b. 1866, d. 1943
"One can always recognize a Fleckenstein picture. Choosing his best is like drawing from a pack of aces." --An admiring critic, 1927
Louis Fleckenstein's first camera was a birthday gift from his wife around 1895. Eight years later, after participating in numerous local and Midwest exhibitions as an amateur, he entered a national competition, expecting to receive only an illustrated catalogue of the prize-winning images. Instead, to his surprise, he won the first-place prize of 150 dollars instead.
Shortly thereafter Fleckenstein and a colleague organized the Salon Club of America, which was devoted to the nationwide promotion of the various regional Pictorialist photographers' clubs. By the time he moved from Montana to Los Angeles, where he opened a portrait studio in 1907, he had exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society in London and become an internationally known photographer. In 1914 Fleckenstein, along with a young Edward Weston and others, formed the Camera Pictorialists of Los Angeles. He later moved to Long Beach, where he continued to exhibit and publish his work while he worked as the city's first art commissioner.