Posts Tagged ‘Christmas card 1931’


By Paul Goldfinger, Photography editor @ Blogfinger.  Original post  2013. Ocean Grove, NJ.

I found this “Season’s Greetings” photo card at a flea market/art show.  I was intrigued by it.  Clearly the work  was by a serious artist. The name George Hukar sounded familiar, and a Google search revealed that he was a photographer and painter from California.

George  (c. 1895-1975) was a founding member of the San Dieguito Art Guild. He taught painting and photography  and he published an article about dark room work in the 1940 Christmas edition of Popular Photography . (Note the cover below.)

It is a bit of a “leap of faith” to believe that the George Hukar from the San Diego area is the one who made my 1931 holiday card, but I am going to assume that it is so.

This is not an ordinary “Season’s Greetings” card.  It actually is a limited-edition  hand-made silver-gelatin photograph which was sent as a card in 1931.  I suspect that George Hukar was known to his friends as someone who would send out an original work of art each December.

The color of the print indicates that he tinted it with some darkroom chemical (toner) such as selenium or a variant of  sepia or gold.  The lighting makes the image. The model’s face is made dark using a darkroom technique called “burning.”

Perhaps this image  was the inspiration for “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”  I also like the idea that George would make his own Christmas cards in the darkroom. I have been doing that myself, in small limited editions,  inspired by George’s work, although I have never photographed a nude subject other than my kids bathing in the kitchen sink.  (That would be when they were very small.)

George Hukar's article is mentioned along the left side.

George Hukar’s article is mentioned along the left side.

Years ago, when all photographs were black and white, there were many creative things that could be done in the darkroom. George Hukar’s article in Popular Photography was called ” Studio Tricks,” so I can see why he did so well with this photo card.

Editor’s  note:  The post above is originally from 2013, and since then we have heard from others who knew George Hukar.

In 2018 we  said this:

In 2013 I spoke to a woman from the San Dieguinto Photo League in California. But she had no record of this photo, however, we could verify George Hukar’s roll in the League.

Today  (4/29/16) we got a comment from someone who recognizes our George Hukar as the artist  who did the Christmas photo card.

Then, re-posted on September 15, 2018, it’s not every day I get to write about photography, solve a photo mystery, and post a nude on Blogfinger. We did get some additional information then.

July 28, 2020.  We just received the following letter from Chrystal Snyder who is in Tempe, Arizona where it was 115 degrees yesterday, and 109 degrees today.

Hello, Paul

I just happened upon your Blogfinger post from 12/26/2013 that mentioned George Hukar of the San Diegito Art Guild. George was a friend of my father, Dick Snyder. He became an informal “uncle” to me and my sisters from the time he moved to San Diego in about 1960, becoming a key part of our extended family.

George was part of the Taliesin Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin, in the 1930s. Through Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, George became a student of the teachings of Georgy Gurdjieff. I heard many stories of his time at Taliesin during my childhood.

My dad and George were friends and fellow commercial photographers in Chicago in the 1950’s. I haven’t seen the 1931 Season’s Greetings card you posted so I can’t confirm whether that one is his. I can say that George was a wonderful mentor to me. I spent countless hours with him in the darkroom and countless more roaming the city, the beach, the zoo and botanical garden, studying light and shadow and getting lost in the thrill of capturing a composition that expressed my own slant on the world.

Chrystal included a rare old photo of George.

Thanks for an unexpected opportunity to relish memories of a beloved friend and mentor!

Chrystal Snyder

Thank you Chrystal for adding to our collection of George Hukar information…a far cry from picking up a photocard at a flea market.

Paul @Blogfinger.net






Attn Grovers:  You will recognize the name Tali Esen Morgan, the long time musical director in Ocean Grove.  His beautiful house stands today on Abbott Avenue, the Tali Esen Morgan House.

Here is a link you might enjoy:    Tali Esen Morgan House OG

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