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Imogen Cunningham

American, 1883–1976

1,680 followers
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Imogen Cunningham

American, 1883–1976

1,680
Followers
Biography

One of the first professional female photographers in America, Imogen Cunningham is best known for her botanical photography, though she also produced images of nudes, industrial landscapes, and street scenes. After studying photography in Germany, Cunningham opened a portrait studio in Seattle, producing soft-focus allegorical prints in the tradition of Pictorialism—a style of photography influenced by academic painting from the turn of the century—as well as portraiture. From the early 1920s she began to take close-up, sharply detailed studies of plant life and other natural forms, including a two-year-long, in-depth study of the magnolia flower. In 1932 she joined an association of West Coast modernist photographers known as f64, rejecting sentimental soft-focus subjects in favor of greater sensuousness. Cunningham was also interested in human subjects and frequently took pictures of the hands of musicians and artists. Edward Weston was a supporter of her work, and she associated at various times with other iconic 20th-century photographers, including Ansel Adams, Minor White, and Dorothea Lange.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 9 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
The Guardian
Biography

One of the first professional female photographers in America, Imogen Cunningham is best known for her botanical photography, though she also produced images of nudes, industrial landscapes, and street scenes. After studying photography in Germany, Cunningham opened a portrait studio in Seattle, producing soft-focus allegorical prints in the tradition of Pictorialism—a style of photography influenced by academic painting from the turn of the century—as well as portraiture. From the early 1920s she began to take close-up, sharply detailed studies of plant life and other natural forms, including a two-year-long, in-depth study of the magnolia flower. In 1932 she joined an association of West Coast modernist photographers known as f64, rejecting sentimental soft-focus subjects in favor of greater sensuousness. Cunningham was also interested in human subjects and frequently took pictures of the hands of musicians and artists. Edward Weston was a supporter of her work, and she associated at various times with other iconic 20th-century photographers, including Ansel Adams, Minor White, and Dorothea Lange.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 9 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
The Guardian
Articles Featuring Imogen Cunningham
Why Imogen Cunningham’s Light-Filled Photographs Are So Soothing Right Now
Apr 12th, 2020
Why Imogen Cunningham’s Light-Filled Photographs Are So Soothing Right Now
From Van Gogh to O’Keeffe, Art History’s Most Famous Flowers
Jul 1st, 2017
From Van Gogh to O’Keeffe, Art History’s Most Famous Flowers
10 Photographers Who Captured the Changing Face of San Francisco
Jun 21st, 2016
10 Photographers Who Captured the Changing Face of San Francisco
11 Women Photographers Who Shaped the Medium
Nov 19th, 2015
11 Women Photographers Who Shaped the Medium
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