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Edward C. "E. C." Dana

Edward Cary Dana was born in 1852 in Boston, Massachusetts. As the son of a stockbroker, it was initially assumed he would pursue a business career. While working as an administrative clerk, he became interested in photography, a passion that intensified during the Civil War. Mr. Dana was profoundly moved by the images that deeply personalized the pain and suffering of combat. He became the apprentice of Boston ambrotypist James W. Turner. Mr. Dana was committed to showcasing the new art form, and in 1875 moved to Brooklyn, where he opened his first studio and experimented with the latest processing techniques.

Mr. Dana's combination of artistry and business shrewdness made his Brooklyn studio an immediate creative and financial success. He expanded to a more upscale Manhattan gallery location - on the corner of 14th Street and 6th Avenue - and opened a second Brooklyn studio in 1892, complete with specially constructed 19' x 55' skylight with a west of north exposure. Mr. Dana's portraits distinguished themselves by eliminating the painted backgrounds that characterized the pictorial portraits of the period. Along with commercial success came professional accolades for his portraiture, beginning with the first gold medal he was awarded in 1887. He went on to receive the prestigious gold medal at the Photographers' Association of America (PAA) convention (1891), a merit in photography award at the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893), and a bronze medal at the 1894 PAA convention.


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