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Imogen Cunningham: Flora
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Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) was a pioneer of modern twentieth-century photography, an artist whose work significantly contributed to the acceptance of the medium as an art form. This volume offers the first retrospective examination of her life's work, which spanned some seventy years, and features many previously unpublished, remarkable images. This definitive review is drawn primarily from Cunningham's archives at the Imogen Cunningham Trust, the most complete collection of her prints and negatives in the world.As an early but undeclared feminist, Cunningham was one of the first women to make a successful living as a photographer. She established a professional studio in Seattle in 1910, and during this early period, she created not only commercial portraiture but a body of pictorialist imagery often based on poetic and allegorical themes - although her use of nude male and female figures was considered scandalous. After moving to California in 1917, Cunningham developed a keener, more penetrating vision, exemplified by her botanical and nude figure studies of the 1920s. Her experiments with multiple imagery and double exposure throughout the 1920s and 1930s defined her as the most sophisticated, experimental, and Europe-oriented photographer on the West Coast.Imogen Cunningham chronicles the photographer's friendships with Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, and Dorothea Lange, as well as her portrait sessions with leading artists, musicians, and dancers. Her stylistic evolution toward a humanistic, documentary street photography and the development of her signature environmental portraiture are well illustrated by many compelling and eloquent images. More than 120 duotone plates reveal the extraordinary and eclectic range of her landscapes, architectural studies, still lifes, and portraiture. By the time of her death in 1976 at the age of ninety-three, Cunningham had become a living legend. Photography had come to be taken as a serious art form, and Imogen was its reigning queen. The images in this book form a testament to her life's work, her spirit, and her complex vision.
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