As a journalist and photographer Shaw saw the opportunities for self-promotion offered by the burgeoning new photographic and print media in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Owing to his connections with the influential editor Clement Shorter, Shaw had been taking advantage of technological improvements to the halftone process, which had made the mass printing of photographic images possible. Shaw was quick to acknowledge the possibilities of “celebrity” photojournalism; however as an accomplished photographer and critic, he focused on quality artistic portraits of himself that drew attention to his cultural interests, photographic expertise, and friendships. Self-portraits, and photographic portraits by the art photographers Frederick H. Evans and Alvin Langdon Coburn, were selected for publication to promote his life and work. Shaw's ability to harness art photography for the purposes of self-promotion through the popular newspaper-magazines of the day has not previously been recognized.

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