The Roots of My Photography

photo by Kenneth A. Linn

For many years I have been exploring my ancestry, and I recently made an interesting discovery. It appears my love for almost all things related to photography may run in the family.  My grandfather’s cousin, my third cousin, was, and is, a relatively well-known photographer in New York whose work is still sought by collectors and galleries. His name was Kenneth A. Linn and he studied and taught at The Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York City which was the first school to teach photography as an art form.

Allen and Sadie Linn

Photographic collections from this prestigious school, which operated from 1914 to 1942, are held in the Library of Congress and in private collections such as the Coville Collection. This small school is credited with producing some of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th Century who were innovative in their approach to this evolving and emerging medium, which incorporated design, aesthetics and illustration.  I wonder what their reaction would be to today’s imagery, and the viral, visual bombardment from the television and the Internet?

Kenneth A. Linn

Kenneth A. Linn was the son of Allen and Sadie Linn.  Allen was a silk salesman in New York and Sadie, formerly Sadie Neafie McCollough, came from a well-to-do family, I’m told.  My side of the family through Robert A. Linn, Allen’s brother,  stayed in Ohio and West Virginia selling life insurance–need I say more!

Since being given my first old camera I’ve loved the sound of the shutter.  I would walk around taking pretend photos, no film in the camera, just to hear the shutter movement.  Somehow even though the direct lineage should have made me a salesman, I got the photo gene.

 


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