Bodine, A. Aubrey

American (1906-1970)

A. Aubrey Bodine – a life long Maryland native – used his camera to record images of his state’s landmarks, traditions and people, leaving behind an unprecedented body of work on a single region. His love affair with the camera began at a young age and in 1920, Bodine dropped out of the 8th grade and went to work at the local newspaper. He received on-the-job training pictures, working his way up to a photo man for the ad department and soon saved enough tuition money to attend night school. He studied photography and design three nights a week, calling the investment the best in his life, and soon went to work in 1923 for The Baltimore Sun’s Sunday Sun magazine, where he remained until his death in 1970.  

In 1924, Bodine joined the Photographic Club of Baltimore, a group of shutterbugs concerned with photography as an artistic, not scientific, medium. With these men and women, Bodine perfected the pictorialist style, which sought to emulate the painting and sketching of the day using the camera. Today, Bodine’s photos are considered some of the finest examples of pictorialism; while he composed most of his shots in the viewfinder, his technique included tinting, coloring, scratching on negatives, and occasionally even scraping and marking his prints. In 1961, Bodine was honored to be the first American photographer to have a solo exhibition in the post-revolution USSR.