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 Harry Albert Hess  (1912 - 2007)

About: Harry Albert Hess


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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/Texas      Known for: Modern photography, pen and ink drawing

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Harry Albert Hess (June 22, 1912 – August 2, 2007).

Harry Albert Hess was known as the photographer with the engineering background.  Along with Charles Sheeler (also from Pennsylvania) he pioneered the commercial photography of industrial settings, and was one of the first to perfect the use of helicopters in photography. He developed a system for suspending himself and his camera equipment from underneath a helicopter to photograph the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, and as a result of this became known as “Crazy Harry”.  As a freelance photojournalist he was a frequent contributor to National Geographic and many other magazines.

He was born in Fern County, Pennsylvania on June 22, 1912 to Henry and Anna Hess.  He attended the University of Pittsburgh, and graduated with an engineering degree in 1933.  He married twice, first to Vera and then to Polly.  He lived most of his life in East Texas, but was a world traveler who photographed and sketched worldwide including in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and South and North America.

Information provided by Cynthia Turner, the artist’s great niece.

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