Barnett McFee Clinedinst Biography

Barnett McFee Clinedinst




Barnett McFee Clinedinst, was born in September 12, 1862  in Woodstock, Virginia, son of photographer and viewfinder and “single-lens reflex camera” inventor Barnett M. Clinedinst (1836-1900) and Mary C. South. He was the brother of painter Benjamin West Clinedinst.

As a young man he operated a circus and was a salesman. Studying  photography from his father he and his father opened a photographic studio in Washington, DC, in 1900 at 1207 F St.. He later served as the official White House photographer under the administrations of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft and did their official portraits. As the official presidential photographer Clinedinst was the first to see the commercial possibilities while working with Teddy Roosevelt. His adoption of cutting-edge stop-motion camera equipment invented by his father allowed him to capture TR jumping his Kentucky saddle-horse over fences, walls, and hedges, which was enthusiastically supported by Roosevelt.

Newspapers of the time called him Washington’s “court photographer.” An early advocate for the use of electric lighting in the studio, his photos were published in newspapers throughout the country.

Barnett McFee Clinedinst died at age 90 in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 15, 1953.