Seattle Camera Club’s Vision of Beauty

The beauty of our city, and its surroundings — how often have these been noted and commented on? Every fine day we get another opportunity to be grateful for Seattle’s location, and every rainy or cloudy day, the beauty is still present but cloaked in different covering. We’re lucky to be reminded of this simple wonder on occasion, and no better reminder than the recent book, Shadows of a Fleeting World: Pictorial Photography and the Seattle Camera Club, by David Martin and Nicolette Bromberg. Shadows Fleeting World Seattle Camera ClubWritten to accompany a recent exhibit at the Henry Gallery, the book and its authors will be honored in a program on Thursday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m., in the Central Library Microsoft Auditorium. They will present information about the Seattle Camera Club and its coterie of Japanese-American and Caucasian photographers of the 1920s.  This short-lived club specialized in images of Seattle, of nearby waters, of Mount Rainier, all in the impressionist style of photo pictorialism. The club, a casualty of the depression, lasted only a few years, and most of the photographers were swept up in the internment of Japanese, having to surrender their cameras and equipment. That we can enjoy some of their work today is a fluke of history; many of these photographs were lost or discarded. Caucasian photographers were friends and associates of these photographers — a notable one being Virna Haffer, of Tacoma, whose work is now being displayed at the Tacoma Art Museum. After the “Shadows of a Fleeting World” program at the Central Library, a selection of the club’s photographs will be on display at Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E. Yesler Way, where visitors can recover that delight in the beauty of our environment that so marks the work of these photographers.

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