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Imogen Cunningham “I want everybody to be a self learner..

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1 Imogen Cunningham 1883-1976 “I want everybody to be a self learner..
I don’t believe in teaching, I believe in learning.” -Imogen Cunningham

2 A Little Bit About Imogen…
One of the first photographers to shoot nude photos Had one of the longest, most aesthetically influencial careers as a photographer spanning a 75 year period Married a man named Roi and had three children with him, one being a set of twins Born on April 12, 1883 in Portland, Oregon. Her father named her after heroine of Shakespeare’s “Cymberine.” American Woman photographer known for botanical photography, nudes, and industry photography

3 First Camera At the age of 18, Cunningham bought her
first camera, a 4x5 inch view camera She actually lost interest and ended up selling her camera to a friend In 1906 she bought another camera and at this time Made her decision to be a photographer

4 Schooling.. Imogen attended the University of Washington in Seattle in 1903 as a chemistry major, a suggestion one of her teacher’s had made to her, telling her if she wanted to have a profession in photography, that she would have to have a scientific background. In order to pay for her expenses she began working as a secretary, creating botanical slides for her chemistry professor 1907, graduated from the University of Washington as a chemistry major, having written a thesis titled “Modern Processes of Photography” After graduating, Imogen worked in the Seattle portrait studio of Edward S. Curtis where she learned platinum printing 1909, Imogen was awarded a grant of $500 dollars from her college sorority to study photographic chemistry in Dresden, Germany She urged the use of hand-coated paper for platinum prints, as much more convenient and easier to handle than commercial paper. After she returned back to Seattle, where she opened a portrait studio

5 Family and Photography
In 1915 Imogen met Roi Partidge, married him and they had a son named Gryffyd She then moved with Roi to California where they had twin boys, Rondal and Padraic She had to adapt to her lifestyle of being home with her three children, so her photography centered more around them and the nature within her gardens and home. In 1921 Imogen reached a distinct turning point in her photographic career, where she began to focus more on textures of barks, trees, and flowers. Some of her most prominent and successful work is her botanical work.

6 More Developments In Her Career
After her twins were born, Imogen was offered her first commercial photography assignment photographing the Adolph Bohm Ballet Intime At this time Imogen began to make her first sharp plant photographs 1923 Imogen made her first double-exposure photograph 1929 ten of her photos were exhibited in the infamous Film and Foto Exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany. At this time, she also had an exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum

7 1931 Imogen had the opportunity to meet and photograph the dancer, Martha Graham. After the photographs were published in an issue of Vanity Fair, they offered her a job to go on assignments photographing Hollywood Personalities Imogen was able to meet famous people and photograph them in her own way, most of the time she photographed them without make up 1934, Vanity Fair offered her work in New York. Roi, her husband wanted her to wait for him to leave, but she refused and they ended up getting a divorce, only to return back to California soon after Imogen travelled with Dorothea Lange and Paul Taylor, documenting what now might be called street photography 1935 she had a one-person exhibition at the Dallas Art Museum 1936 she had another one-person exhibition at the E.B. Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento, CA 1940s SHE BEGAN TO PHOTOGRAPH IN COLOR! during the war, she sold her house and used a friend’s studio and darkroom in San Francisco, preparing for her own studio in San Fran 1947 she was able to create a studio of her own in her home in San Francisco For the next 13 years her work was exhibited throughout the country She taught at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco In 1960 a good amount of her collection was purchased by The International Museum of Photography, at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, which gave her enough money to be able to travel around Western and Eastern Europe and take photographs In 1962 she was able to experiment with Polaroid film 1967 She was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences 1973, her 90th birthday, she was declared the Artist of the Year by the San Francisco Art Commission 1975 Imogen organized The Imogen Cunningham Trust June 23, 1976, Imogen died in San Francisco

8 Imogen’s Unique Style Imogen’s Unique Style From a
One of the first artists to photograph nudity within her photography. She photographed her husband Roi She was funny, she knew she was funny She was never afraid to take a risk or speak up about anything Condemned by a lot of people back then, but she jokes, talking about how people like to buy them now and look at the nude photographs

9 Family, Friends, and Inspiration
Imogen was a very privileged photographer. She went through so many different stages of photography, and career throughout her life Imogen’s mother was never really interested in seeing the photographs taken of her Her father once said to her, “Why are you spending money on going to school to be a dirty photographer?” However he is the one who made her her first dark room. She jokes that since it was so long ago, that there wasn’t much light anyways. However, he did seem to encourage her at times. She enjoys talking about him. He actually recorded 8 hours of interviewing her “I was brought up on art. My father thought I had a great hand at art and sent me to art school. But he did not want me to become a photographer. “

10 Some of Imogen’s Thoughts..
“Ansel [Adams] once said to somebody that I [Cunningham] was versatile, but what he really meant was that I jump around. I’m never satisfied staying in one spot very long, I couldn’t stay with the mountains and I couldn’t stay with the trees and I couldn’t stay with the rivers. But I can always stay with people, because they really are different.” “I always wished I'd photographed somebody on the john. Back then I only thought about it and I didn't have the nerve.” “Everybody who does anything for the public can be criticized. There's always someone who doesn't like it. “ “I told the students that whatever they did in class was for the wastebasket.” “I have a commitment, not a job. I don't plan on what I'm going to do. I let things happen.” “I don’t resent anything.” “I became kind of a drop-out in science after I came back to America. I wanted to photograph.” “I turn people into human beings By not making them in to God’s.” “I was invited to photograph Hollywood. They asked me what I would like to photograph. I said, Ugly men.” “There are certain things you don't discuss with Ansel, especially if you don't agree.” “I was poor. When you're poor you work, and when you're rich you expect somebody to hand it to you. So I think being reasonably poor is very good for people.” “Once a woman who does street work said to me, 'I've never photographed anyone I haven't asked first.' I said to her, 'Suppose Cartier-Bresson asked the man who jumped the puddle to do it again - it never would have been the same. Start stealing!’” “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow.”

11 Where Is Her Art Now? Imogen’s art is located in various galleries to this current days, some of these galleries are: Art Expressions Gallery, San Diego CA Oceanside Museum, Oceanside CA Lumere Gallery, Atlanta GA G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle WA Photo Eye Gallery, New Mexico Photography West, Carmel CA Photo Laison, Lopez Island, WA Robert Tat Gallery, San Francisco CA Weston Gallery, Carmel CA

12 The Imogen Cunningham Trust
She set up The Imogen Cunningham Trust before she died so that her negatives could be preserved, exhibited and even purchased Died June 24, 1976

13 References


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