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.
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