Public Facades

With his arrival in London in 1901, Grainger moved into a world where the photograph—specifically the sophisticated studio portrait—was currency in the intricate game of social positioning.  Society photography had evolved into a branch of the photographic profession requiring the practitioner to have a masterful handling of the wit and banter of the ‘gentler classes’, as well as impeccable photographic skills. Grainger had a vast number of portraits made in a fairly short time as his career developed momentum.

A performer, like Grainger, wishing to progress in this social echelon was wise to choose a photographer astutely for his or her promotional photographs.  The inscription of a fashionable photographer’s name on a photograph of a rising star added a certain gloss to the performer’s image.