was the 1920s
and '30s, when he played a key role in both shaping and
documenting the foment of American photography in all
its guises - professional, amateur, and pictorial.
Acknowledgements
I wish to thank the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the
following individuals for providing information, assistance,
and photographs: James Bogin, Merle Bogin, James D.
Gollin, Nancy and Thomas W. High, Tom Jacobson,
Donald Lappe, Michael P. Mattis, Amy Rule, and Peter
E. Palmquist.
Notes
1. Blumann's death certificate lists 13 Septembet as his birth date, while
his birth certificate lists 14 September. Thomas W. High, Blumann's
grandson, kindly supplied this information and many other personal
facts abollt Blumann in an interview with the author, 17 January, 2000,
and in his biographical manuscript, 'Sigismund (Simon) Blumann'.
2. Sigismund Blumann, 'Constructive, Helpflll Criticism', Photo-Era 33
(September 1914), 125.
3. Blumann and Tillmany, At Home Portraiture, Oakland: Blumann and
Tillmany, c. 1910, llnpaginated.
4. Ibid.
5. Sigismund Blumann, 'Laboratory Work in Photography', Camera Craft
20 (May 1913), 225.
6. Sigismund Blumann, 'Home Sensitizers and Their Application', Camera
Craft 21 (October 1914), 495-502.
7. Sigismund Blumann, 'A Proposed Injustice', Camera Craft 21 (November
1914),550-52.
8. Sigismund Blumann, 'Nancy Ford Cones: The Work and Personality
of a Remarkable Woman', Wilsall's Photographic Magazine 51 (November
1914), 469-75.
9. Sigismund Blumann, 'Constructive, Helpful Criticism', Photo-Era 33
(September 1914), 122.
10. Sigismund Blumann, 'Photography ;l Fine Art', Camera Craft 22
11. Ibid.
12. Sigismund BlllID;lnn, 'Is There a Place Left for Straight Photography",
Photo-Era 34 (January 1915), 15.
13. Sigismllnd Blumann, 'Organizing a Camera Club', Camera Craft 22
(October 1915, 394.
14. Sigismund Blumann, 'The Nude in Photography', Camera Craft 24
(April 1917), 149.
15. Sigismund Blumann, 'The Human Form in Photography', Photo-Era
40 (May 1918), 247.
16. Hilton F. Burgiss [Sigismund Blumann], 'Doctor Percy Neymann and
His Critic', Camera Craft 25 (Augllst 1918). 299. Thomas W. High's
copy of this article has Blumann's handwritten note that he was, in
[,ct, its author.
17. Sigismund l3!umann, 'A New Plan for Salon Hangings', Photo-Era 41
(October 1918), 195.
18. Sigismllnd Blumann, 'Hobbies', Photo-Era 47 (August 1921), 82.
19. Sigismund Blumann, 'Photography for a Living', Photo-Era 49 (October
1922), 192.
20. Sigismund Blumann, 'Laws of Art Versus Individual Taste', American
Amlllal oJ Photography 1922, 142 and 144.
21. Sigismund Blumann, 'The San Francisco Salon', Photo-Era 49
(September 1922), 124-25.
22. [Sigismund l3!umannl, 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Amenities of
Literature', Camera Crqft 37 (July 1930), 345.
23. Sigismllnd Bllimann, 'It is Good to be a Photographic Editor', Photo­
Era 54 (January 1925), 5.
24. [Sigismund Blumann]' 'Under the Editor's LImp: The Editor', Camera
Craft 37 (April 1930), 188.
25. [Sigismund Blumann], 'Are We Too High-Brow", Camera Cra/i 33
(April 1926), 181.
26. [Sigismund Blumannl, 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The New Year',
Camera Craft 36 (January 1929), 29.
27. [Sigismund Bllimann]. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: Art and the Camera',
Camera Cra/i 39 (September 1932), 391.
28. [Sigismund B1umann], 'Club Notes: Join a Cllib or Start One', Camera
Craft 39 (December 1932), 523.
29. Sigismllnd Blumann, 'Pictorial Photography: National and Local
Characteristics', Camera Craft 40 (September 1933), 355.
30. [Sigismllnd Bilimann]. 'Our Monthly Competition', Camera Craft 39
(Jllne 1932), 254.
31. Sigismund Blumann, 'Pictorial Devices', Camera Craft 38 (October
1931), 474.
32. Sigismund Blumann, 'Prints of the Year', Photo Art Monthly 7 (March
1939), 112.
33. [Sigismund Blumann], 'Cllib Notes: Mortensen Salon Studies Portfolio',
Camera Craft 40 (May 1933), 216.
34. [Sigismund Bllimann]. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Contamination
of Taste', Camera Craft 40 (June 1933), 249.
35. Edward Weston, 'Photography - Not Pictorial', Camera Craft 37 (July
1930),313.
36. Sigismllnd Blumann, 'The f.64 Group Exhibition', Camera Craft 40
(May 1933), 199.
37. Ibid, 200.
38. ISigismund Blumann], 'Under the Editor's Lamp: What is this
Modern", Camera Craft 39 (November 1932), 478.
39. Sigismllnd Blumann, 'Scorching the Royal Photographic Sociery',
Camera Craft 40 (August 1933), 333.
40. ISigismund Bilimann], 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Nude in
Photography', Camera Craft 34 (April 1927), 190.
41. [Sigismllnd Bilimann], 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Ubiquitous
Nude', Camera Craft 40 (March 1933), 120.
42. [Sigismund Blumann], 'From the Editor's Sanctum: How Many Salons
are Sufficient", Photo Art MOllthly 5 (October 1937), 503.
43. Sigismund Blumann, 'Pictorial Devices', Camera Craft 39 (June
1932), 238.
44. [Sigismllnd Blumann], 'Ollr Monthly Competition', Camera CraJi 40
(February 1933), 72.
45. 'PacifiC International Photographers' Association', Camera Craft 32
(December 1925), 603.
46. [Sigismund B1umann]. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Importance of
Technic', Camera Craft 38 (March 1931), 138.
47. [Sigismund Blumann], 'Under the Editor's Lamp: How Bad Are These
Times", Camera Craft 38 (January 1931), 35.
48. [Sigismund Blumann]. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: And Now YOli Must
Organize to Have a Voice', Camera Craft 40 (August 1933), 342.
49. ISigismllnd l3lumann], 'Under the Editor's Lamp: Are Ideas Bunk"
Camera Craft 38 (October 1931), 496.
50. [Sigismllnd Blumann]. 'Photography', Camera Craft 33 (March 1926),
134.
51. ISigismllnd Bilimann], 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Amenities of
Literature', Camera Craft 37 (Jllly 1930), 345.
52. Sigismund Blumann, 'Poetry and Photography', Camera Craft 24 (July
1917),270.
53. [Sigismllnd Blumann]' 'Under the Editor's Lamp', Camera Craft 33
(September 1926), 435.
54. Sigismund Blumann, 'Photography for its Own Sake', Camera Craft 23
(September 1916), 366.
55. Sigismund Blumann, 'The Amateur Photographer', Photo Era 36
(February 1916), 63.
56. Ibid.
57. [Sigismllnd Blumann], 'From the Editor's Sanctum', Photo Arr Momhly
2 (February 1934), 89.
58. [Sigismllnd Blumann], 'Club Notes: The Blumann One Man
Collection', Camera Craft 34 (July 1927), 352.
59. John A. Tennant, 'The July Exhibition of the Camera Cilib of New
York', Camera Craft 34 (September 1927), 431.
60. 'News and Notes',Camera 47 (September 1933), 213.
61. [Sigismund Bilimann], 'From the Editor's Sanctum', Photo Art l\!lomhly
1 (November 1933), 39.
62. [Sigismund Blumann]. 'The Wisdom ofBazibazook', Photo Arr Momhly
1 (November 1933), 18.
63. [Sigismund Bilimannl, 'From the Editor's Sanctllm', Photo Art MOllthly
1 (November 1933), 39.
64. [Sigismund Bllimann], 'From the Editor's Sanctum', Photo Art l\!lOllthly
1 (December 1933), 99.
65. [Sigismund Blumann], 'From the Editor's Sanctum', Photo Art Momhly
1 (November 1933), 39.
78
66. [Sigismund Blumannj. 'From the Editor's Sanctum', Photo Arl MOllthly
6 (August 1938). 401.
67. [Sigismllnd Blumannj, 'Under the Editor's Sanctum: Photographic
Teachers, Are You Ready", Ph"", ArllVlollthly 3 (August 1935),412.
68. [Sigismund Blunl"nnj, 'From the Editor's Sanctum: What I Have
Gained from Clubs', Photo Art IVlonthly 8 (July 1940), 369.
69. Sigismund Blutllann, 'The Fourth Annual S,," Diego Saloll', Photo Art
ivlonthly 2 (June 1934), 255.
70. Sigislllund B1um,mn, 'James A. Holden, Painter', Photo Art MOrlth!y 3
(May 1935), 228.
71. Sigismund Blnm,,"", 'Cheating the Beholder', PJwto Art l"IOlllhly 8
(April 1940), 171.
72. [Sigismund Blummn]' 'FrOln the Editor's S"ncrum: Taste Versus
Judgement', Pholo Art MOlltilly 4 (June 1936),293.
73. [Sigislllllnd Blununnl, 'FrOIll the Editor's S"ncrum', Phoio Arl Monthly
6 (August 1938), 401 and 402.
74. [Sigismund Blum"nn!. 'From the Editor's Sanctum: Surrealism and
D"da', Photo Art MOrltilly 6 (Janllary 1938), 32.
75. fSigislllund Blumann], 'From the Editor's Sanctutll: Attitudes Towards
Photography', Pholo Art Monthly 6 (October 1938),504.
76. Sigismund Billmann, 'Japanese in Photogr;1phy', Photo Art Monthly 5
(July 1937), 322, 324.
77. [Sigismund Bl um;1nn], 'From the Editor's Sanctum: Learning Pictorial
Photography', Pholo Art Monlhly 3 (July 1935), 350.
Sigismund Blumann, Edilor and Pholographer
78. [Sigistllund Blumann]' 'The Wisdom of Bazibazook', Photo Art Monthly
7 (June 1939), 278.
79. fSigismund Blum"nnl, 'Camera Club Jottings', Phot" Art Monthly 5
(December 1937), 617.
80. 'Print Service Department', Pholo Art Monthly 2 (J,,"uary 1934).
"dvertisillg page.
81. Sometirne after I'holo Art MOrltilly ce"sed public"tion, Blurnann sold
the relmining copies of all his books to Willoughby's, ;1 photogr;1phic
supply Store in New York. SigislTlund Blum"nn to William A. High,
15 December, 1944. Courtesy of Thomas W. High.
82. Sigismulld Blumanll, Pholo)!mph;( Greetillgs: HOl/! 10 M"ke Them, S'\I1
Francisco: Photo Art Publisher 1936, unp"ginned prefrlCe.
83. [Sigisrnund Blumannj. 'From the Ediror's Sanctum: In These Troubled
Times', Photo Art Momilly 8 (July 1940), 370.
84. Franke Unger, letter, 22 November, 1940, Adolf F"ssbender ",chive,
Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona.
85. Fr"nke F"ssbender [Unger], taped convers"tion with James Bastinck,
(.1987.
86. I am grateful to Thomas W. High for providing selected copies of
these letters.
87. Sigismllnd Blumann to Wilh""1 A. High, 15 July, 1944, courtesy of
Tholllas W. High.
88. Brief obituaries for Blumann appeared in PSA journ,,! 22 (September
1956), 43, and Phot.ogmphcr 83 (December 1956), 18.
79

Christian A. Peterson

Amy, born in 1906; Lorna, born in 1908; and Vera, born in 1911. In about 1915, badly needing more space, the Blumanns reconfigured their modest one-storey, six-room cottage into an impressive three-storey, sixteen-room house. Interestingly, the original storey was raised to the top of the house, and the new Roors inserted underneath. Blumann remained at this residence, situated on the crest of a small hill, for the rest of his life. Blumann's enlarged house better accommodated one of his most serious avocations - letterpress printing. Foreshadowing his interest in photographic publishing, Blumann maintained a home printing press from at least 1889. In that year, still living with his parents in San Francisco, he handprinted a pamphlet promoting his musical services. To Music Teachers and Students: A New System oj Musical Theory in Hand-Book Form utilized red and black ink and old-style type on deckle-edged paper, evoking the designs of Englishman William Morris. Appropriately dubbed the Home Press, Blumann's print shop produced other small, well-designed pieces on music, poetry, and photography, his three main life passions. Early Years in Photography Blumann became interested in photography during the 1890s, early in his musical career. He first used his wife's Kodak camera to make snapshots and soon began search­ ing the photographic periodicals for information and advice. He appreciated the 'spirit of helpfulness that pervaded' The American Annual oj Photography,2 but was most drawn to Photo-Beacon, a photographic monthly published in Chicago until 1907. In later years he fre­ quently reminisced about how much he learned from the magazine's editor, F. Dundas Todd, who supplied both technical information and critiques of Blumann's prints. Todd promoted a conservative aesthetic agenda that Blumann would later continue in his own magazines. By 1906, when the San Francisco earthquake hit, Blumann owned his own, more sophisticated camera, which he used to document the quake's aftermath. According to his family, Blumann wished to get so close to the action that he volunteered in rescue efforts in order to get behind police lines. Once there he photographed hundreds of destroyed buildings, blocks, and streets. Only a small number of 5 x 7-inch prints of these subjects remain, however, for Blumann later destroyed most of them, fearing that they might be used by insurance companies as evidence against property owners. About the time he moved to Oakland, in 1907, Blumann became a part-time portrait photographer, as a sideline to his musical career. He joined with Jacques Tillmany, a fellow musician, to offer home portraiture, a line of portrait photography popularized by such advanced East-Coast workers as Clarence H. White. The advantages of this genre were that it relieved the photographer of maintaining a permanent studio and it elicited more relaxed poses from the subjects. The firm of Blumann 54

and Tillmany promoted themselves in a small brochure, At Home Portraiture, undoubtedly printed at Blumann's Home Press. It featured tipped-in original photographs as samples of their work and the phrase 'We Come To You' printed on every other page. The brochure's text con­ trasted the activity of going to a photographer's studio for a portrait with the experience of having one's picture made at home. The former was described as time consum­ ing and unnerving, in part, because of the foreign environ­ ment. Home portraiture, on the other hand, provided ease and comfort for the sitter. The brochure also stated: 'You know your own home and safe to say you like it. The walls are familiar, the furniture is intimate, the atmosphere is your own, and if under such conditions you are not smoothed and patted into a benignant mood it were indeed strange 03 Blumann believed that a portrait reRected the way a subject felt and commented that, in five years experience, he had never had to ask someone to look pleasant in their own home. Blumann and Tillmany also appealed to entertainers to have their portraits made at their place of work, where make-up and wardrobes were conveniently located. And they declared that their type of portraiture was truly artistic ­ a step above nonnal, studio work, where faces were often heavy retouched. Their work was 'of the freest, pictorial portraiture; perhaps too unusual for general taste, but it serves here to show how near the camera can come to simulating the methods of the painter'.4 It is likely that Blumann wrote the text in the Blumann and Tillmany brochure, for he soon began penning full­ blown articles for photographic magazines. His first known contribution appeared in 1911, and over the next thirteen years - while he continued to make his living primarily in music - he wrote over fifty articles. They appeared in Photo-Era, a Boston monthly, The American Animal oj Photography, published in New York City, Wilson's Photographic Magazine, also from New York, and Camera CraJt, issued across the bay in San Francisco. The latter, not surprisingly included more than half of his early articles. During this period Hlumann addressed many of the topics he would continue to essay during his later career as an editor: technique, photography as an art, camera clubs, the role of critics, nude photography, and others. B1umann's first known article, 'Cutting Masks for Border Printing', appeared in the March 1911 issue of Camera Craft. In it he explained the procedure for creating templates and using them to print decorative borders, which he used for many of his own photographs. The fact that his initial contribution to a magazine was technic­ ally oriented affIrmed his early and abiding interest in the science of photography. His second article, which appeared two years later in the same journal, pointedly emphasized the importance of laboratory work. He chided photographers who used prepared chemicals for not fully understanding their materials and claimed that, for him, laboratory work was the most pleasurable part of pho­ tography. Blumann boasted that he was the ultimate

Blumann wrote at least four articles on San Francisco's Panama-Paciftc Exposition and one on how to organize a camera club. both of whom were role models for him. who was still ftghting for acceptance of photography as an art in his exquisite quarterly Camera Work. In the article. writing. and its expenses began to exceed income. 'Don't do it'. He continued to promote good technique.he had already been acknow­ ledged for the value of his 'kind words' about several prominent photographers. for instance.9 Blumann believed strongly in constructive criticism.10 Blumann allied himself with Alfred Stieglitz. asked in its title. Blumann. that created a work of art. make an ideal critic. about the economic and artistic advantages of sensitizing one's own photographic paper. advice made acceptable with kindness ­ these are the qualities which. Blumann's article on camera clubs recounted his experience organizing a short-lived group in OakJand a few years earlier. He weighed in on the subject for the fIrSt time in 1915 with a simply titled article. Blumann was well aware that he stood counter to many prominent pictorialists who performed extensive handwork on their negatives and prints to make them look more painterly. From the late nineteenth century to the middle of the t'\:ventieth. It began: 'Judgement tempered with mercy. discernment. Clute. vividly addressed a key element of American photography at the time. it. Stieglitz. or what you will. His second article for Photo-Era. for instance. 'Constructive. His piece on camera clubs. and running meetings. curiously. Helpful Criticism'. The painter works broadly. but with paints. felt that artistic photographers should not manipulate their imagery. If a photographer infused an image with perception. of Photo Beacon. a phenomenon that greatly spread serious interest in photography. sympathy. measures the seconds accurately for the purpose. pictorialists. who. beaten all the way and back. He does not. small and intimate contact print. he mentioned the patience and positive outlook of magazine editors F. any­ where.hotography could be an art. however. He believed the spirit of a thing decreed its creative standing and that the' Muse may smile through a photographic print'. Blumann wrote. met regularly. Blumann resigned as president and pledged to never try forming a club again. was his most important of the year and his first in Photo-Era.5 In 1914 Blumann penned four articles. and he even objected to enlargements. In addition to writing in 1915 about straight pho­ tography and photography as an art. of Camera Crafl. 'Photography a Fine Art'. amateur and profes­ sional alike. he wrote. 55 . Blumann also noted that . He closed his 1915 article with 'a word of tribute to Mr. trouble. Soon. selects the paper of the proper tone. 'Is there a Place Left for Straight Photography'? He declared that 'however broadly a photographer works he must conftne himself to the limits of his branch of art or confess that he is reaching in extremis for help elsewhere. not the materials. preferring the classic. he felt strongly that p. annoyance. surface and finish. . Yet. and were bastions of social activity. 6 In other articles he railed against the Photographers Association of America for their proposal to license all photographers. in which he made the familiar claim that it was the individual.Sigismund Blumann. most probably. maintaining that where photography is not a flOe art it is not to be considered at all' . understanding. His articles on the exposition. and spirituality. shall gain in its conveyance'. D' Arcy Power [technical editor of Camera Crafl] has mentioned in the past ftve years that is not on my shelves'.at this early stage in his writing . sur­ veyed the buildings and exhibits without regard to photo­ graphic issues. He observed that critics who lacked appreciation often became bitter and those who were too severe usually lost respect. But he disparaged the practice as misguided and found much of their work to be mere curiosities that did not enrich photography as an art form. By the First War most sizeable American cities had at least one camera club. They offered equipment. Exasperated. with inflexible (stiff-necked.12 He felt that use of a 'doctored' negative excluded the resulting picture from classiftcation as a photograph. 'To the pioneer in such a movement comes all the expenses. 8 The article. and Fayette]. put on plaster-moldings to get relief'. Despite Blumann's lack "of artistic training. 'And I go with him'. and profes­ sionals organized hundreds of clubs around the country. however. instruction. the spirit of a master is the dominating force that rightly compounds the chemicals. has disdained all argument and bravely gone ahead.7 and essayed the work and personality of Ohio photographer Nancy Ford Cones. so trims that the idea. published in 1915. if you will) persistence. emotion. rose to artistic heights. There isn't a chemical H. however. fates he wished to avoid. he then admitted to a 'pitiful lack of real art education'. and comradeship. when added to knowledge of the subject.11 'He neither argues nor debates'. Blumann knew from personal experience how many choices a photographer had to make in order to succeed: 'Let us never forget that back of the ground glass is the eye of an artist. Dundas Todd. the club was consumed with debates over such non-photographic issues as its name and constitution. an attribute that might have given pause to those he passed judgement upon. and the values he listed guided him for the rest of his career as a writer on photography. amateurs. It appeared in Camera Crafl and was one of the few critical articles to appear on the subject. He related how he had taken on the primary responsibility of writing letters to prospective members. and that along every material step in the procedure a mind with dreams of an ultimate conception. criticism mellowed with sympathy. renting club rooms.. and at the last. Editor and Photographer expert on kallitype pnntlng (better known today as vandyke brown) and extremely knowledgeable about other photographic processes: 'When it comes to the darkroom I have you all beaten. which appeared in the New York Tribune and the Photographic Journal oj America. however.

It seems that Blumann quickly got over his aversion to photographic organizations. one for Camera Cralt and one for Photo-Era. craftily combining his interests in photography and music. and J. This probably explains why Blumann did not sign his own name to the piece. was ostensibly about studio Lighting. revisited the subject of nudes. Louis A. suggesting the equal conservatism of the editor of Camera Craft. instead.litary needed only certain types of lenses and that most photographers who owned them could easily spare them. Blumann indicated that he was. Blumann's 1918 articles about nude photography were more encouraging than his piece on the same subject the year before.. had adopted the relaxed poses. he suggested eliminating the position and influence of the exhibition judge (another form of critic).14 He feft that women photographers like Anne Brigman and Kate Smith did the best nude work.13 He advised photographers to devote their time. if they needed the facilities of a club. Blumann included a whopping 114-word sentence that. Goetz. Penned under a pseudonym. According to him. His contribution to the A nnual. 17 Perhaps humbled.not the soul'. not opposed to all nudity. His patriotic pieces. Later that year Blumann spoke at the California Camera Club. modestly stating that 'my time is limited. Blumann advised photographers how to make successful images of the nude. He even questioned his own standing in the field at the time. and a 'self-ordained arbiter of photographic destinies'. C. Revealing his conservative outlook. natural lighting. Such self awareness kept his ego partially in check and made for interesting reading. Blumann initia1ly was somewhat sceptical of the nude as a subject for photography. and idealized models. and none of the credit. but. all fellow Californians. On a special evening devoted to Nancy Ford Cones. however. his first for The American Annual [1 Photography. the 'Dean' of the group. The very next year Blumann went against his own advice and participated in at least t""o organizations of photographers. the most important elements were generic settings. Peterson blame and heartburnings. a tendency to record. 'The camera is too frank and too handy. separately. they will find that there is no evil in Art. and warned that photographers were always in danger of presenting plain nakedness because of the verisimilitude of the medium. illogical. Blumann appar­ ently felt his words had been too harsh. in fact. diffused backgrounds. was still incomplete. so he wrote a rebuttal to his own article. I have no affiliations and no standing'. such as John H. to avoid getting involved in its business affairs. He pointed out that the mi. Earlier in the year Blumann had criticized a particular photographer's nude work as inferior to his landscape work. and energy to their work. only to particular nude pictures that were artistically unjustifi­ able. natural poses. and artistic mounts used by pictorialists. in a lead article for Camera Craft that noted . and penned two 56 articles inspired by the First World War. and. the country's leading yearly digest. criticizing both himself and the role of the critic. did not try to recruit soldiers but did declare that he wished he was young enough to enlist. profit. The article also exemplified the author's inclination to write unconventionally. He wrote about his own role as a critic. He recommended it only for advanced pictorialists. C. and Percy Neymann. 'When they are led to consider each instance by itself and to judge it as an instance rather than a compre­ hensive basis. which circulated work among its members and kept a low profile. for aU the technique of the most skillful. probably because such groups were so pervasive and active. with . Garo.disconcerting keenness. In its last paragraph. he pulled no punches. It shows. he critiqued her eighty pictures on display and conducted his orchestra. but not a single illustration accompanied his article. In 1917 Blumann wrote his first article on nude photography and. . BLumann pointed out that the best portraitists. both appealed to photographers to sell to the government the lenses it badly needed for the war effort. In retrospect.16 He went on to wish he could get the critics to attack one another. Blumann.ls In his article for The American Annual of Photography 1918. He suggested that most of those who objected to the nude were. but knew that that would never happen because they maintained a code that kept them from doing so. money. Blumann's other main topic in 1918 was the photo­ graphic critic . he praised Nancy Ford Cones. and that there never was from its inception. avoiding any references to himself. Blumann wrote less than half a dozen articles during the next two years. In another article. Over time his writing style would become increasingly idiosyncratic. charging himself with being glib. essayed the influence creative amateurs were having on professional portraiture. in fact. hiding the fact that he was roasting himself. In 1919 he focused on the work of other photographers.photographs by Anne Brigman. Elias Goldensky. He compared Strauss's work to the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds and John Singer Sargent and boasted that he had success­ fully recruited Strauss for membership in a group called the Photo Fellows of the World. with seven articles. who was then forty-six years old. Once again. a prominent St Louis portrait photographer. Strauss. leaving decisions in the collective hands of the sponsoring organization. my position in photography precarious and obscure . which had been based in San Francisco since its founding in 1890. rather than average amateurs.Christian A. And he analysed how these features were present in the work that illustrated his article . In 1918 Blumann again contributed heavily to period­ icals.. In February 1916 Blumann wrote a lead article for Camera Craft praising the work of J.his own position. the body . despite its length. In Photo-Era he addressed the problems that many people had with the nude as a subject for artists. glory or pleasure'. Strauss.

18 He claimed that photography was just one of the many hobbies that made his life feel richer than that of a Carnegie or Rockefeller. however. time to write about pho­ tography. Blumann considered nature the ultimate goal of art. Neymann asked four of the country's leading pictor­ ialists . allowing him to give up his job as an efficiency engineer and devote himself full-time to photography. was more comfortable as a photographer than as a writer. The next year. encouraging serious photographers to try their hand at it. Knowing that snapshooting amateurs comprised the largest class of photographers. and mature. And. Porterfield . apparently. he wrote. and he wrote two articles stressing his belief in rigid artistic standards. The year before he had written his last article for The Aml'l'. Western judges 'conscientiously and persistently refused to accept formulae instead of conceptions and arbitrary standards as a substitute for broader ideas'. when the sun is setting. for selection and tntth were also necessary. Blumann's attitudes about art and nature were traditional. lungs filled with oxygen. and to work for the good of both the organization and the field as a whole. He also tran­ scribed the thoughts of Percy Neymann. but warned them not to go extremes. resulting in four vastly different inter­ pretations of the same image. Their joint article addressed how artistic photographers imbued their work with personal vision. Blumann was intro­ duced to this group of professionals as having complete technical knowledge of photography. And he expressed childlike excitement over the experi­ ence of both finding subjects out in the open and watching prints develop in the darkroom. In 1923 Blumann churned out more than half a dozen articles. healthy ways: 'I set up my tripod.A. and he enthusiastically addressed amateur photography as a relaxing pastime. he admitted that images which merely duplic­ ated or simulated nature were not enough. patient study and considera­ tion. a point well illustrated by the accompanying reproductions. after all. soothed mind.wn Annual of Photography and once he took over the reins of Camera Craft he rarely contributed articles to other periodicals. His new profession. and he felt that many issues applied equally to both groups of workers. H. but fdt compelled to defend this seemingly promo­ tional practice as an important informational service for his readers. he proudly proclaimed that some established photographers saw their pictures rejected while some new talent had its work accepted. Call/era Crt!!i. he encouraged each of them to defend good work and decent prices. like himself. practice Art. By this time Blumann was judging exhibitions as well as writing about photographs. must have given him more. look at the ground glass. In it he noted that photographic judges from the West. expose. 'If you are selling pictures. a trade is a defmed practice. They are based on laws of nature: basic and funda­ mental'. however. he identified with them and praised their simple. each of which. some ofBlumann's verve returned. But in August of that year Camera Craft appointed him editor. he also appealed to professionals. 1924-33 In early 1924 Blumann continued to write articles for Camera Cra)i and a few other magazines on a freelance basis.19 He continued to mention Garo and Strauss as professionals he admired and added to his list Dudley Hoyt of New York and H. he contrasted the laws of art and individual taste: 'The rules of Art are not made arbitrarily and intended to curb individuality. In 1922 he wrote articles for both Camera Craft and Photo-Era on making a living as a professional. however. Editor and Photoxrapher her Inner urge to create and the necessity of such inspiration for all successful photographers.to craft a print from the same negative. and Wilbur H. The pictures were judged as pictures and not as the product of any person. he asserted that art had but one creed: 'To hold the mirror up to Nature. Chaffee. In 1922 he sat on the jury for the San Francisco photographic salon. He had. asserting that it was a solid rock upon which to base judgements. He wrote about many brand-name products (such as the Verito lens and Cyko p. They 'cannot be awed by names or distinctions not su bstantiated in the work shown. were more independent than those from the East. Early in the year he spoke to the Photographers' Association of California on ethics. D.20 In the second article. the text of which Camera Craft subsequently published. and. he wrote. and a good appetite' . because in 1922 he put out no less than eleven articles. owing to the heavy workload of his 57 . Goetz. previous honors were not considered'21 As a result. reflected the maker's own style. Louis Fleckenstein. Sometime in the early 1920s Blumann retired from music to become an efficiency engineer. apparently setting up his own office. most of them on technique.Sigismund a/umann. but do not confound Art with Oddity'. know Art. 'Selling portraits is a profession. In one. Pierce of Providence. deliver Art. but he expressed pride in his conservatism. go home with a clean. Rhode Island. Louis A. After telling them he felt at home in their midst. by far the most in any year so far. writing a few articles on the old kallitype process he still favoured. In 1921. Names were as nothing to us. tellingly. the laws of art. a profession is a trade. Blumann concentrated on photographic technique. His main topics were professional photography. and exhibition judging. He believed profes­ sionals had to artistically differentiate their work from their competitors in order to succeed fll1ancially. They are arrived at by experience. not a debauch'. a close friend who. In this position he studied businesses and devised ways to increase the production of their equipment and personnel. an exhibition about which he wrote an article for Photo Era. Blumann paid equal attention to amateur and professional photographers in these early years. to appreciate competition as healthy. Despite Blumann's love for amateur photographers.lper). been a portrait photographer himself.

all goals Blumann had in mind.photographic or otherwise. called 'Chit Chat About our Friends'. In early 1926 Blumann christened his editorial column. 'Under the Editor's Lamp'. pictorial.his most important contribution to the field of photography. Blumann was Camera CraJi's most prolific writer during his tenure as editor. despite his Jewish herit­ age. which beginning in October 1924 reproduced a photograph. at the corner of Market and Third Streets in downtown San Francisco. Cover of Call/era Creif!. He enjoyed his work immensely and was widely regarded among photographers as a leading tastemaker in the 1920s and 1930s. and raise the level of amateur work. Reed. 58 . general information. 1924 Q. In his first editorial he acknowledged the previous editor. the magazine featured drawings. accepting many ofBlumann's early articles and serving as a role model for him. Pictorialist Thomas O. University of Arizona. a practice in which all magazine editors indulged. He encouraged photographers to take advantage of every season. who apparently never owned a share of the magazine. oversaw a few regular columns. Most visually noticeable was the cover. Over the next year Blumann instigated changes at the magazine to match his personal style and better serve the general readership. Tucson. Fayette J. P. At fifty-two years of age. Blumann. colouring techniques. covering profes­ sional photographers. Blumann went on to edit Camera CraJi longer than anyone except Clute.Ff---AUGUST. and professional photographers in a lively and timely manner. technique (still authored by a previous editor). Blumann wrote an editorial for every issue of Camera CraJi. Between 1924 and 1933 his name appeared on 128 articles. Here. and one covering the activities of the national association of photographic finishers. Peterson / photographer Ralph Young. an average of fourteen per year. Camera CraJi located its offices in the Claus Spreckels Building (now Central Tower). From 1924 to 1933 he covered all the major concerns of amateur. titled 'Putting Human Interest in Illustrations'. II CAME A C FT Figure 2. each for short periods of time. And. engage their readers. Clute edited the magazine from almost its beginning until late in 1920. A year after Blumann began editing the magazine it was acquired by Miss Ida M. he lavished Christmas greetings upon his readers every December. plus articles on photography as an art. and indicated that he looked forward to serving his readers. This was a common means for photographic periodicals to obtain images. affirmed the stability of the magazine. he had free reign and authority to speak his mind about any topic . After Clute's departure the magazine had two other editors. August 1924. and amateur troubles (taken over by Blumann). He added a department that carried bits of information on photographers around the country. He editorialized on a range of issues that went far beyond those covered in the magazine's articles. Blumann continued most of the regular columns that the magazine had run previously. The magazine featured a lead article by commercial ----~-----------. was kept on to work with a staff of six. Center for Creative Photography. who had previously worked under editor Clute. before Blumann took over. working both outdoors making exposures and indoors making prints. camera clubs. In 1925 he commenced a photographic competition. Sheckell con­ tributed an article about one of his own tree photographs and Harold Cazneaux reviewed the first Australian salon. in which readers sent their photographs into the magazine hoping to have them reproduced and awarded prizes. Previously. and wrote many feature articles.Christian A. running it for nine years. but Blumann embraced the obvious concept that a photo­ graphic magazine should have a photographic cover. He railed against billboards and pushed for better maternity care. and photographing forged handwriting. amateur adventures. Douglas Anderson. He promoted the golden rule and cautioned photographers against conceit and vanity. He authored many unsigned articles. Blumann's first issue as editor of Camera Croft appeared in August 1924 (figure 2). VoL XXXJ No. quantity production of photographs. It featured a drawing own magazine. Pri<eU ea. Blumann embarked on his career as a photographic editor . Camera CraJi had begun publishing in 1900 and became the longest lasting and most significant photo­ graphic monthly west of the Mississippi during its time.

good and bad. producing ascending puffs of smoke. continually reviewed new books. In January 1925.24 First and foremost.23 Five years later. Writing in one of his regular monthly editorials. and wrote an instruction manual of his own.Sigismund Blumann. He continually asked readers to send him their comn~nts. H. nonetheless. Individuals not in school who wished to learn pho­ tography had numerous other sources of instruction. he wrote. Blumann had already editorialized on the advantages of close ties with other photographic magazines. But. you have a right to kick and we have a right to expect you to help make it what you want' . covered two or three separate topics. incense rising from the censer at my side. in painting'. W. and photographic books provided a plethora of information. After one interested woman stopped in his office for advice he wrote an article assuring photographers who were beginning. and repeatedly promoted successful figures such as Nancy Ford Cones. At one point Blumann indicated that he was receiving over five hundred entries a month. He believed that photography could be a creative outlet for everyone and that basic technique should be taught in the public schools. Photographers who saw their pictures repro­ duced undoubtedly felt invested in the magazine and encouraged to submit again. in fact. so that their interests and opinions could be represented in the magazine's pages. Blumann and A. He abo strongly encouraged newcomers to join a camera club. He welcomed an increasing number of women as photographic colleagues and picture-makers. He believed that such instruction would increase both the aesthetic and scientific knowledge of their students.26 To encourage more widespread usc of cameras Blumann encouraged high schools and colleges to add photography classes to their curricula. getting friendly letters. Blumann relished feeling close to his approximately 8000 readers. Editor and Photographer / of Blumann in profile. Photographic f. he admitted there were hardships to the job but. so gregarious that he personally answered every letter addressed to him at the magazine. A few years later he observed that photography was the art form for the masses.25 He recognized that the magazine and its readers were mutually dependent upon one another. On the desk was a tobacco jar labelled 'My Lady Nicotine' and in Blumann's mouth his ever-present pipe. Their names were reprinted throughout the year to maintain their interest and burnish their pride. A few years later he described the charged atmosphere of his work station: 'Here I sit at a desk smoking rose leaves and violet petals in a Sevres pipe with an amber mouthpiece. reading at his desk. Ultder the Editor's Lamp.~~W IIIJII. and sweet music from the dynamic in a corner of the room. because it offers the possibility of friends as well as mere readers'. 59 . The monthly picture competition at Camera Craft also exemplified the extent to which the magazine was open to reader contributions. Magazines. books of rhetoric. Blumann described the pleasures of having a large readership. due to their long friendship and interest in cooperation. R. . either from an individual or through a camera club. dictionaries. if happily we have it. 22 By this time his editorials ran two full pages. working towards a common goal. pro­ claimed great fulfilment from his work. exchanged articles on the subject. Beardsley. In 1927 the Camera Craft Publishing Company. with a wall of books running off into the distance (figure 3). a lively place to learn photography. and Beardsley credited him with initiating the idea of magazines sharing articles. creating a vast resource of pictures for the magazine. Many people also sought personal instruction. 'It is good to be an Editor.this being an Editor.· ~ I ~ . Blumann provided many articles for beginners in Camera Craji. 'Not many of us have the talent or the time to cultivate the talent. such as Camera CI"<?/i. He was. all fun'. and often featured one of his own poems. and dealing with interesting subjects all as 'mighty fine'.. like this. 'the camera frees our shackled urge' . Blumann stated that photographers were his people and his liveli­ hood a joy. wooing the muses just to sling some nice language clear over to Iowa and you'.Vorkroom -tJNDERIllHEEDitOR'SLAMPJ'~c. Blumann wanted Camera Craft to serve its readership. benefiting both the individual and society as a whole.JIIIII • I I I I I'· II 1···. 1920. even though one of them once characterized the magazine's tone as too personal. He proclaimed: 'If this is to be your magazine as we continue to assert. that every­ one began on an equal plane of enthusiasm and talent. he wrote. Blumann's inclusive approach to editing Camera Craft was mirrored by his populist attitude towards photography in general. Potter. published l3lumann's first book. 'It is not a business. Blumann penned the article 'It is Good to be a Photographic Editor' for Photo-Era.I" 'VtC'' :'-~-' :1 ! '~" . especially of a magazine of this class. the editor of Photo-Era. there is no work to it .~ ' :~'~ Figure 3. only half a year after starting at Camera Craft. I find it all good.

the Handbook was small in scale (S-} x 51' inches) and indexed. He wrote: 'Books have been written on Art Appreciation. He was a charter member of the Photo Club of Alameda County and frequently spoke to other groups in the Bay Area. Anthony Bill and O. Never so much so as in their hobbies. This was an important early book on the subject. and he fre­ quently editorialized on the subject. SubsCliptions to ten other photographic magazines were offered (at a discount with Camera Craft). The water's fll1e'. 'We will sum it all up in two requirements: emotional appeal and sense of beauty'. But above all learn to make pictures by trying to make them. so to speak. You will never learn to swim from a book. In 1930 Blumann listed the attributes of an ideal camera club member: a passion for photography. reading books and making good pictures were two distinct activities. As much as Blumann believed in the value of photographic literature. and stereoscopic. The magazine's monthly book column sometimes repeatedly promoted the same title. Peterson Hartdbook (figure 4). S~l1 Francisco. was listed at least three times. Seemingly. history.28 During this period. C~mera Craft Publishing Company. enlarging. knowing how self serving that would be. issued in countries from Britain to Japan. A few years later he proclaimed: 'If you are in for the pleasures of photography get all the pleasure. serving thousands of enthusiasts and going into four editions. including only simple formulae for everyday photographic procedures. this catalogue could fulfd every photographic need. Its modest 106 pages were packed with two hundred technical topics (from acid hardener to waxing solution).. nature. You cannot do it secretively and alone. 'What is this pictorial art of which we hear so much and see so little'? he asked. fourteen portrait illustrations by J. Admirably. Permit me to advise you that they are all good and may be studied with advantage. Smith. you brothers in photography. and the drive to make pictures that bettered photographic standards. l1lustrative Photography in Advertising by Leonard A. The Camera Craft Publishing Company. a respect for other people. for instance. the spirit of 'clubbism'. He nonetheless advertised it heavily in the magazine. Williams. a movement that nIumann devoted much attention to in Camera Cr~fi. complete technical books currently on the market. Blumann's love for books was evident in the pages of Camera Craji. portraiture. Figure 4. In its preface. He claimed he had a substantial personal library. Many on How to Make Pictures. but the fact that it was published by Camera Craft most probably affected how often it was mentioned.Christian A. operated a successful book service. Round yourselves up and keep rounded up. in addition to publishing books and a magazine. J. Humans are gregariolls by instinct and habit. however. Find one another. For easy use in the dark­ room. Cover of Ph(1/(lxraphir vVvrkrvol/1 H'lIJdbvvk. pictorial. 1933 (fourtn edition). a desire to remain an amateur. Blumann restrained himself from revlewll1g his own Photographic Workroom Handbook. selling titles through the mail. rather than only reviewing it upon publica­ tion. he knew that the photographer ultimately had to put down his or her favorite treatise and pick up the camera. Jump right in. often prominently featuring it on the inside front cover. Despite his early frustration over organizing a club in Oakland. and sixteen pages of advertising. most American camera clubs fomented pictorial photography. was meant to be concise and handy. He proudly proclaimed it contained no reprints and only recipes fully tested by himself. This book was Blumann's most successful. Blumann acknow­ ledged that there were many big. In fact. and individuals. consisting of several hundred photographic titles on technique. Its 1932 catalogue claimed that it offered every important photo­ graphic book currently in print and that it was the only catalogue of its kind. Join a club or start one. he recognized the value of photographers banding together for knowledge and power. the ability to pay dues on time. He ran a regular column in Camera Craji that reported the activities of clubs throughout the country.29 Blumann believed that artistic photography incorporated 60 .27 Blumann thought that camera clubs were an excellent place for individuals to learn to make pictures and swim around with other photographers. as well as fifteen annuals. His manual. It included about 125 books in categOlies such as aerial.

it was hoped. an inspiration for amateurs. and Leonard Misonne used crayon to hand craft their images. an outlook re­ inforced by Blumann. Leonard MisonIlt' (1870-1943). Prints may be worked up with crayons. In 1926 he wrote an article on the current state of pictor­ ialism. producing romantic rural scenes that glowed with contra jour lighting (figure 5)./x. he characterized pictorial work as advanced and distinctive. It is likely that Blumann changed his mind about manipulated imagery largely because of the work of Leonard Misonne of Belgium. and subject. In the darkroom. 61 . criticizing photographers for manipulating their imagery. accented highlights. A year later Blumann declared: 'The clouds may be printed in or worked upon the negative or print. however. In one of his monthly editorials he stated that he now believed creative photographers could use any means they liked to complete their pictures. pictorialists were governed by visual laws . He defmed the concept of compo­ sition. Misonne was one of the world's leading pictorialists. chemicals or the knife'. 1924. Kales used ink. Two or twenty negatives may be combined.guidelines dictating that every element in a picture had an appropriate place. inexorable. Titian. he printed in clouds. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. and Camille Corot. Jose Ortiz-Echagi. Ti'lIIjJs Oragc/. and a knowledge and conformation to their dictates is essential to the best pictorialism'.ie used rosin and chalk. He noted that Arthur F. Blumann believed that just as Bach was governed by harmonic laws. Before he joined Camera Craft Blumann had expressed equaUy strict views on the purity of the photographic image. Editor and Photographer pe~sonal expression married to an aesthetic standard. and. processes. chalks. Blumann continued to believe in natural laws of art during his editorship of Camera Craft. In 1932 he asserted that 'basic principles and the laws of Nature and Art are inalienable. By 1930. Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund. By this time he had run a sufficient amount of pictorial work in Camera Craft for at least one reader to complain that there was too much of it. noting trends in style.S(~ismund Blumann. Figure 5.31 As far as he was concerned pictorialists could add tabasco sauce to their pictures if it helped them achieve the desired results. but he did not apologize. with a musical analogy he borrowed from Bach: putting the right fmgers on the right keys at the right time. He made his conservative preference obvious by illustrating the article with soft-focus images of old-world subjects by European pictorialists such as Alexander Keighley and Joseph Petrocelli. Blumann admitted that pictorialism dominated the magazine's text and illustrations. He personaJly admired the paintings of Raphael. Instead. and recommended that pictorialists study art and learn to draw to improve their photographs. appropriately enough. he had completely changed his view.30 Pictorialists considered correct picture composition a key element to success.

began his rise to prominence by writing influential articles and books shortly after Blumann left Camera Craft. full range of tones. As early as 1922 B1umann criticized a controversial photograph of a kitchen sink by Margaret Watkins as mere record work and a stunt. with equally poor results. The wilful taste still prefers the too sweet Uohn M.e would soon erase. and their followers for tearing down established traditions of art and erecting nothing of value in their place. detail. If my company is traveling to hell I shall stand very still and hope to be left very £1r behind.3R Writing in Photo-Era for a change in 1927. some creative photographers . and review and recommend for purchase his small portfolio of 'salon studies'. ease their minds. a fellow Californian. quipping.32 Blumann also regarded highly William Mortensen.. Weston likened pictorial images to calendar art and stated that 'photography following this line can only be a poor imitation of already bad art' . Hlumann updated the cover of Camera Croft at about this time. another pictorialist who heavily manipulated his prints. he viewed the work of Edward Weston and his influential band of straight photographers. That may not be so bad. can encroach. talking loudly.37 Unfortunately. We came away with several ideals badly bent and not a few opinions wholly destroyed'. Matisse. insisting that serious workers use the inherent qualities of the medium. list a few of his one-person exhibitions. sported a more modern design. referring to one as a 'Pickle in Agony'.33 He went on to say that Mortensen's work was sometimes grotesque or bizarre but always interesting and masterful. He noted that during this period of heightened speed and progress individuals occasionally needed to slow down. On one hand. In 1933. The cover of the July 1930 issue. sharp focus. Imogen Cunningham. He decried Cezanne.64. Blumann questioned the work's ultimate worth. while others­ the modernists . Blumann placed himself in the anti-modernist camp of photography. Ansel Adams. He was of two minds about the modernist work he saw. 'we estimate lowly the highest achievement in portraiture of gourds and peppers'.continued to relish romantic subjects and hand work. declaring it as legitimate a cause as that of pictorialism. In 1933 Blumann reviewed the important.] Whitehead and Misonne. By promoting the work of photographers such as Misonne and Mortensen. was not always so extreme when it came to modernist photography. Blumann fell in love with Misonne's work. you will enjoy these prints. He asserted that much that was called new and modern in the arts had been attempted before. white background. claiming that he held 'a place in pictorial photography on which none has or.Christian A. with mixed feelings. Blumann admitted he did not like Weston's subjects. Mortensen. During the 1920s and '30s. so he had little opportunity to feature him in the magazine. Peterson and performed other handwork that made his photographs look very painterly.. he stated. Group £. and cherishing European books Misonne sent of his work. It now com­ prised nine rectangles. 'Mortensen is in my mind one of America's outstanding artists with regard to photography or any other medium of graphic expression' . if need be. adversely critical. perhaps. Beware lest you permit your taste to be con­ tamina ted' . Previously the cover had featured an ornate border that framed both the magazine's name and illustration against a stark. and a. for he did not run a single illustration with his review. He did. He concluded: 'In a word. were successfully pursuing personal goals.the pictorialists . In one of his last articles in Camera Craft he proclaimed: 'It has been said that to stand still is to be left behind. When Blumann made his own pictorial photographs he followed Misonne's lead and made primarily landscapes. Blumann celebrated his conservative. frequently reproducing it in Camera Craft. Blumann demonstrated great tolerance in 1930. but he was impressed with Weston's commitment to straight photography. Blumann did not give his readers the opportunity to judge the work for themselves. and relax their bodies.34 Blumann. formed by a series of straight lines running off the edge of the paper. In fact. a few months before leaving Camera Craft. Picasso.embraced realistic subjects and straight printmaking.. astounded. Blumann's anti-modernism also affected his outlook on art and society as a whole at this energetic time in America history. reproduce three of Mortensen's early images. He wrote: 'We went with a determined and preconceived intention of being amused and. person­ ally collecting examples. and were creating a place for 'photographic freedom'. however. while Blumann edited Camera Craft. Victorian attitudes with no apologies. and a few other Bay Area photographers. he conceded that these photographers were using classic beauty in an up-to-date manner. both praising and criticizing it.36 On the other hand. You will be impressed. But you will not love them nor want to hang them in your home. referring specifically to Weston's work. As late as 1939 Blumann con­ tinued to praise Misonne.35 Weston claimed that photographers who tried to imitate painters were mis­ directed. B1umann lamented the bad habits of the country's young people: smoking.. 'lewd pic­ tures'. when he published a lead article by Weston in which the writer harshly attacked pictorial photography. B1umann used a newer type style for the magazine's name and two different 62 . He even went so far as to warn the public that 'much of what we see and which is offered us as pictures is not artistic but psycho­ pathic. A few years later he declared that thepa~~erns and designs preferred by modernist photographers' were only a temporary novelty that tin1. and disrespecting their elders.39 Despite his anti-modernist feelings. however. which included Weston. using make-up. To him this 'vicious reading matter'. however. single exhibition of work by Group £. and 'raving in music' reeked of a 'meaningless confusion of ideas and emotions. for instance.64.

and elsewhere. Oelman. And he chose not to print critiques of the pictures in the Camera Cra)1 competitions. the Photographers Association of America. 'there was an ever present consciousness that it was not merely inert photographs that were being passed upon but the sensibilities and hopes of human beings'.43 And he repeatedly spoke out against the increasing tendency of salon organizers to standardize the mount sizes they accepted. mind of the artist'41 During th¥ 1920s and '30s. by this time. 'The human figure is not always divine'.44 Blumann knew he was not omnipotent. He also expressed his opinion on other aspects of the photographic salon. Over the next few years he featured more and more illustrations by the world's leading nude photographers. We love the game for its own sake and we disagree or agree amongst ourselves just as you agree or disagree amongst yourselves and with us' . While he had written a few cautionary articles about the subject in the late 1910s. he now was more open to photographers turning their cameras on the unclothed figure. saying that. however. for instance. In fact. In a 1927 editorial he claimed that the magazine's policy was to not publish photographs of the unclothed figure. of course. and other activities of these groups. believing that most readers wanted to hear only unabashed praise for their work. Blumann never put an image of a nude on the cover of Camera Craft but. conventions. Blumann served on juries for exhibitions and competitions.42 He pointed out that salons served three important pur­ poses: demonstrating the artistic potential of photography to the general public. because it made them 'an abject sycophant instead of an artist'. were strictly jlllied. hung in art museums.lustrated catalogues. As long as one citizen walks barefooted there cannot be an over production of shoes' . plus nudes by California pictolialists Louis A. In 1932. He then humbled himself. and acknowledging the accomplishments of leading pictorialists. Editor and Photographer colours for the rectangles surrounding the reproduction in the centre.whether nudes or other sub­ jects . Anthony Bill of Cleveland . In the Bay Area. in San Francisco. In 1933 reproductions such as these prompted a female reader to question the magazine's policy. As editor of Camera Craft. over time. termed salons to signal their artistic nature. and Max Thorek. by continuing: 'We judges are just feJJows like yourself. 'And most of the photographers who put naked women before the camera neither know nor care about art in any particular' . As a critic. Monthly columns reported on the membership. and that no judge. seemed to do so only when their pictures were rejected. He did observe. Blumann responded in another editorial. Chicago. He indicated that he was now neutral on the subject. and accompanied by il. still unacceptable. or editor could change its status. however. Among those he covered were English portrait photographer Marcus Adams. Goetz and Anne Brigman. showing no fear of overexposing them. P. Blumann wrote about leading professionals. he had altered his views on photographic nudes. critic. plus the PacifIc Coast's regional organization of professionals.40 Contrary to this editorial. He ran many reviews of the country's premier salon in Pittsburgh plus lead articles on the exhibitions in Los Angeles. never when they were accepted. H. photographs of the nude had improved markedly and that the general mood towards them had softened. J. Kales. a few years later he stated: 'Until there is a salon once a year in every American metropolis there cannot be an overabundance. for instance. and Arthur F. he initially sent mixed signals about nude photography in Camera Craft. describing their methods and discussing their pictures.in an extensive network of exhibitions. With few formal changes. stating that a picture was good on its own merits. Rochester. Nevertheless. that photographers who criticized taste makers.Sigismund Blumann. In feature articles. he wrote. although offensive nudes were. Blumann had already reproduced Rudolf Koppitz's significant and seductive image 'Bewegungsstudie'. he warned photographers not to tailor their entries to the make-up of a salon's jury. Blumann wrote regularly about photographic salons. in which he participated. 63 . he wrote about judging photographs and continued to encourage positive criticism. like himself. It isn't so much what is in t~e pictures as what is in the . We have seen pictures of the human form divine that showed a delicacy and poetic conception. of Czechoslovakia. He asserted that he had recently 'been delighted with nudes which glorifIed what was created to be beautiful. that during the judging of the 1932 Los Angeles salon. camera clubs in Oakland and San Francisco jointly organized salons that were presented at both the Oakland Municipal Art Galleries and the Palace of Fine Arts. of the United States. for instance. Although Blumann paid great attention to amateur and pictorial photographers in Camera Craft he did not neglect professionals. the magazine's cover became much more dynamic. These exhibitions. and Philip Newberg. In 1932 photographic salons so pervaded the pictorial movement that Blumann led off five issues of Camera Craft with exhibition reviews. He believed that such a practice homogenized the presentation and discouraged viewers from looking at the entire exhibition. In the late 1920s the magazine regularly devoted space to the country's national group. which were the ultimate goal of every self-respecting pictorialist. whose work he pointed out was enjoyed even by his wife and daughters. and wrote about issues that concerned those who made their living with the camera. American photographers presented their work . Camera clubs in about twenty-five cities sponsored annual salons to both show off their own best work and to view photographs submit­ ted by other pictorialists from around the country and abroad. most notably Frantisek Drtikol. He ran regular columns for profes­ sional organizations. He noted. reviewing them and encouraging photographers to enter. encouraging young photographers to advance. profIled individuals.

He refused to be ialists to become familiar with a variety of films. so that they would be fully equipped to and convoluted sentences. using little-known words such as anim­ wrote: 'A poet who is unfamiliar with language. It's factor to the crash. but to go out and and. Perhaps a little rest from squandering thing of themselves into their work. the daughters to make ends meet during the 1930s. charity. remains today a key early work on the subject. optimistic. High. even though. charge a fair price. he developed a use the appropriate process for every picture. Louis. because they put some­ we make them so. Blumann renounced his parents' contact with the Pacific International Photographers' faith when they resisted his plans to marry a gentile. He enjoyed close he was raised jewish. championing them annually in Camera Craft.. in reality. He also pointed of photography. President Roosevelt's drive to well illustrated with reproductions of modernist advertise­ regulate American industry. Peterson a Los Angeles studio photographer. according to Thomas tography. D'Arcy Power. in self defense I must be talk shop and remained a rich source of technical informa­ permitted to show that I am neither the first or only tion for amateurs and professionals alike. but he made no mention have done some fancy language slinging . colour preferred not to discuss politics in Camera Craft. are ideas. toners. where he spoke on ethics. taking great printing methods. believing that things would right them­ During 1927 and 1928 Blumann ran an important selves. a painter adversion. giving it regular coverage in the pages out that photography itself was 'one more gift for which of Camera Craft. of home and family. 49 Though pep talks. practical and necessary to get through life happily. 64 . The Master Photo one's faith was often the 'accident of birth'.. and an article on the photographic profession as an business and as an art'. Williams. and wrote Blumann. were Blumann remained enamoured with the technique appreciated for their handmade qualities. Edgar Guest. gave they do become when bred into our character'. not to find a job. In his 1926 greeting He also involved himself with the nation's photographic Blumann suggested that Christ's birth was significant for finishers and businesses that developed negatives.ly lacks the means' 46 Blumann loved to humour and hubris: 'Now. once he realized that the 'wolf ments and photographs by Adolf De Meyer. Most and efficient services rendered the organization and for of his December issues included a Christmas greeting. models. and that. Blumann encouraged pietor­ liberties with the English language. edited by H. In addition. The series was so well received that a Generally. provide good service. love through personal contact with many of its practitioners. Masefield. Speaking Finishers of America awarded him their first honorary practically. and equipment. In fact I'm a mild offender. photographs as gifts. developed a unique writing style. Blumann was editing Camera Craft when the American Browning. Blumann knew the field of professional photography Honesty is an ideal. and jews. he adopted her Christian receiving an honorary life membership for his 'unselfish beliefs. and other Rotarians stock market crashed in late 1929. Written by W. helping organize its 1929 convention and he successfully wed his wife. a musician of the readers of Camera Craft complained about who knows no harmony. know ployed individuals with cameras to take advantage of the their expenses. He included a monthJy column on to thank the Creator of aU things'.45 photographic Christmas presents. and in 1930 he delivered the keynote address Christmas cards and stationery and also suggested giving to the group's annual conve!1tion in St. and desk. but did theory. In the 1920s he attended meetings of the Photographers yet how practical is their influence and effect. and Christians alike. Blumann had to depend on income from his Leonard A. As before. he explained how to make photographic membership. of it untiJ over a year later. In 1931 he wrote: 'Truth is an ideal. Kindness. who spent untold hours at his editorial numerous articles himself. They are not bad except succeeded. a photographer who is ignorant Blumann's peculiar style of writing and even claimed that of exposures. Blumann expressed a positive outlook that year later Camera Craft compiled them into the book was moral. In 1931 he large vocabulary. Buddhists. He claimed that Illustrative Photography in Advertising. Blumann articles covered aesthetics. a new field for professionals. He was largely psychological and advised temporarily unem­ counselled professionals to maintain a clean studio. extra time they had. on developers. respect for traditions . and even performed music. Blumann responded with both gift but certain. papers. in his last editorial. may have the he made words up. and printing. They were support.5o technical issues. and religious. philanthropy. These photographers times have no cause to be bad. Spenser. and others. He wrote few additional editorials on the country's series of articles in Camera Craft on advertising pho­ economic condition. a contributing lsieJ nor so much of it. how real Association of California. often creating long and chemicals. constrained by the rLlles of grammar. development.47 He went on to claim that the depression images that went beyond average picture-making. he assured readers.not just me.Christian A. according to Blumann. printed pictures for the general public. creating distinctive may do us good'. Shakespeare. make photographs. and ratiocination. which sold well and idealism was. an continuous and consistent efforts for the advancement of editorial on the meaning of the holiday. Chaucer. lighting. and expressed a naive optimism: 'The too bad but I can't make my pen behave'51 As a writer. In a january 1931 editorial he As a matter of fact I don't sling it so good like they does criticized people for buying on margin. Lejaren a is at the door' 48 Hiller. ironically.. produce quality work. eleemosynary. a Minnesota college professor. Such items. After Association. composition. Tennyson. offender. typography. most importantly. In 1930 one who has never learned to draw and color..

or. when he became its editt?r. published in August 1921. professional photographers. including youth. indicating the importance of verse to the magazine's founders. after featuring three poems in an earlier editorial. and commend the professional. only to a more deflllite degree. an eleven-line revelry about enjoying nature with his camera. better yet. however. small darkrooms. There were four poems and ten regular columns. Blumann responded by saying that good poets and creative photographers were allied in their quest for beauty. Blumann reminisced about photographing in Yosemite National Park and supported government organization of American industries during the current economic crisis. poverty. owner Ida M. 'It merely need express in "vords what the artist would have the picture convey. and God. love. Reed intro­ duced the new editor and briefly thanked Blumann with the following words: 'Since 1924 we. while the women wrote more emotionally. life. Despite this recognition. The picture and the lines lend one another a reciprocal value' . This short. amatems.S(l?isllnind Billmann. however.lsure'. raising questions about the reason for his departure. claiming that his calling was as a critic. have enjoyed his contagious enthusiasm. nature. the magazine's owner. music. and he reprinted a poem from the very fIrSt issue of Camera Craft that had been prominently placed opposite the frontispiece. tepid appreciation and the fact that Blumann contributed nothing during the magazine's subsequent life suggest that the editor and the owner of Camera Craft parted ways over deep differences. and his wide technical knowledge of photography. whjch he gave out to friends. In the magazine's next issue. As a young adult. in no way compromised the pivotal place he held as a technical adviser and creative consenter during the 1930s. encourage the pictorialist. In addition to these freestanding poems. write their own. he achieved success as a pictorialist in his 65 . ageing. where. According to two of his daughters. one on development and one defending the Royal Photographic Society. he began peppering the magazine with about half a dozen a year. and dog. ' shall I hope to unbosom myself?'.52 He reasoned that the recipient of such a photograph would not only acquire a work of visual art but also 'a taste of literature for good me. Sigismund did not graduate from high school because he was expelled for writing poetry in maths class. 'Such home-made poetry need not be great'. Some readers objected to such a deluge of poetry in a photographic magazine. Later in life Blumann sent out holiday cards that paired one of his photographs with one of his poems. Pictorialist Joseph Petrocelli. True to his flamboyant way with language. he also composed hundreds of poems throughout his life. Blumann contributed a few pieces of verse to Photo Era. He proudly cham­ pioned the work of Bert Leach and James Courtney Challis. Nevertheless. A few years later. technical articles. He leaves with our best wishes for success and happiness'. In addition to the substantial amount of prose Blumann wrote. 'If I cannot unload my verse in my own department of the magazine I edit. such as The Springtinle (!f L!fe and In Many Moods. but most of his poems appeared in Camera Craft. and the lead article was an eight-page review of the photographic salon in San Diego. Others addressed technical topics such as the Graflex camera. he proclaimed. he also included his own verse in virtually every monthly editorial. such as 'Summum Finitum' for a 1928 poem about mankind's smalJ place in the universe. He was now one of the West Coast's leading photographic tastemakers. conversely. and pinhole photography. Blumann as a Photographer Blumann frequently downplayed his own ability as a photographer. Blumann also believed that good poems could inspire photographers to make pictures illustrating them and. how­ ever. I31umann opened the pages of Camera Craft to other poets. contributed the frontispiece. His fIrst one in that magazine. equipment. known for his images of Mediterranean countries. oh where. In late 1926. In 1917 Blumann had contributed a lead article to Camera Crq{t on how poetry and photography could be combined. Blumann wrote two pieces. In it he included a typical mixture of pictorial photographs. He even included poems by inmates of San Quentin. he sometimes used Latin titles. his article included a poem he wrote about one of his own images and one inspired by a photograph by his friend Percy Neymann. In 1938 he was sufficiently accomplished to be included in Principal Poets of the WorLd. observing that male prisoners usually wrote abstractly. In August 1933 Blumann edited his last issue of Camera Craft. Blumann's abrupt departure from the magazine. Reed. He made it clear that as long as he was running the magazine. In fact. and the monthly competition (won by Chicago pictorialist Max Thorek). Blumann gave no indication anywhere in the maga­ zine that this was his last issue of Camera Craft. poetry. Editor and Photographer he undoubtedly felt that his personality should show not only in the content of his work but also in its form. it is not known whether he chose to leave or was asked to resign. death. was 'Out of Doors'. a guide to 500 English-speaking writers which indicated that his best liked poem was one called 'Christmas Snows'. he wrote. And once he began writing for the photographic press he contributed poems as well as articles. as well as that of Ida M. poems and photographs would cohabit in its pages. that good photographs could inspire indi­ viduals to write poetry. covering books. and editorial com­ ment. pipe. He had suggested that photographers find written verse to title their work.53 Blumann wrote verse about a host of emotions and ideas. In his editorial. Camera Crqft and American photography in general were immeasmably enriched and strengthened by Blumann's nine years at the magazine. always anxious to help the amateur. and the readers of this magazine. his Home Press printed small collections of his own poems.

He blocked out a small spot on the negative to create a bright rising moon. except medicine. B1umann expertly composed the image with trees along both edges and a small reflecting patch of water near the center.56 Many years later he wrote and illustrated a three-part series of articles on Pacific Coast parks. he pos­ sessed demonstrable artistic talent. shows a wooded scene.. retitling it 'Athos. Alexander Leventon. n. Sigismund l3lumann. with a burden of some ten or twelve pounds of camera. Kales. a prominent member of the Photo-Secession. Blumann made self-deprecating remarks about his own photographs for years. .54 He referred to himself as an 'amateur snap-shooter' and 'pseudo pictorialist'. the leading characters in Alexandre Dumas's 66 . an important California pictorialist. rich tones and grainy texture. massing dark areas. has tried everything and every way to get out of himself something he feels is within. As early as 1913 he noted that even though he possessed five hundred dollars' worth of chemicals. Blumann's most enduring photographic subject was the landscape. for he noted that the musical profession provided more pictorialists than any other. making other equally compelling images during different seasons. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A fevv years later he stated: 'Consider the writer. and he preferred photographing landscapes. and two poems to this issue but. in November 1926. and nature photography. quietly and peaceably. comfortable hiking clothes. who contrasted the 'shooting' he did with that of hunters. and brown). In this untitled nocturne (figure 7).Christian A. In 1916 he noted: 'Without injuring any of God's creatures I tramp the hills and explore the woods. He regularly photographed the environs of Oakland. because of his great technical knowledge. While someone else felt free to cut down the tree in the foreground of this scene. he still could not make good negatives or prints.S5 In fact. where he lived. and overlaying a textured pattern. Blumann surmised that had he been a better photographer he never would have become a critic and editor. in which he promoted the value of rustic cabins. and even assured readers that it was all right for them to make poor pictures because he did as well. this is the only one he put on the cover of the magazine. two articles. 'I feel an impulse to express emotions in pictures ­ emotions of my own in pictures made by myself. Nonetheless. made moody by deep. And he sensed that his experience as a musician propably aided his work in creative photo­ graphy. for instance. and tripod' . and others who were much more accomplished than he. Peterson own' right during the 1920s and early '30s. and he toned prints of the image at least three different colours (green. made in Washing­ ton's Rainier National Park. and Aramis'. Blumann preferred to restrict his alterations of nature to darkroom work. who has spent precious hours in the field and in the darkroom. Blumann decorated his own stationery and hand-crafted holiday cards for his wife. Blumann's landscape photographs show his reverence for nature and his skill for interpretation. Nearly ten years later he prominently reproduced it again as the frontispiece in Photo Art i\![onthly. unfortu­ nately. He worked with a number of processes. when he was editor of Camera Craft.. White. producing compet­ ent pictorial images. for Figure 6. who has owned about every make and size of camera. He was drawn to this particular setting more than once. but those from the 1920s are more resolved. by Clarence H. revealing the interpretive power of this technique. Max Thorek. plates. Although he reproduced about fifteen of his own pictures in Camera Craft. and Arthur F. He collected work by Misonne. He was an environmentalist with a camera. His image 'Diana's Mirror' (figure 6). but has failed' . he dramatically flattens the image by suppressing details. Another landscape demonstrates the degree to which Blumann was willing to manipulate the photographic image. gift of Holly and James Bogin. Porthos. Diana's Mirror. He contributed another photograph. Since it is not given me to use the pencil or the brush. I use the camera. During this time he made creative phmographs that were published and exhibited primarily in the United States.d. It is true that most of Blumann's creative photographs do not match the best work of many of the leading pictorialists he admired. did not discuss his cover image. When it came to the camera he was equally ~ensitive. instance. Magazines repro­ duced them as early as 1911. which becomes the focal point of the image. blue. In 1916 he claimed. Blumann's favourite landscape photograph apparently was 'The Three Guardsmen' (figure 8). He claimed he was inspired. and California's state parks and national forests.

from the straightfon'v'ard 'Photography' to the ques­ tion.Sigismund B/umann. Perhaps he considered them unrepresentative of his work as a whole and too advanced for his readership. he boldly experimented with the abstract massing of light and dark. however. formally. Despite Blumann's ·. He then commenced photographing Newberg adjusting lights and directing a well-dressed model against a backdrop.d<:yotion to landscape pho­ tography. Minneapolis Im[iw[e of Arts. where he was impressed with what he saw. but they rarely photographed everyday procedures like the one I31umann captured. poster-like quality to the photographs. Los Angeles photographer Dlumann befriended at a professional convention.d. The photographer in the pictures "vas Philip Newberg. sometime during the 1920s (figurres 9-11). he printed a stippled texture into most of the series. Nevertheless. a dapper. undoubtedly. Despite the similarities between the pictures in this series. Tellingly. they did not match. On one hand. the model. they stand as his most accomplished photo­ graphic images. was the near abstract manner in which I31ulllann depicted it. Blumann. on the other. 'Fashion or Art'? Surprisingly. while. comparing favourably with other pictorial work of the time that showed the influence of modernism. Sigisl11l1nd I3llll11Jnn. And. adding a flat. whom I31umann identified with the three towering sequoias in his picture. Blul11ann exhibited his photographs only modestly. Ulllir/cd. These images show a professional photographer posing and lighting a model. an unusual subject for him that he nonetheless used to great advant­ age. Photographers frequently made portraits of themselves and each other. He rigidly structured the images with dark borders that framed the figures and created a stage-like setting. Blumann must have visited Newberg's studio. they do not form a strict sequence where one particular image follows another. Editor and Photographer Figure 7. Blulllann did not reproduce a single image from this series in either of his magazines. Blumann essayed the practice of photography itself in this series. 131umann used strong contrasts in most of the pictures to render the photographer. gilt of James D. More important than the activity shown. historical romance The Three A1usketeers. a routine activity for many professional photographers. n. as was his common practice. The subject was so simple and obvious that most photographers never considered it.1Ct. to his responsibilities as an editor. his most striking gr·oup of pictures was a series of at least seven he made in the studio. he also gave every picture a different title. varied their tonalities :ll1d textures so that. in f. Gollin. 67 . owing. and the lights essentially as silhouettes.

Minneapolis Institm{' of Arts. r.t! ili/odel. 1')2(. Minneapolis lnstitmc of Arts. Sigislllllnd Ululllanll. J>h(l{ography.d. Minneapolis 68 . Thl' Wi//i. Sigislllllnd Blulllann. n. gift of Holly and Jailles Bogin. Figure 9.d. Figure 10.d. Figure 11. "'ift of Holly and Jallles Bogin. Institute of Arts.Christian A. Sigislllund I31ulllann. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Peterson Figure 8. n. Fashion or Art'. gift of Holly and James Bogin. Sigismllnd Bllll11ann.. gift of Dr Don'lld and Alice Lappe. nrc 'J1lr('l' ClIcJrdsrtll'll. n.

Between 1933 and 1940 he reproduced eleven of his photographs in Photo Art Monthly. the exhibition comprised contribu­ tions from A.lre.. not surprisingly. of American Photography. Between 1923 and 1932 his pictures were accepted at photographic salons in Amsterdam. and Blumann. Blumann does or says. Herbert C. suggesting he had a limited number of successful photographs. 69 . in 1927. Cincinnati. which. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. illustrating an article by him on toning. In 1927 Blumann created his own one-person exhibition of about thirty bromoil prints that he travelled around the United States. 57 but he apparently never got his work into such leading salons as Pittsburgh and London. John A. Beardsley. also of Photo-Era. however.d. Akron. this image was probably made at a train stop Figure 12. Between 1911 and 1929. Calling it 'our own bold plunge into the vortex of pictorialism' . Tennant. the pictures became part of a unique exhibi­ tion showcasing pictures by editors of American photo­ graphic magazines. Rochester. featured a harbour scene. of Camera. and Los Angeles. like hundreds of other creative photographers. Alternatively titled 'Dakota Weather'. Sigismund Blumann. McKay. New Westminster. of Photo Miniatl. Other periodicals that repro­ duced his work were The American Annual of Photography. His own magazines. He claimed. which. and Camera. of Photo-Era. His last known reproductions appeared in the December 1943 issue of Pop~tlar Science. n. He used some of the same images for both magazines however. Seattle. New York. and elsewhere. Tennant reviewed the exhibition in Camera Craft. British Columbia.Sigismund Bhtmann.58 he sent the exhibition to camera clubs in Chicago. In New York. gift of Holly and James I3ogin.59 Blumann. ran another review which claimed that only one picture in the entire show was worthy of exhibition and that Blumann had far to go as a pictorialist. Toronto. in March 1930. Presumably he disagreed with this opinion but felt it deserved airing in his own magazine. Chambers. reproduced more of Blumann's pictures than other publications. writing that all of Blumann's prints displayed 'that poetic ardor which breaks through in whatever Mr. included his self-portrait (figure 1). Frank Roy Fraprie. he included eighteen of his own illustrations in Camera Craft. H. that 'the salons are my hope and objective'. Most striking among them was 'Winter at the Station' (figure 12). Presented at the prestigious Camera Club of New York. Frank F. Editor and Photographer He successfully submitted a few pictures from his photographer/model series to the 1931 Scottish National Salon but sent primarily his landscape work to exhibitions. /If/inter at the StatiNI. which showed a bleak. snow covered landscape under an ashen sky.

chemically treating it. on one of Blumann's many trips to professional conventions. label. Blumann's editorial approach at Photo Art Monthly would closely follow his outlook at Camera CraJi. Figure 13. Blumann used his extensive knowledge of technology and chemistry to photograph with different equipment and print in a variety of processes. presumably with pastels. Finally. He usually mounted his prints on thin. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A bromoil was created by bleaching out the image of a regular silver bromide print. To the backs of each mount. In 1927 he used the bromoil process to make the prints in his travelling. believing they were useful tools for general photographers and pictorialists alike. He rejected the standard 16 x 20-inch mount.Christian A. he hired an assistant. below the lower right corner of the print. After returning to the Bay Area. c. probab1ly gathering advice and support for his new endeavour. Sigisl1lund 13lumann '5 label. In his fIrSt book.60 At this time 13lumann was on a 1110nth-long. three weeks later. It was an aluminum box that 'Neighed less than a 4 x 5-inch camera and held trays. Blumann's method involved simply copying a photo­ graphic image onto an intaglio plate. Others he called 'pastelographs'. chemicals. one-person exhibition. and then redeveloping the image with a brush charged with oil pigment. put out the first issue of Photo Art Monthly. he rarely dated his photographs. preferring the narrower format of 13 x 20 inches. cream-colored board with an embossed plate mark. probably a hybrid process he developed and named himself. painterly appearance. black-and-white etchings that do not betray the source of their imagery. it included his name._championing the kallitype early on. green. and a graduate. In 1931 he claimed he owned and used no less than nine cameras. Photo Art Monthly. although he occasionally made larger ones. Most of his exhibition prints measured 8 x 10 inches. Blumann enjoyed experimenting with different pho­ tographic printing processes. took on a distinctive. Measuring 2 x 5-} inches. These handcrafted photographs. in a confident stylized script. ailowing him to submit the same picture to exhibitions for years. Like most other pictorialists. Not surprisingly. stretching the meaning of black-and-white photography. In September he wrote a letter to the editor of Camera. a subject he wrote an entire book on. a term incorrectly suggesting photogravure. or monogram. picture title. stating: 'Watch for a new and startling photo­ graphic magazine that will set a new standard of literary value and pictorial beauty' . inserting them between the negative and paper during enlargement to create lined and stippled patterns. He wrote a few articles on what he called the 'photo-etching' process. In addition to all these media. It appeared in November 1<)33. including a Graflex and a 5 x 7-inch model. Blumann marked his exhibition prints with his signature. The first issue of Photo Art Monthly comprised articles SIGISMUND BLUMANN WINTER AT THE STATION LITHOBROME. Blumann made photo­ graphs that were brown. and. 70 . and process. with a care­ fully chosen title that informed readers it would focus on artistic photography. on a monthly basis. both in mounting and identification. rt reflects both his known adversity to travel and an understandable longing for the milder weather of California. 8000-mile trip across the United States. plain black-and-white photo­ graphs he hand coloured.a stylized 'SB' in a vertical rectangle. he toned his prints. Careful1y matching imagery and colour. and blue. Only occasionally did Blumann mark his images with his monogram . natural1y. Blumann used a variety of texture screens. Many of Blumann's prints are labelled 'lithobromes'. the result being a traditional hand-rendered etching. which he may have designed and printed at his own press. 'A Magazine Dedicated to Those Who Love the Beautiful in Photographic Art and Craft' (tigurc 14). he described the portable darkroom he had built to check his film on trips. "[ '1205. Peterson on the Great Plains. address. he usually affixed a paper label (figure 13). Blumann's original photographs are characterized by distinctive features. His own pieces in this medium are small. 1933-40 Blumann was out of photographic publishing for only a few months after editing his last issue of Camera Craft in August 1933. He also promoted 'miniature' (35 mm) cameras like the Leica. He usually signed prints in pencil on the mount.

no apologies offered'. He also took a stab at Camera Craji. and miscelJaneous photographic news. and not surprisingly. about whom nothing is known. 'From the Editor's Sanctum'. so he hired Mrs Franke A. In 1935 the 'P' in 'Photo' was integrated into the border of the illustration.. he thanked others for the advice and encouragement he had received and informed readers that the magazine would be theirs as much as his. 'this publication is ours. Blumann included columns on books. he explained that he was interested in them aLl as intimates. For each issue. shorter pieces that were unsigned. He also began an enter­ taining feature called 'The Wisdom of Bazibazook'.61 Besides his editorial. amateurs. Most important was his editorial. equipment. when the illustration lost its frame and was pushed to the lower right corner of the cover.1011 PHOTOAR MONTHL. Center for Creative Photography. most of the cover's original design was reinstated. upcoming salons. technique. toning. and he repeatedly acknowledged the impor­ tance of her efforts to the life of the magazine. English pictorialist H.Sigismund Blumann. Blumann located the offices of Photo Art Monthly in the Monadnock Building..r. Tucson. Numbers like these continued throughout the life of Photo Art Monthly. nature photo­ graphy. he wrote. less than a block from the offices of Camera Craft. Blumann.. in which he addressed everyday problems common to amateur photographers. Art. Editor and Photographer NO ER . This building was under construction during the 1906 earthquake. The last changes were made in 1938.. I _ ~ ~ _ SIGISMUND BLUMANN. Despite his large presence in the magazine. sans-serif type used on the cover. Consequently. 'No excuses are made. He included features on pictorial photography. From the beginning. and photo­ graphic education. and in 1934 contributed fully half of the magazine's lead articles. not just business partners: 'Most of all we 71 . The next year. which included his personal ruminations and poems. Blumann established a number of sections in the magazine's fIrSt issue that ran most of its seven-year life. usuaLly contributed a feature article. camera clubs. In its first issue. Blumann framed this image in thick lines that matched the bold. 'I now start under new auspices to again address those who enjoy a publication of the sort that accepts the popular mind as being above moronic and believes in the good taste of its readers in matters of English. having to compose all of them himself. he encouraged readers to write him with their concerns and send in their photographs. Blumann also began a series caLled. knew he could not run Photo Art Monthly alone. University of Arizona. and columns on a variery of topics Blumann felt fell within the parameters of his artistic mission. then 61.62 The magazine's first cover reproduced a picture by Karma-Heinzen De B. and often contributed additional. untiring labour. Unger initially performed primarily administrative tasks at Photo Art Monthly. the photographic '~aJon. he claimed. but did not mention his former magazine by name. Blumann's voice was prominent in the magazine. November 1933. at 685 Market Street. leaving Blumann with much of the writing responsibilities. This modern design was altered a few times over the life of the magazine. Yet. producing a more abstract design. for instance. he used no outside editors for the monthly columns. however. yours and mine' 63 In the next issue. 'Hallelujah! I'm a Snapshot Shooter'.Y c.00 per year PHOTO ART PUBLISHER MONADNOCK BUILDING Figure 14. made up of his short quips about photography and life in general. indicative of his drive and stamina at the rypewriter. He wrote twenry­ seven of the first issue's fifry-five pages. he thanked Unger for her loyalty. he always wrote an editorial. EDITOR S 2. he now put his name on the cover. Among the dozen statements he made in its first instalment was: 'That fellow Weston has a thousand critics and not a dozen equals' . and Sentiment'. Summons wrote the lead article on photographing in Corsica and iLlustrated it with images made from paper negatives. In his first editorial. and buyers. Proud to be running his own magazine. and enthusiasm. he admitted that he was after every kind of individual involved with photography: readers. In his first editorial. Harold McMurtoch reviewed the exhibition of artistic photographs at Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition. Y. Cover of Photo Ar' Monthly. advertisers. BJumann wanted the pages of Photo Art Monthly to be open to the views and pictures of everyone. Unger as his business manager and only employee. but it survived and is sti]] located next to the exclusive Palace Hotel. Unlike at Camera Craft.

The amateur class competition encouraged untold numbers of beginning photographers to compare their work with that of others and to strive for creative results. Blumann ran his office the same way as he did the magazine. Blumann made his interest in art evident by naming Photo Art Monthly as he did. including. nationally recognized pictorialists such as Christine B. He was also honoured by leading national organizations in the United States and Britain. added a third.]. beauty. when Blumann had ceased making pictorial photographs. San Jose Camera Club. pictorialist D. staffed with instructors in physics. competing for prizes and a reproduction of their work in the magazine.69 He reproduced the paintings of Jean Franc. Between 1. he stated in 1933. Here. enjoying one more place to show their work. For years he had insisted that clubs focus solely on photographic rather than social activities. Peterson want' Friends'. 'And for the friends made within the four walls of our meeting place I am grateful. Holden. promoting it as less expensive and more rewarding than pastimes such as golf and hunting. at different times. At these venues. and illustrative photographer Ralph Young. introduced photo­ graphers like Adolf Fassbender and D. During his editorship of Photo Art Monthly.a course in basic photographic technique. Those repeatedly successful in this class moved up to the advanced category. he segued this series into another one also geared to amateurs . Ruzicka. In 1933 he was a charter member of the Photographic Society of America. As photographic organizations throughout the country began to bestow honorary and life memberships upon him. In 1938. and sometimes only. Hundreds of individuals got their first. He wrote frequently about photography as a mere hobby. he stated. just talks.68 Clubs in San Francisco. salon photographs. the Royal Photographic Society awarded him its prestigious fellowship (FRPS). No other photographic monthly of the time contained the word 'art' in its title or was so adamant in its support of manipulative imagery. believing it would endear him to his readers. in some cases. Fletcher and Max Thorek competed. and a heartier friendship formed. He was particularly taken with the paintings of James A.64 Consequently. h. art. As he had done in Camera Craft. class to the regular competiti~'n to encourage even the most inexperienged to enter. Aware that amateurs comprised the largest class of American photographers. 'Perhaps we have arrived at something better'. the same year. lower. remains immut­ able' . Imogen Cunningham. 'Now the pleasure of taking pictures lies in perpetuating a temporary enjoyment into a lasting joy' . he came to appre­ ciate the fellowship that such groups provided. Photographic Society of San Francisco. the only record of many small groups. Chicago. 'There are those who detest the singular first person 'I' when used by other than themselves'. he admitted in 1940. Blumann made sure that Photo Art Monthly appealed to them in ways other than the competition. and good taste were God given and not arbitrary. and Western Amateur Camera Conclave. about whom he . as 'the time is nearing when every college will not only make photography an accredited course bllt will insist on it as an essential to matriculation in those courses' . 'It has been the contention of this editor that a more intimate relationship is established. coming direct fi'om the Creator. He editorialized on the advantages of learning how to make good pictures at an early age and on the medium's use to nearly every profession.934 and 1940 Blumann himself showed up frequently in the event listing for California clubs. in either the amateur or advanced class. judged competitions. a better time is had. Leica Club of Oakland.67 He recommended that every school establish a complete photography department. he heartily welcomed all visitors to discuss issues photographic and otherwise. and technique. from readers both domestic and foreign. to its readers' . Anyone could submit pictures.65 Shortly thereafter. San Jose.6(. He celebrated his own lowly status as an amateur with his series of articles. There. Ruzicka. Blumann continued to popularize photography by supporting photographic 72 education in high schools and colleges. Blumann admitted he had com­ pletely given up making artistic. 'True art and real merit live through the ages and their basis remains the same'. In 1935 he predicted a growing demand for photography teachers. By the late 1930s. 'Hallelujah! I'm a Snapshot Shooter'. 'Beauty. Blumann maintained his faith in the camera club as a wellspring of photographic activity. due to his standing as one of the region's senior figures.:ois Millet as the type of work that followed these precepts and could inspire pictorialists. he wrote in 1934. In the magazine. 1936. A year later. however. maintaining an open door policy at the Monadnock Building. when a magazine boldly puts aside mock modesty and bravely talks. Blumann continued to claim that the laws of art. ]. where the competition was much stiffer. in. 'The clubs have given me many a happy evening'. Dorothea Lange. Golden Gate Miniature Camera Club. and presided over annual dinners. He ran a monthly column in the magazine listing camera club events and personnel. he was happy to report that he had received numerous letters supporting his personal tone in the magazine. To ensure that every taste was represented. and Newark were among those that recognized him. He attended gatherings at the California Camera Club. he turned the judging over to a wide range of photographers. asserting that he was happy making casual snapshots.Christian A. creating. East Bay Camera Club. he began to soften his attitude about the social value of camera clubs. complete with review questions at the end of each instalment.e gave lectures such as 'Some Unusual Pictorial Effects'. Blumann also ran a competition in the magazine solely for members of school camera clubs and. and. he usually wrote in the first person. They are more precious than all my cameras and lenses' . Blumann ran monthly picture competitions in Photo Art lVionthly as a way of democratizing the magazine. recog­ nition as photographers in the magazine's competitions.

Four years later he wrote a long lead article on Japanese photography in which he praised the Japanese as indi­ viduals as well as pictorialists. Edward Weston.lms. not a person. and Arthur F. who was lucky enough to get one picture in the magazine.72 He considered such workers 'misguided dillentanti'. This required creative photo­ graphers to 'trick' the public into seeing the medium as an art. and befriended them. travel. California's substantial Japanese population produced many talented photographers. Blumann slightly moder­ ated his anti-purist stance toward photography. stating that 'most of what passes for this perverted art strikes me as the screaming of maniacs' . which means full of life. who received substantial coverage in the competing Camera Craji.70 Blumann persisted in defending a photographer's right to manipulate his or her imagery. He indicated that his main objection to the purist school was its claim that only straight photography could be art.Sigismund Blumann. A number of items accurately entered on a. vvhich. his own magazine would use in a few years. In 1934 he explained the Japanese philosophy that life was integral to art. Ultimately.lowed Willard Van Dyke.74 By the late 1930s. As earlier. As he aged. he indicated that Holden. was among the artists who judged the monthly competitions in Photo Art Monthly. emotionally. 'Under stress we arc becoming neurotic as a race. Kaufmann. was occasionally mentioned in passing by Blumann in Photo Art Monthly. a member of Group f. was fond of them. partner in the leading Chicago 73 . and even eating. rarely reproduced it in Photo Art Monthly. senti­ ment and marital spirit. and he defmed appropriate terms such as Se-do. And he still disliked the paintings of Cezanne. 'Cheating the Beholder'. Blumann. In it.64. patterns. They are emotional for all their outer stoicism'. when he wrote a glowing article for Camera Craft on Hiromu Kira. 'Let us live with discreet leisure lest we die speedily'. He considered the Japanese natural-born pictorialists and found Kira's images particularly poetic. They have mood and inspirations. frequently editori­ alizing on the subject in Photo Art Monthly. In addition. He included isolated articles from members of the field. for 'the end justifIes the means and a good picture covers a multitude of sins'. Kales. Goya. He thought they outperfonned most American pictorialists both technica. Korth and Will Connell. who used diag­ onals. to judge his magazine's month. and called Ansel Adams. and claimed he personally had over 100 cloud negatives for printing the skies in his own photographs. He occasionally reviewed or pre­ viewed professional conventions. 'they have never allowed formula to interfere with inspiration. hopes and discouragements. and get a record. 'between extremes lies the happy mean' . and Charles D. running portrait studios or doing commercial work.lly and aesthetically.73 He objected both to the billboards popping up on Bay Area bridges and to such modernist tendencies in advertising as bleed images. revered for his bromoil prints and transfers. planes. In 1936 he wrote about the straight worker: 'You shoot at a scene with the aperture small. however. about" the same as a page from a Sears and Roebl. He wrote a long article titled. ironically. whose murals were prominent in Bay Area buildings. Many of the Japanese-Americans worked as profes­ sional photographers.71 He wrote articles on manipulative procedures such as intensifIcation.sheet of glistening paper. print on glossy. He al. and Victor Yamakawa. He observed that most people thought photographs were made by a machine. he futilely continued to editorialize against the growing speed of automobiles. such as those of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley association in 1937 and the Photographers' Association of America a few years later. develop for detail. In Photo Art Monthly Blumann wrote about both Japanese art and Japanese pictorialism. Max Thorek. he ran illustrated lead articles on pictorialists like Leonard Misonne.ly modest attention to professional photography as a whole in Photo Art Monthly. N. he wrote. and elevated viewpoints in their advanced images. He noted that the debate between purists and what he called 'idealists' had softened and that the visibility of Group f.\ck catalog'.. and predicted it would soon pass as a fad. Matsumoto. Blumann's anti-modernist feelings toward photography reflected his traditional attitude toward the other arts and life in general. in which he claimed there was no such thing as cheating in the fme arts. We are racing to our disintegration'. Blumann expressed his desire that photographers and artists interact more and concluded his article: 'May our efforts to interest the outstanding artists in photography succeed in reciprocally interesting our photographic readers in art. Consistent with Blumann's support of manipulated imagery was his continued disdain for straight photo­ graphy as an art form. He found purist photography cold and crass. fI.64 had diminished. known for his oil prints. claiming. lenses. Editor and Photographer wrote an article in 1935. reduction. It is a graphic catalog of units. for in his words. however. Blumann claimed he under­ stood them. a 'travelogeur'. but not a single article or illustration by him appeared in the magazine. the powerful executive secre­ tary of the Photographers' Association of America. such as Charles Abel. and texture screens.75 Most indicative of Blumann's openness to modernism in photography was his appreciation ofJapanese-American pictorialism. But by 1938 he admitted he sensed emotion in the work of such straight photographers as Fred G. nor law to harden inspiration into mechanics. and 'Sewereelism'. It affects one.76 Blumann illustrated the article with work by such practitioners as Kira. devoted on. by performing extensive hand work in their images. acknowledged for his paper negative work. Blumann began promoting their work as early as 1928.ly competition and he promoted a catholic taste that accommodated the work of both the 'Needle Sharpers' and the 'Fuzzy Wuzzies'. Blumann preferred the middle ground. the leading Japanese-American pictor­ ialist.

At The December 1937 issue of the magazine announced one point. Three years later he became bolder in sug­ advertising images by John F. According to Herrington. landscapes by Leonard ted to the notion of constructive criticism in Photo Art Misonne. colour cameras. His plan was to present twenty-four two­ grapher Fritz Henle contributed an article on how he week shows a year. Blumann noted move. he. One Milwaukee. While such as Max Thorek. Many issues of the magazine led off first step in the upward course that leads to being a with an illustrated article on a salon . such as in 1934 when three women wrote to print finishing. Included were portrait photo­ meters. quality results. From the beginning. them. preferring encouragement and positive remarks. a lens shades. 200 enthusiastic people magazine alone. pointing out that most exhibitions rome' (distinct from his pastelograph). and entrance fees. four meters to photographic paper. There were so many extra viewfinders. claiming that it often Francisco photographer Fred S. He occasionally to make a picture with the camera. modernist improved. plus two separate ones on technique. contagion and he is a pestilence'. 1939 he contributed detailed instructions on the 'pastelob­ Blumann disagreed. and wall panels for the photo­ home-made equipment. and unlike his predecessors. some photographers complained there were too many and Emil Mayer. showing neutral-coloured walls and curtains. Newberg. and ancillary objects like port­ graphs by Pirie MacDonald. ment than was part of a large-format camera outfit. who essayed the bromoil process.in his own space lenses in its monthly department. however. enlarging focusers. the mastery of technique. and under his own control. gesting improvements when he started showing alternative and others whose layouts were analysed. Peterson fIrm of Kaufmann and Fabry. and put factory people out of work. He ran a their addresses.mini salons . He is to be shunned as a graphic processes and equipment. Dufacolor. late in the life of the magazine. Blumann also covered the great strides the salons by regularly listing upcoming venues. pictorialist is.he continued proliferation of gadgets for the Julian Levy Gallery. In 1937 the magazine tion winners. however. He also ran articles by other experts. rather than professionals. he provided instructions on how to make attended the opening reception for the first show. who wrote on the paper negative. and Princeton. Herrington indicated that the show 74 . travel photo­ years earlier. as well as those devoted solely must be able to make a photograph before one can hope to employees of Kodak or users of Leicas. About th. Herrington. It included did not save the photographer money.e same time. was not trying to sell other attachments for the miniature camera that many photographs. still lifes by Christine B. Philip folios and albums. into larger quarters in the Monadnock Building. silk uphol­ Inexplicably. Collins. preceded in the USA only by Alfred Stieglitz's the end of the mania over high speed film for such '291' gallery. he also supported gum-bichromate. amateurs and pictorialists. flowers. This was a revolutionary Japan and China. For the most croppings and tonalities to pictures in a department he part. nudes by Buck Hoy. Blumann remained commit­ Fletcher and Hiromu Kira. He takes away all magazme. Blumann focused on the concerns of called the 'Critigraph'. In salons. In October 1937 Blumann moved the offices of Photo full-colour frontispiece in early 1937 and subsequently included articles on dye-coupler prints. Photo Art Monthly ran its share of copy on photo­ joy and brings discouragement. Edward Steichen. a method he had an oversupply of entries. Blumann advised against the common practice the gallery to its readers with a long lead article by San of making one's own equipment. and cameras and t. In 1937. featuring the best camera club. from light envisioned since the beginning of the magazine. In 1935 he declared: 'The ant to pictorialists. fire extinguishers. only recently opened.Christian A. used the 35 mm camera. deadlines. 'Goods and Markets'. yet he kept the gallery's doors open during photographers spent more money on their accessories the magazine's long business hours (six days a week) to than the camera itself and ended up totting more equip­ reach as large an audience as possible. pointing out the strengths of each picture included a long article on the art of commercial pho­ and sometimes hinting at how it might have been tography. filters. and Max Thorek. devised of making a bromide print simulate the look of a Throughout the run of the magazine. illustrated with his pictures of and individual work available. In the last three years of the graphs. other contributions by pictorialists Edward Monthly. and Art Monthly up three floors. salon. alternative accounts of the fourth San Diego salon. did not yield views of the two rooms that comprised the gallery. He now had sufficient room to an Agfa process. in the he still believed that 'the critic who finds only the faults and enlarges upon them is destructive. ran articles on all kinds of stered benches. proving sufficient interest. with made in colour photography during the 1930s. one of which photographic salons because they continued to be import­ answered readers' questions. which had closed twenty years earlier. Blumann. nonetheless. something he claimed he had but touched on every kind of equipment. Photo Art Monthly covered primarily new cameras and present exhibitions . and a small pastoral by In 1934 he began writing short critiques of the competi­ Blumann himself. making it hard for them to submit to all of them. Yet.in San Francisco. As a photographic critic. light sprawling group exhibition. Alenius and Nowell Ward. illustrated with dramatically lit. from exposure opinions.78 Blumann ran reviews in Photo Art Monthly of the Blumann devoted a regular column to new apparatus.77 He wrote articles included more than one review to provide differing on every step of the photographic process. of course.

The Photo­ graphic Handbook went into a second edition. and Kodak salons. wrote his own. thus. the rights for which he apparently retrieved from the Camera Craft Publishing Company. lenses. who was inspired to write by pictures she saw in the magazine. Potter's 'The Souls of Men'. God. the year he presented one-person shows by Fred R. in fact.Sigismund Blumann. Indianapolis. Writing in the same issue of the magazine. Franke Unger] feel that life holds something more than the chase for profits and they find full repayment for effort and money spent in the satisfac­ tion of having done something that is above criticism and cannot be subject to impugnments of any sort. the business that put out the magazine. China. Photo Art Publisher issued his Enlarging Manual in june 1936 as a practical guide for photographers who wished to make more than contact prints. Photo Art Publisher. Archer. two areas of particular interest to him. In 1938 he presented. in which he lovingly predicted dying in his wife's arms. 'To My Wife'. Blumann ran poems in Photo Art Monthly throughout the life of the magazine. reporting after a few months that they were receiving 30 to 50 visitors a day. the magazine ceased news of the gallery in 1940. This was essentially a revised edition of his only previous book. he included poems by Bert Leach. the only ones they published. Vera. Editor and Photographer featured about 100 prints (the gallery's limit) by photo­ graphers from Scotland. such as Rowland S. with an elaborately designed border and a photographic illustration by her husband. among other things. was his most successful title. and Mt Ranier. and San Diego.its 'Print Service'. Blumann claimed that he loved beauty in every form. Blumann asserted. the Rolleiflex. In late 1935. would have poetry in any magazine he edited. and. Inexplicably. and easels. at which time he claimed the book had sold over 60. This is your gallery'. and a one-person exhibition by local pictorialist Christine B. 'there is no educational factor in art so potent as a collection of pictures. and. and in appearance. Like the magazine's gaUery. Photographic Workroom Handbook. suggesting that Blumann's bold foray into organizing exhibitions lasted only two years. Misonne. signalling his sustained energy and enthusiasm for photography. at no extra charge. japan. The two hardcover books were similar in content. the first book from Photo Art Publisher. Fletcher. and procedures like focusing. and Thorek. No records of Blumann's print service exist to indicate how much it was used. including one in 1936 from prominent portrait photographer Pirie MacDonald. On occasion. when he gave Lucile Le Sage's 'A Paint Brush to a Violin' two full pages. He featured the work of other poets. though some must have occurred. Blumann's primary objective was to expose people to fllle photo­ graphy. Blumann issued his Photographic Handbook.is was an excellent opportunity for art lovers to buy original photographs from the world's leading pictorialists. In one of its first promotions. this service put individuals in touch with photographers whose work they wished to acquire. but claimed that he received many more that were supportive. Th. The next month. 81 In 1936. Blumann received orders for it as late as 1944. measured a handy 6} x 5 inches. and during the run of Photo Art Monthly he wrote four books on photographic tech­ nique. measuring S-} x 5-} inches. There is no greater pleasure than in owning a little salon of your own'. illustrated with photographs of it in production. in combination with its predecessor. YOllth. sometimes under Latin titles. One was on enlarging and the other on photographic holiday cards. His first editorial. Photo Art Monthly made no mention of sales at the gallery. Dovel Le Sage. 80 On their own. but few members of the general public are known to have actively collected creative photographs. and always included one or more in his montWy editorial. He even ran the text of a few plays. issued all four books. Belgium.7~ I3lumann covered the gallery's exhibitions in the montWy camera club column of Photo Art Monthly. W. dodging. his daughter. detailing a multitude of darkroom procedures. plus group exhibitions of camera club work from Chicago. The book ran to 76 pages. as was evident in another activity of the maga­ zine . Probably the only thing Blumann did not personally attend to was their printing. and the United States. and devel­ opment. assuring that the author had complete control over the content. In it Blumann covered apparatus such as negative carriers. Attendance climbed to an impressive 200 people per day in 1939. He received occasional letters objecting to their inclusion in Photo Art Monthly. knowing that his own Home Press was too small for the job. just as he had done in Camera Craji. Begun early in the life of the magazine. who worked without a camera. he created special layouts for poetry. and feel of his books. such as the abstract and modern pictures of Paul Greve. Blumann wrote verse on topics such as childhood. at age 64. This business comprised only Blumann and Unger. Blumann was a prolifIc writer who refused to limit himself to magazine articles. such as in August 1936. India. working in numerous processes and representing schools from classic to romantic. Agfa. Blumann wrote two totally new books. and one Ethel johnson. Blumann indicated that his motives for opening the gallery were selfless and inclusive: 'The reason for its being is that two persons [he and his assistant. and he stopped offering it after about six months. Over the next few years. He even included prints by photographers he did not personally appreciate. Adolf Fassbender. his concept of collecting photographs was ahead of its time. many pictorialists exchanged photographs with one another to build significant collections. ended with the poem. and featured 75 .000 copies. look. which appeared in two consecutive issues. He also included a formulary and advertisements for products he presumably approved of.

appeared in 1939 and represented his return to pure technique. embossing. He also explained a variety of techniques to further customize each card. Photo Art Publisher released Photographic Greetings: How to Make Them. Peterson a textured cover that was plasticized to protect it in the darkroom. not soft like full-size. Jordan. this was an altruistic stance. he mentioned it as little as possible. discussing and illustrating a multi­ tude of custom cards photographers could make them­ selves. anniversaries. The book was an exhaustive handbook on every type of toning process the author knew about. He also called them 'Standard and Classic'. Photo Art Monthly did not sell books other than its own. birth announcements. In it he detailed numerous blue. green. Later the same year. however. Blumann's most intriguing book. not so modestly. Fletcher. Though the material was highly technical. Written by an accepted authority in a way to make them serve best'. but many other holidays and occasions "vere also covered: New Year. Because he was an optimist and the United States was not yet involved. borders. Something truly from you. Gustav Anderson. went beyond pure technique. however. Nevertheless. pigment toning. They should be personal and individual­ ized as no factory could make them. The Second World War began overseas in the last years of Photo Art Monthly. and pushed them in display ads.. . Cover of Toning Processes. But Blumann thought this was unfair competition with photo supply stores and he regularly directed readers to purchase the titles they wanted there. Thanks­ giving. Toning Processes (figure 15). Easter. engagements. did not meet with popular success. plus selen­ ium and sepia. however. Writing to his son-in-law in 1944. which listed titles by Ansel Adams. bon voy­ ages. bevelling. where the author wished it to be used. In a September 1940 ad he declared. He ran full page advertisements for the 'Photo Art Library'. Ivan Dmitri. your hands. not selling out even its fIrst printing of 10 000 ~opies. He reviewed them as they 76 Figure 15. 'These are not just books but Photo Art books. offering the books singly or as a group. mechanical toning. B1umann noted in the book's preface that although manufactured photographic cards were available he believed that home-made cards were much preferable: 'They are intended to carry to the recipient a sense of having had worked into them an affection that made labor a pleasure. Photo. a full page with the heading.82 The book was issued in time to encourage readers to make Christmas cards. unfortunately. running in 1937. and mother's and father's days. warm toning. Its cover. Blumann':s fmal book. Blumann. red. and others. multiple toning. your skill. for instance. In every case. deckle-edges. promoted his own books in the pages of Photo Art Monthly. naturally. unlike all his others. double toning. he illustrated the book with pictures by pictorialists Edward Alenius. and Franklin I. the goal of all his writing. He reviewed and promoted books by others as well. Unlike other American magazines. packed into a concise eighty-eight pages. Camera Craft. to those whom you hold in affectionate remembrance. were issued.Christian II. featuring a black triangle in one corner and its publisher's logo in another. one-solution toning. These images were combined with printed type and borders to make pleasing graphic designs. Nicholas Boris. completing a handy set of three little darkroom handbooks. Blumann indicated that the book ha9 'flopped'.md brown toners. This title. as well as bleach toning. exhibition prints. and Christian B. . sometimes listed them again in the book section. as an extra source of income. a world condition Blumann could not entirely ignore in the magazine. He covered a multitude of metallic formulae. and others offered virtually every photo­ graphic title available. birthdays. The book matched the two previous books in size and format. he responded to the suggestion that his books were underpriced at 75 cents each by saying he was not in photography for profit and that all revenues from his book sales remained in the business. 'You Should Read These Photographic Books'. San Francisco.?raphic Greetings. Blumann wrote the text and formulae so it was accessible to the average photo­ grapher. In 1936. American Photoj?raphy. was graphically the strong­ est. 1939. Blumann recommended designing a card and affixing a small photographic print of an appropriate subject. salt toning. your feeling. including cut-outs. Photo Arc Publisher. Given the economic conditions of the 1930s. Because the pictures were necessarily small he asserted that the images should be sharp and crisp. and ribbon-tying.

In December 1943. Blumann pursued other hobbies and helped run the Davis Street house in Oakland. experienced love. he promoted art and photography as a means of retaining world peace. He acknowledged his own mortality in Photo Art Monthly in 1936. In late 1940. factor was the war. and he gave numerous formulae and instructions for their use. writing editorials such as 'Reminiscing'. nIumann posited that most black-and-white photographs could be improved by toning. He wrote a lead editorial early that year about the recent passing of three of his close friends in photography. The family drove regularly to Golden Gate Park for picnics and to movie theatres for double-bills. preferring to editorial­ ize on it occasionally. who never married or moved away. On 22 November. Photo Art J\![onthly. though. survive in sufficiency to offer some­ thing to start with and build upon when sanity once again returns to earth. 'Color Moods for Your Photographs'. Blumann's grandson. she was virtually running the maga­ zine 85 The second. equally significant. such as the important photographers J. for he had given to others. about his continued escapades in the darkroom. As the war expanded. Blumann discouraged fear and promoted faith in the forces of good. Blumann acquiesced to the end of Photo Art Monthly . The last issue of Phoio Art Monthly appeared 111 November 1940. avoiding the simultaneous death of the maga­ zine and its editor. to occupy his off-duty hours and divert him from 'evil influences'. In fact.landscapes and 'Winter at the Station' (see figure 12). High. in which he said he would happily trade his memories for youth. Its contents were typical: articles by pictorialists such as Bernard G. Blumann's editorial gave no indication this was the magazine's last issue. his right-hand woman at the magazine.his final publishing project and the one most closely associated with his name today. both beyond A couple of important factors Blumann's control . William A. In 1944 Blumann professed to his son-in-law that 'doing nothing is not a Blumann guality'. Blumann performed many of the household chores. reproductions of competition winners. as Unger later recounted that he was ill at the time and that. equipment. Thomas W.. Since his daughters worked and Mrs Blumann was not well. as a consequence. Photo Art J\![onthly died before Blumann. and how to meet old friends of his in England. Dudley Johnston and Alexander Keighley. The magazine reproduced four of his classic photographs . In it. he lost Unger. Popular Science published his last known article. Blumann could have written this concise four-page article at almost any time during his thirty-year career. he more regularly responded to the conflict in Europe. If Blumann had sti]] been publishing Photo Art Monthly in December 1941. however. 'and our only hope is that the Brotherhood of Art may. and was interested in young people. reportedly even doing the ironing. with the November 1940 issue. Blumann told his son-in-law about his reworking old negatives to make pictorial photographs. salons.Sigismund Blumann. Blumann found it increasingly diffIcult to communicate with individuals from such countries as England and Austria and it became unpalatable to advertise products from German companies like Agfa and Leica. he wrote frequently to his son-in-law. The same year he wrote another editorial in which he claimed that when he died. 86 High. Fortunately. 'The Brotherhood of Man is vvoefully forgotten'. stating: 'Due to existing conditions. but primarily on a personal level. Silber­ stein. recalls playing rummy with his grandfather and 77 . he was a bit more reflective. but the magazine ceased before the United States was drawn into the war. and pointed out that subscription refunds were enclosed. Given these personnel and financial challenges. Blumann knew that both he and his magazine would not live forever. 1940. poems. when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. During the Second World War. sent out a form letter to subscribers. noting that he was older than all of them. Blumann was either overwhelmed or incapable of replacing her. High.83 He suggested that people use their cameras to stay cheerful and that every soldier be issued one. and books. and regular columns on camera clubs. until further notice' 84 She expressed thanks to subscribers. with our assistance. As Thomas W. when he expressed his sadness over the rude treatment of some Japanese­ Americans. although it is not known whether he attended any meetings. such as in 1938. Photo Art Publisher has suspended publication of the magazine. In 1939. Blumann continued to receive newsletters from at least three Bay Area camera clubs. about his interest in new photographic plasticizers and detergents. suggesting the timelessness of his contributions to photography. First of all. many of the contributors and advertisers for the magazine were European. Blumann's assistant. she left San Francisco to live in New York with her new husband. he may have sobered up to the harsh realities of the situation. Editor and Photographer He ran no articles on the situation. suggesting that circumstances had changed quickly. where he sti]] lived with his wife and two of his four daughters. about halfway through its run. indicated that copies of Dlumann's books were still available.87 In addition to staying active in his darkroom. a not uncommon occurrence in pu blishing.contributed to the demise of Photo Art Monthly. In addition. Rather naively. its 85th instalment. Franke Unger. About the time of her November letter. In his last editorials. High pointed out to me. a technical piece by Blumann. appro­ priately enough. was serving as a military photographer and Blumann's letters sometimes supplied technical infor­ mation that High had requested. Last Years Blumann remained interested in photography after closing down Photo Art Monthly in 1940. pictorialist Adolf Fassbender. he would still be young at heart. he wrote.

'Cllib Notes: Mortensen Salon Studies Portfolio'. Sigismund Blumann. at age 84. 'Laboratory Work in Photography'. Sigismund Blumann. 'The Nude in Photography'. 'Sigismund (Simon) Blumann'. 503. [Sigismllnd Blumann]. Oakland: Blumann and Tillmany. [Sigismllnd Bilimann]. Wilsall's Photographic Magazine 51 (November 1914). Sigismund Blumann. 1956. 38. Camera Craft 39 (Jllne 1932). 122. 603. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Nude in Photography'. Camera Craft 39 (June 1932). 254.l Fine Art'. 4. 'Photography'. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Contamination of Taste'. 89.ct. Photo-Era 49 (September 1922). Camera Craft 40 (August 1933). 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Amenities of Literature'. Camera Craft 40 (May 1933). Photo Art l\!lOllthly 1 (December 1933). Camera Craft 40 (May 1933). Sigismund Blumann.Camera 47 (September 1933). 'Photography for a Living'. 22. 34. Camera Craft 23 (September 1916). Camera Craft 38 (January 1931). 124-25. 29. Camera Craft 40 (September 1933). Camera Cra/i 33 (April 1926). 'Poetry and Photography'. 19. kindly supplied this information and many other personal facts abollt Blumann in an interview with the author. ISigismllnd l3lumann]. [Sigismund Blumann]' 'Under the Editor's LImp: The Editor'. [Sigismund Blumann]. 57. Camera Cra/i 39 (September 1932). 'Club Notes: The Blumann One Man Collection'. 238. 181. 469-75.550-52. John A. 43. 'News and Notes'. 39. 78 . Photo Art MOllthly 1 (November 1933). ISigismllnd Bilimann]. 'Pictorial Devices'. 478. 'From the Editor's Sanctllm'. Photo-Era 47 (August 1921). Photo-Era 34 (January 1915). [Sigismund Bilimann]. Camera Craft 34 (July 1927). Notes 1. 249. Camera Craft 22 11. Ibid. 138. 'The San Francisco Salon'. 88 Indeed. 63. Camera Craft 33 (March 1926). 125. Sigismllnd Blumann. Camera Craft 34 (September 1927). His passing was briefly noted by a few photographic magazines. 39. 12. [Sigismund Blumann]. Thomas W. and pictorial. [Sigismund Bllimann]. 26. Photo-Era 33 (September 1914). 65. 58. and in his biographical manuscript. Camera Craft 37 (July 1930). 24. 8. [Sigismund Bilimannl. 'Laws of Art Versus Individual Taste'. 225. 50. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Amenities of Literature'. 192. 14. 39. Sigismllnd Blumann. Sigismund Blumann. 'Photography .Not Pictorial'. Sigismllnd Blumann. Camera Craft 39 (December 1932). Sigismllnd Bllimann. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Importance of Technic'. 431. 5. 61. 23. Photo-Era 41 (October 1918). 20. 345. 'A Proposed Injustice'. 53. Camera Craft 36 (January 1929). [Sigismund B1umann].64 Group Exhibition'. 35. Hilton F. High's copy of this article has Blumann's handwritten note that he was. Helpflll Criticism'. James D. Sigismund Blumann. 44. Sigismllnd Blumann. Sigismund Blumann. 59. 'From the Editor's Sanctum'. 2. 'From the Editor's Sanctum: How Many Salons are Sufficient". On 8 July. 342. [Sigismllnd Blumann]. [Sigismund Blumann]. 48. Sigismund Blumann. 82. High.313. 'Constructive. 42. 9. 'Organizing a Camera Club'. Camera Craft 24 (April 1917). 112. 195. 27. Peterson noted his ever-present pipe.professional. [Sigismund Bllimann]. 6. 35. Photo Era 36 (February 1916). 366. a fixture of Blumann's image throughout his life. 'The f. Photo Art Momhly 1 (November 1933). ISigismund Blumann]. Photo Art l\!lomhly 1 (November 1933). 'The Amateur Photographer'. 55. Photo­ Era 54 (January 1925). 'Hobbies'. [Sigismund l3!umannl. 72. and photographs: James Bogin. 'Club Notes: Join a Cllib or Start One'. when he played a key role in both shaping and documenting the foment of American photography in all its guises . Camera CraJi 40 (February 1933). 29.270. [Sigismund Blumann]. [Sigismund Bllimann]. 17. 394. Camera Craft 37 (April 1930). Camera Craft 21 (October 1914). 52. 496. 355. 'PacifiC International Photographers' Association'. Camera Craft 40 (June 1933). 142 and 144. [Sigismund Blumann]. 31. [Sigismllnd Blumann]' 'Under the Editor's Lamp'. 30. [Sigismllnd Blumann]. 33. and Peter E. 28. 13. 60. 18. 'Ollr Monthly Competition'. 1910. 3. amateur. Camera Craft 37 (Jllly 1930). 39. 199. 'The Wisdom ofBazibazook'. llnpaginated. 51. 21. Camera Crqft 37 (July 1930). At Home Portraiture. 'It is Good to be a Photographic Editor'. 56. 200. 40. Tennant. Ibid. Sigismund Blumann. 345. Photo Art Monthly 7 (March 1939). [Sigismund Blumann]. Palmquist. 'Pictorial Photography: National and Local Characteristics'. 64. Blumann's time was the 1920s and '30s.lnn. 352. Burgiss [Sigismund Blumann]. Michael P. but his influence had clearly waned. Camera Craft 32 (December 1925). Sigismund Blumann. Camera Craft 21 (November 1914). [Sigismund Blumannl. 45. while his birth certificate lists 14 September. 25. 474. Sigismund Blumann. Sigismund Blumann. Camera Craft 25 (Augllst 1918). 2000. 15. 54. Camera Craft 38 (March 1931). 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The New Year'. Photo-Era 49 (October 1922). 216. 16. 'Constructive. 'Pictorial Devices'. 10. 523. 'Photography . Photo Arr Momhly 2 (February 1934). Sigismund BlllID. Acknowledgements I wish to thank the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the following individuals for providing information. Sigismund l3!umann. Edward Weston. 99. Photo-Era 40 (May 1918). Sigismllnd Blumann. Camera Craft 39 (November 1932). 'Is There a Place Left for Straight Photography". Nancy and Thomas W. Photo-Era 33 (September 1914). Sigismund Blumann. in [. its author. 'Prints of the Year'. c. 'Doctor Percy Neymann and His Critic'. 'Scorching the Royal Photographic Sociery'. 'The Human Form in Photography'. [Sigismund Blumann]. 213. Helpful Criticism'. 18. Merle Bogin. 'Nancy Ford Cones: The Work and Personality of a Remarkable Woman'. Camera Craft 40 (March 1933). 62. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: Art and the Camera'. Sigismund Blumann. Gollin. Camera Craft 22 (October 1915. Photo Art MOllthly 5 (October 1937). 'Under the Editor's Lamp: The Ubiquitous Nude'. assistance. 5. 32. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: Are Ideas Bunk" Camera Craft 38 (October 1931). 391. Camera Craft 20 (May 1913). Blumann's death certificate lists 13 Septembet as his birth date. Ibid. 'Photography for its Own Sake'. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: How Bad Are These Times". Sigismund Blumann. 'Home Sensitizers and Their Application'. 299. 495-502. 'A New Plan for Salon Hangings'. 'The July Exhibition of the Camera Cilib of New York'. 333. 'From the Editor's Sanctum'. 247. Sigismund Blumann. Camera Craft 24 (July 1917). 'Under the Editor's Lamp: What is this Modern". 134. Sigismund Blumann. [Sigismund B1umann]. [Sigismllnd Blumann]. 46. 49. 'Under the Editor's Lamp: And Now YOli Must Organize to Have a Voice'. 17 January. American Amlllal oJ Photography 1922. 41. Camera Craft 34 (April 1927). 188. 15. Photo Arr Momhly 1 (November 1933). 120. Amy Rule. Sigismund Blumann. 63. Donald Lappe. Thomas W. Camera Craft 38 (October 1931). 435. Blumann's grandson. Mattis. Tom Jacobson. [Sigismllnd Bilimann]. Sigismund Blumann died of heart failure in his home. Ibid. 37. 'Our Monthly Competition'.Christian A. Camera Craft 40 (August 1933). 'Are We Too High-Brow". High. 36. Camera Craft 33 (September 1926). Blumann and Tillmany. 'From the Editor's Sanctum'. ISigismund Bilimann]. 47. 190. 7. 'From the Editor's Sanctum'. 149.

Arizona.chive. Photo Art ivlonthly 2 (June 1934). Brief obituaries for Blumann appeared in PSA journ.. fSigislllund Blumann]. 1944. Painter'. 80.. letter. Photo Art Momilly 8 (July 1940). 87. unp"ginned prefrlCe. 83. Sigismund Blutllann. 81. [Sigisrnund Blumannj. 'From the Editor's Sanctum: Surrealism and D"da'. courtesy of Tholllas W. 1944. 84.412. 322. I am grateful to Thomas W. Ph"". [Sigismund Bl um. and Pr~fe"". High for providing selected copies of these letters. High. Sigislllund B1um. 88. 401 and 402. 22 November. 370. "dvertisillg page. ArllVlollthly 3 (August 1935). 369. 69. Sigismund Blnm. 1940. [Sigismund Blum"nn!. 'From the Editor's Sanctum'.. 'From the Ediror's Sanctum: In These Troubled Times'. Photo Art IVlonthly 8 (July 1940). 79. 401. 71." Diego Saloll'.mn. Sigismund Billmann.Sigismund Blumann. 82. 324. Phot" Art Monthly 5 (December 1937)."'lQf Phot. 278. taped convers"tion with James Bastinck. Pholo)!mph. Pholo Art Monlhly 3 (July 1935). 67. 77. High.. SigislTlund Blum"nn to William A. 'Camera Club Jottings'. Adolf F"ssbender ". 15 July.ogmphcr 83 (December 1956). 'From the Editor's Sanctutll: Attitudes Towards Photography'. 'James A. 'Under the Editor's Sanctum: Photographic Teachers.504. Fr"nke F"ssbender [Unger].1987. [Sigismund Blunl"nnj. 85. Edilor and Pholographer 66. 79 . 32. 73. 43. [Sigistllund Blumann]' 'The Wisdom of Bazibazook'."".1phic supply Store in New York. Courtesy of Thomas W. 'From the Editor's Sanctum: What I Have Gained from Clubs'. [Sigislllllnd Blununnl. 74. Photo Arl MOllthly 6 (August 1938). 76. 228.1 photogr. S'\I1 Francisco: Photo Art Publisher 1936. Center for Creative Photography. 72. High. (. Pholo Art MOlltilly 4 (June 1936). fSigismund Blum"nnl. Photo Art Monthly 5 (July 1937). Sometirne after I'holo Art MOrltilly ce"sed public"tion. . Pholo Art Monthly 6 (October 1938). [Sigismund Blummn]' 'FrOln the Editor's S"ncrum: Taste Versus Judgement'. 'From the Editor's Sanctum: Learning Pictorial Photography'. Photo Art MOrlth!y 3 (May 1935). Tucson. Photo Art Monthly 7 (June 1939). 70. 68. [Sigismund Blumannj.1phy'. PJwto Art l"IOlllhly 8 (April 1940). High. 78. 'Japanese in Photogr. 15 December.293. Photo Art MOrltilly 6 (Janllary 1938). 255."uary 1934). 75. 86. 'Print Service Department'. Pholo Art Monthly 2 (J.! 22 (September 1956). 'FrOIll the Editor's S"ncrum'. [Sigismllnd Blumannj.1nn]. Holden. Franke Unger. 171. Sigismllnd Blumann to Wilh""1 A. Sigismulld Blumanll. 350. 617. Blurnann sold the relmining copies of all his books to Willoughby's. 18.( Greetillgs: HOl/! 10 M"ke Them. 'The Fourth Annual S. Phoio Arl Monthly 6 (August 1938). 'Cheating the Beholder'. Are You Ready".

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