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Alfred Cheney Johnston – Photographer
Alfred Cheney Johnston (April 8, 1885 – April 17, 1971) is one of my most favorite, if not my favorite photographer. My eye for art has always been drawn to the female figure and the graceful curves that God graced them with. Alfred was the photographer for the Ziegfeld Follies. The Follies were a presentations on Broadway that was of a variety show style. Their trademark became the beautiful chorus girls that graced the stage during the show.
During his career, he photographed hundreds of show girls and also maintained a studio where he shot magazine fashion ads and upcoming actresses and actors.
The subjects for his photos included names like; Fanny Brice, Mary Pickford, John Barrymore, Orson Welles, and Helen Hayes.
After his death in 1971, found in his estate were not only the standard, costumed photos of the girls, but also a large collection of nude and semi-nude shots. These all were done in an exquisite, tasteful manner. These shots are what I believe sets him apart. The lighting, poses, and subjects are beautiful and somewhat breath taking.
A large number of his prints are on file at the Library of Congress.
Alfred published a spiral bound book of his work in 1937 entitled Enchanting Beauty. Copies pf this can be found in the used book market.
Robert Hudovernik, in 2006 published a fantastic collection intitled, Jazz Age Beauties: The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston. This work is still in print.
Roy Richard February 2023
Copyright Roy Richard