Clarence Hudson White (April 8, 1871 – July 7, 1925) was an American photographer and a founding member of the Photo-Secession movement. During his lifetime he was widely recognized as a master of the art form for his consummate sentimental, pictorial portraits and for his excellence as a teacher of photography. Toward the end of his career he founded the Clarence H. White School of Photography, which produced many of the best-known photographers of the Twentieth Century including Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, and Paul Outerbridge.
White was born in 1871 in West Carlisle, Ohio. He moved with his family to Newark, Ohio when he was sixteen. He was avid amateur young artist, and filled sketchbooks with his drawings and paintings before taking up photography in his late teens or early twenties. His father was a salesman for Fleek and Neal, a wholesale grocery, and after high school White joined the same firm as an accountant. In 1893 White married Jane Felix, who became White’s business manager, critic, and inspiration.
White produced many of his most famous images between 1893 and 1906, while he was still in Ohio, despite holding a full-time job unrelated to photography and only being able to afford two plates a week.
White’s photographs are black-and-white, romanticized, pictorialist images. Women and children were favorite subjects, and White was praised for capturing the character of his models. In a rare interview, White said, “I do not believe [a photographer] should go with a preconceived idea of what he is going to get. He should be moved by his subject. If he is not, he will become blind to the most beautiful aspects of nature.”