Struss, Karl, 1886-1981

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Struss (1886-1981) was a cinematographer for over fifty years. He graduated from Columbia University in 1912, worked as a photographer for several years, and developed the Struss soft-focus lens. In 1919, Struss went to Hollywood, where he worked for Cecil B. DeMille for three years and in 1925 he went to Rome to film "Ben Hur." He won the first Oscar for cinematography for "Sunrise" in 1927 and received Oscar nominations for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1932) and "Limelight" (1950). Other Struss films include "Coquette" (1929) and "The Great Dictator" (1940).

From the description of Papers, 1921-1977. (University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 32213994

Karl Struss (1886-1981) was an American photographer and Academy Award-winning cinematographer. Born in New York, New York, Struss studied photography with Clarence H. White and belonged to Alfred Stieglitz's "291" photo-pictorialist group. By 1914 his photographs were appearing regularly in popular magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar . In 1919 he moved to Los Angeles where he took a job as a cameraman for Cecil B. DeMille. Over his career he worked on more than one hundred films, including Ben Hur, Coquette (Mary Pickford's first sound film), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, D.W. Griffith's Abraham Lincoln, Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, and Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1927.

Struss was very interested in what was then called "stereo cinematography," what would today be called "3-D movies." Much of his work in this media was done in Italy (he also did regular 2-D films there, including one with Sophia Loren) and not released in the United States.

Struss was a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the Stereo Division of the Photographic Society of America (PSA) and the Stereo Club of Southern California (SCSC).

From the guide to the Karl Struss Photographs, 1920-1921, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976. Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Karl Struss Photographs, 1920-1921 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976. Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Struss, Karl, 1886-1981. [Karl Struss : artist file] Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library & Archives, DIA Research Library & Archives
creatorOf Swanson, Gloria. Papers. Series V. Biographical/Personal Papers, 18??-1983. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Automobile Club of Southern California,. Automobile Club of Southern California Collection of Photographs and Negatives, 1898-1982 (bulk 1920s-1930s) Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf STRUSS, KARL. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Howard D. Rothschild papers, 1921-1989. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984. Correspondence with Imogen Cunningham, 1949-1976. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Struss, Karl : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
creatorOf Struss, Karl, 1886-1981. Papers, 1921-1977. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
referencedIn Imogen Cunningham papers, 1903-1991 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Struss, Karl. Struss, Karl : [photography bio file]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Automobile Club of Southern California Collection of Photographs and Negatives, 1898-1982, bulk 1920s-1930s The Huntington Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984. person
associatedWith Automobile Club of Southern California, corporateBody
associatedWith Cunningham, Imogen, 1883-1976. person
associatedWith Daniels, Bebe, 1901-1971 person
associatedWith DeMille, Cecil B. (Cecil Blount), 1881-1959. person
associatedWith Detroit Institute of Arts Research Library & Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Imogen Cunningham person
correspondedWith Rothschild, Howard D. person
associatedWith Swanson, Gloria. person
associatedWith Windsor, Claire. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Radio, television, film
Popular culture
Photography
Motion pictures
Actresses--Photographs
Cinematography
Occupation
Photographers
Cinematographers
Function

Person

Birth 1886-11-30

Death 1981-12-16

Americans

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