william little image "Negative #809"

William Little, Silver Print, $300
Negative #809 © Paul Hooge


William Little did not limit himself to either a soft focus or sharp focus style. Instead, he used both methods to achieve his aesthetic objective. We are not certain exactly when he started photographing, but by 1897 he was producing landscapes in the pictorialist style with some soft and some sharp images. Almost half of Little's photographs were of landscapes. Another quarter of his work was composed of cityscapes, townscapes, and architectural subjects. Portraits make up less than 10% of Little's work and with only a few exceptions, all portraits are of immediate family members.

William Little's work can be divided into two periods. His early period begins sometime between 1890 and 1895 and ends about 1915 when Little starts to use a medium format film camera. The second period begins around 1915 and ends during the early or middle 1930's. This second period is characterized by an increased interest in city and townscapes, industrial sites and candid forms. Landscapes however remain his primary photographic interest throughout both periods.

The William Little photographic collection was almost discarded into a dumpster early in 1993 when the contents of the residence of Alene Little (the youngest daughter of William and Fanny Little) was being cleaned out by family members and auctioneers. Dr. Alan Grantham, William Little's grandson, relates that there was over a hundred yeas of accumulation from two former residences stored in Alene's home. A large dumpster was eventually filled.