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October 1, 2009

Photographer F. Holland Day Is Subject of Book Discussion “Through an Uncommon Lens,” Documents Day’s Life and Career

Patricia J. Fanning, associate professor and chairperson of the Department of Sociology at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, has written a biography of famed photographer F. Holland Day (1864-1933). The book, "Through an Uncommon Lens: The Life and Photography of F. Holland Day," is published by the University of Massachusetts Press. It is the first biography of Day in more than 25 years and includes substantial new material.

Fanning will present an illustrated discussion of her work at the Library on Thursday, Oct. 29, at noon in Dining Room A of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing by the author following the program.

This event is co-sponsored by the Prints and Photographs Division and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress as part of its Books & Beyond series of author presentations.

Much of the research for Fanning’s book was completed at the Library of Congress, including use of collections in the Manuscript, Rare Book and Special Collections and Prints and Photographs divisions. Many of these collections were deposited at the Library by Day himself.

A fascinating and colorful figure and an extraordinary artist, Day was a bibliophile, publisher and photographer. He assembled one of the largest collections in the world of materials relating to the life and work of John Keats and in 1894 traveled to England to dedicate the first-ever memorial to the poet. The audience for the dedication ceremony included Oscar Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, George Moore and William Butler Yeats.

However, it is for his photography that Day is best known. His stunningly original, brilliantly executed and sometimes controversial photographic images of blacks, children and allegorical subjects brought him fame. His determination to promote photography as a fine art led him to create photographic representations of the crucifixion of Christ, studies for which he was his own model. During the significant 1895-1905 period in photographic history, his fame rivaled that of Alfred Stieglitz.

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division holds approximately 14 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. International in scope, these visual collections represent a uniquely rich fund of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor: science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/print/.

The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook/) was established by Congress in 1977 "to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy and libraries." With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The center’s Books and Beyond author series brings writers of all genres to the Library of Congress to discuss their work.

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PR 09-186
10/01/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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