Media File
Imogen Cunningham
Date: American photographer, 1883–1976
Biography: Born in Portland, Oregon, Cunningham gained fame for her close-up studies revealing the natural patterns of plants. She began her photographic studies at the University of Washington, majoring in chemistry to master photographic processes. After graduation she worked in the portrait studio of Edward S. Curtis, famous for his depictions of Native Americans. She learned the platinum process and traveled to Dresden for further study before opening a portrait studio in Seattle. In the teens, Cunningham exhibited softly focused Pictorialist photographs of her friends posed in tableaux for her camera. She married etcher Roi Partridge and moved to California, where she made her first close-up studies of plants, photographed dancer Martha Graham, and experimented with double exposures. She exhibited at the prestigious Film and Foto Exhibition in Stuttgart and at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. She founded Group f/64 with Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. In the years after World War II, Cunningham kept a studio on Green Street in San Francisco and exhibited nationally. Major collections of her work can be found at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, the Library of Congress, and the Aperture Foundation.