On the face of it, Alfred Cheney Johnston was little more than a photographer who handled publicity shots for Flo Ziegfeld and his Ziegfeld girls in the Jazz Age.
It was only after his death in a car crash in 1971 that more, shall we say, ‘artistic’ shots were revealed. Nude and semi-nude images, possibly done at the behest of Flo Ziegfeld or maybe on the photographer’s own initiative, were discovered at Johnston’s Oxford, Connecticut residence.
They are more than just a bit of under the counter smut. Johnston’s had been trained as a painter before taking up photography and this is very much reflected in his eye for composition. The images have a staged almost Pre-Raphaelite feel.
Even the more refined images like the ones featured have a seductive, sexy quality that beats any number of the crass, airbrushed porn shots available on the internets these days.