Irving Chidnoff

Russian born celebrity photographer Irving Chidnoff founded his studio in the 1925 and for thirty years would photograph the famous and would be famous of New York City. From the first he recognized that periodical and newspaper publication was the key to establishing his reputation. Photographing theatrical personalities he saw was the way to break into print. His first sale to the NEW YORK TIMES was a full-body portrait of Dorothy Brown in the operetta 'Polly' published on October 25, 1925. Four months later, Edward Steichen accepted Chidnoff's first submission to VANITY FAIR. Because of the number of talented photographers working in Manhattan, Chidnoff knew he would have to diversify to survive.
By late 1926 he was doing fashion photography in addition to portraiture.
In 1928 he entered into the Society portrait trade aggressively and quickly established himself as a power, rivaling Ira Hill and Hal Phyfe, and eclipsing them among the New York City's Jewish elite.
In 1931 his wedding portraits to the NY TIMES outnumbered his theatrical images for the first time and would throughout the remainder of his career. Even in the social conscious 1930s, Chidnoff's disavowal of glamour put him at odds with Hollywood aesthetics; fortunately, his humanistic style better suited the style of the theater. His 1930s portraitre communicated a humanity and solidity that clients found extremely attractive. Chidnoff in the mid 1930s redirected his camera from the stage to the concert house, concentrating on portraiture of classical musicians. In the late 1940s, he retired to Miami, seeling his name and facilities. The studio remained open until the mid-1950s as Chidnoff Block.


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