Johan Hagemeyer

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Johan Hagemeyer (1 June 1884, Amsterdam, the Netherlands - 1962, Berkeley, California USA) was a Dutch born horticulturalist and vegetarian who is remembered primarily for being an early 20th-century photographer and artistic intellectual. His family came to California to grow fruit trees, but in 1916 he met photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who convinced him to devote his life to the then emerging world of artistic photography.[1] In 1923 Hagemeyer opened a portrait studio in San Francisco and also built a summer studio in Carmel, California which soon became a meeting place for artists and intellectuals.

It was there that he met Edward Weston, who encouraged Hagemeyer to further his career in photography. Hagemeyer soon developed his own style, and from the 20s through the 40s he photographed leading figures of the day, including Albert Einstein and Salvador Dalí. However, he sometimes retouched or manipulated his photos, which went against the beliefs of Weston. His refusal to adhere to Weston's views was a major cause in a growing alienation of the two men. When Weston, Ansel Adams and others founded Group f/64, devoted to straight, unmanipulated photography, Hagemeyer did not join. Perhaps because of his determination to go his own way or perhaps because his style was never fully appreciated, he never came close to achieving the fame of his former friends. In 1947 he left Carmel and returned to San Francisco full-time. He died poor and virtually forgotten at age 78.

The Johan Hagemeyer Photograph Collection at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, contains the approximately 6,785 photographic prints and negatives which made up the photographer's personal archive at the time of his death in 1962. A smaller collection of prints, negatives and correspondence is at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP) in Tucson, Arizona, and the CCP has released a digital catalog of Hagemeyer's photograph collection.

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Bibliography[edit]

  • Myers, Roger and Judith Leckrone. Johan Hagemeyer Collection, Guides Series Number 11 (Tucson: Center for Creative Photography, 1985)

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