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Arthur Dailey Photographer Extraordinaire

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by Arthur A. Dailey
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Arthur Dailey Photographer Extraordinaire by Arthur A. Dailey

This is a collection of articles, some written about and some written by Arthur Dailey. They give a flavor of what kind of person Arthur was. There are many extraordinary things one could say about Arthur, ranging from his magnificent photographs to his work as advertisement man. But perhaps the best way to understand Arthur is to examine the company he kept. Friends like Leo Burnett, the father of the modern ad industry, artists like E. William Gollings and Joe De Yong and researchers such as Elmo Scott Watson.

"Mike (meaning Arthur Dailey) is one of the toughest advertising managers I have ever known or worked with - and I've known some dandies. And that's one big reason, believe it or not, why I like Mike."
- Leo Burnett on the occasion of Arthur Dailey's retirement from Santa Fe Railroads, November 27th, 1963.

"Arthur Dailey's show was something else. Here was a visual presentation of 16 x 20 prints in full color ... an entire room full of masterful prints ... you just had to come up for a close look to convince yourself they were not paintings. Our day was made, for we had come upon a new name, a great talent ..."
- Jose Izuela in an article from Arizona Highways, October 1971.

Among several articles you will find a laudatio given by Leo Burnett on the occasion of Arthur Dailey's retirement from the Santa Fe railroad. Several of Arthur's prized photos are reproduced.

Excerpt from the ebook:


Photographs by Dailey are truly art
By J. Douglas Hale

Dr. Hale is an associate professor of art history at Arizona State University.

Does anyone ever argue any longer as to whether or not photography is a legitimate art? If not, what was the deciding factor, aside from its not being polite to call so many tax paying film and camera buying photographers non-artists?

The color photographs by Arthur A. Dailey, titled "Along the Slopes of the Bighorn," in the Members' Lounge of the Phoenix Art Museum, must be called art. There may be others working their cameras in the Dailey manner, but ours has not been the luck to see them.

Dailey has three interests, apparent in his prints: 1) horses, 2) the scenery along the slopes of the Bighorn Mountains, and 3) arranging the first two well in the lens of his camera. Their mentioned order is not intended to show their order of importance to the photographer, naturally, and in some, as, for example in "Mountain Pastures," he exhibits all three. In any case, whether it is views and vistas, or horses, it is a rare positive that does not show the Dailey concern for, and ability with, composition. "Through the Dust," and "Here They Come" are all horse. "The Ford" leans on water for its foreground strength, "Morning Shadows" utilizes foreground darks, plus light vegetation, while "Old Corral" calls an aid from post shadows.

The pure landscapes are "Trail Riders," "Wolf Creek," "Day in October," and others. All are views that would have delighted design conscious landscape painters.

With as talented a camera artist as Dailey, it would be unfair not to point out an occasional flaw. One wonders if "Dusty Trail" might not have had its "dustiness" aided by a deliberate "fuzzing," either with the lens or in the dark room. And, in one case, the advantages of the landscapist working with the brush over the landscapist with camera were made apparent.

In "Point Riders" the foreground was made interesting enough to hold its own with the rest of the composition by its shadow textures. In "The Cavvy," on the other hand, the foreground just does not have enough going on.

(Cezanne had a way with foregrounds that nature had neglected - Whistler was not bereft of ability in this area, either.)

A brush artist could have gone to work and brought that portion of the design to life - made it join the middle and backgrounds in giving aesthetic satisfaction to the viewer.

Is this last intended to indicate that photographers are less artists than painters? One might be tempted to say so, until he recalls all the inept painters of landscape there are in the world. Let's just be glad for those who can - whether with paint or film.


1st edition 2008; 59 pages.
word count: 14827 which is equivalent to 59 standard pages of text

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10/17/2017
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