“Then, at the age of 52, he announced that he would never publish another word. And he didn’t with the exception of a few letters, short forewords for other people’s books, and short book reviews. That brought him to career no. 3, portrait photography, which had been a hobby for some time. Nearly all of his subjects were celebrities, and he did not charge them for his work. From time to time he would demand fees from magazines that wanted to reproduce a photo, but on the whole he gave them away.”
“‘I’ve photographed everybody from Matisse to Isamu Noguchi’ he used to say proudly. …He did his own darkroom work and was careful about it, and he always said proudly that he had never cropped a photo. Often, even into old age, he was up and in his darkroom at 6 A.M.”
“‘Mr. Van Vechten’s photography was darn good,’ Edward Steichen said last night. ‘He had a good opportunity to do the kind of work he was interested in, and he did it very well.’”— “Carl Van Vechten Is Dead at 84,” The New York Times December 22, 1964.