The most comprehensive record of the American stage for the years 1903-1936, the collection of White Studio theatrical photographs reflects over 7,000 professional photographic assignments documenting more than 85% of all live performances of theater and vaudeville in New York.
Content: National Endowment for the Arts Millennium Project.
Biographical/historical: White is credited with the development of flash-pan artificial lighting, which enabled him to cut drastically the time necessary for studio and location photography. By 1904, with the further development of flashlighting, the White Studio began to document theater, opera, music, dance and circus production on assignment from producers and theater owners such as David Belasco, Daniel Frohman, Lee and J.J. Shubert and Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. who wanted to provide visual material for the press. White's methods were considered ideal for creating images suitable for rotogravure reproduction in newspapers. Photographs were often taken from the first balcony or lighting booth at the final dress rehearsal and productions were often re-photographed after major cast changes, providing documentation of replacement actors as well as the original cast. In some cases, set models and costume sketches were also photographed. White Studio soon became the leading entertainment photography studio of its day, providing publicity photographs for performers. The Studio, because of its fine reputation in portraiture, also became involved in fashion photography
A commercial photographic studio founded by Luther White in New York City in the 1890s, White Studio was first known for its portraiture before venturing into theatrical photography beginning in 1904.
Extent: 6,700 key sheets (175,000 photoprints) : black and white