Carl Van Vechten | writers

In 1930, 50-year-old American writer Carl Van Vechten underwent a phenomenal career shift. Largely abandoning the novels and criticism which had made his name, he picked up a camera and started snapping his friends. It helped, of course, that he knew more or less everyone who was creating or performing anything of note in the US, with extensive ties to the avant-garde across the pond as well. By the time he died on this day in 1964 he had amassed thousands of portraits, a portfolio almost without equal in the 20th century. This selection concentrates on writers, remembering that Van Vechten too fit in that category.

Zora Neale Hurston 1934

Zora Neale Hurston 1934

Willa Cather 1936

Willa Cather 1936

Bryher 1938

Bryher 1938

W. H. Auden 1939

W. H. Auden 1939

Djuna Barnes 1939

Djuna Barnes 1939

Claude McKay 1941

Claude McKay 1941

W. E. B. Du Bois 1946

W. E. B. Du Bois 1946

Harold Acton 1947

Harold Acton 1947

Tennessee Williams 1948

Tennessee Williams 1948

Jane Bowles 1951

Jane Bowles 1951

William Faulkner 1954

William Faulkner 1954

James Baldwin 1955

James Baldwin 1955

Karen Blixen and CVV 1959

Selfie with Karen Blixen 1959

Edward Albee 1961

Edward Albee 1961

Further reading
Magic acts, Coming home?, Dress-down Friday: Charles Henri Ford, Pearls: Carl Van Vechten, Dress-down Friday: Romaine Brooks, Places: Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Carl Van Vechten)
Pearls: Bryher, Circles: H.D./Bryher, Borderline madness (Bryher)
Strange Flowers guide to Berlin, part 4, Berenice Abbott | portraits, Dress-down Friday: Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (Claude McKay)
Dress-down Friday: Djuna Barnes, Djuna 40/80/120, Djuna Barnes | drawings, Circles: Natalie Clifford Barney (Djuna Barnes)
Pearls: James Baldwin

About these ads

5 comments

  1. James Baldwin looks so modern! beautiful pics…de Bois looks quite different to how I expected…

  2. Pingback: 14 books for 2014 | Strange Flowers

  3. van vechten is my favourite photographer from that time. i recently read an article on how he made Billie Holiday’s pictures, a really exciting story. I always wanted to read one of his books but never did. Did you? How was his writing? Is it worth trying to find a copy?

  4. Pingback: L’Atlantique noir | Strange Flowers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,037 other followers

%d bloggers like this: