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Born in the Arizona territory, Arthur Kales received a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1903. While living in the Bay Area, he became interested in the burgeoning Pictorialist movement in photography that flourished there, and his images met with immediate success. Kales moved to Los Angeles to work in advertising but returned to San Francisco in 1917. In the following year, he nevertheless joined the Camera Pictorialists of Los Angeles. For fourteen years beginning in 1922, Kales wrote about Pictorialist photography in western America for the journal Photograms of the Year.