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Jean Paige Who's Who on the Screen

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Jean Paige Who's Who on the Screen

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Publicity photo of Jean Paige from Who's Who on the Screen

For his indoor studio work, Johnston often employed a large "Century"-brand view camera that produced 11x14-inch glass-plate negatives, so a standard Johnston 11x14 photographic print was actually just a "contact print" from the negative and not enlarged at all. This size of negative afforded extremely fine image detail. (However, Johnston also is confirmed to have shot with a Graflex camera in 3-1/4 x 4-1/4-inch roll-film format; an unknown brand of 8x10 view camera; and a Zeiss Ikon camera in 120 [2-1/4 x 2-1/4-inch] film format.) Johnston's "standard" work was used by Flo Ziegfeld for the normal advertising and promotional purposes for the Follies, and mainly consisted of individual or small-group shots of the Follies showgirls in their extravagant stage costumes. However, after Johnston's death in 1971, a huge treasure trove of extremely artistic full-nude and semi-nude full-figure studio photos (and their accompanying glass-plate negatives) was found stored at the farm near Oxford, Connecticut, where he'd lived since 1940. Most of these images (some named, mostly anonymous) were, in fact, showgirls from the Ziegfeld Follies, but such daring, unretouched full-frontal images would certainly have had no public-publication possibilities in the 1920s-1930s, so it is speculated that these were either simply his own personal artistic work, and/or done at the behest of Flo Ziegfeld for that showman's personal enjoyment. The only book known to have been published by Alfred Cheney Johnston during his lifetime devoted to his nudes/glamour photography is the 1937 spiral-bound softcover "Enchanting Beauty", which contains 94 black-and-white photos (mostly about 7x9 inches, centered on a 9x12-inch page, although a number are cropped circular or in other designs). Unusually (compared to virtually all other examples of his work seen today on the Web or other sources, which were shot in an indoor studio in front of a flat-black or illustrated tapestry background cloth), 37 of these photos were taken outdoors along a stream or in flower-dappled fields, etc. All the shots in the book are "airbrushed" in the pubic area, to keep them legal with respect to the publishing standards of the day.

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1920
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silentladies.com
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