SIDNEY L. ALDERMAN
Sidney L. Alderman (b.1860 d.1931), a pioneer of furniture photography, founded Alderman Studios in 1898 and was its president until 1931. One day, around the turn of the century, while watching a traveling furniture salesman struggle with a mule-drawn wagon filled with sample chairs and case goods, it occurred to him that if he photographed the pieces, the salesman would then be able to sell with little more than a saddlebag full of photographs.
Alderman’s formal education in photography consisted of one year as an understudy to Bachrach, the renowned photographer in New York City, in 1880-1881. In 1892, he opened a portrait studio in Greensboro, NC, which he later moved to High Point, to be nearer the furniture center.
Alderman Studios became one of the largest commercial still photography studios in the world, encompassing some 250,000 square feet. They pioneered 17 staging areas and a collection of accessories and architectural elements worthy of a museum. Individual windows, walls, fireplaces, and stairways were combined, torn down, and combined again to create unique settings for the perfect shots.
Sidney Alderman’s use of photography in selling furniture simplified and advanced the sale and marketing of furniture. The studio’s growth greatly contributed to the emergence of the home furnishing and textile industries in the Southeast.