Alfred Cheney Johnston (April 8, 1885 – April 17, 1971) was born into a New York banking family, but he decided to make his own career by studying painting and illustration at the National Academy of Design in New York.
He started out as a painter but he was not a very successful one. The camera he used for his studies soon became his main tool in art.
Around 1917, Johnston was hired the New York City live-theater showman and producer Florenz Ziegfeld and became affiliated with the Ziegfeld Follies. Here he photographed many aspiring actresses and he did so in an almost un-American way. The photographs lean heavily on the classic poses one would find in European paintings of the 18th and 19th Century.