Friday, July 30, 2010

Imogen Cunningham [Historical Photographer]

Imogen Cunningham, born in 1883, was a scientist at heart. She owned her first camera at the age of 18, but realized that her passion was for chemistry. To balance the two, Cunningham became interested in the science of photography. Unlike most other photographers, she focused more on the darkroom side of photography than the composition or actual picture taking. Cunningham photographed a lot of the plants for the botanical department at her university. She later moved on to portrait photography and then did a little bit of street shots.

Although it was said she focused more on the darkroom process, the compositions were still notable. This composition is good because it fills the space nicely. It also has a good range of black, greys, and white.
Magnolia Blossom, 1924

This portrait is successful for several reasons. Cunningham used side lighting to illuminate one side of her face. This gives her a sort of mysterious look. In addition, the black background draws the focus entirely to her, which is the point of portraiture. The details of her jewelry and clothing are not lost.

Frida Kahlo, 1931

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