Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Imogen Cunningham Portrait

Imogen Cunningham

Born:
Portland, Oregon 1883

Died:
San Francisco, California 1976

Active in:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Oakland, California

Photo Caption:
Imogen Cunningham, Self Portrait, 1915, platinum print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase from the Charles Isaacs Collection made possible in part by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1994.91.41.

Biography

Cunningham posed for this portrait at the age of thirty-two, with her new husband, Roi Partridge, tripping the camera's shutter. In this darkly toned platinum print, she has the appearance of a character from an ancient Celtic myth, but, in fact, Cunningham had less fanciful concerns as a photographer. Using a photographic style considered artistic in the early years of the twentieth century, she presented a portrait of the artist, determined in demeanor and confident of her talent. By the time of World War I, Pictorialism had run its course. Cunningham went on to become a member of the California-based group f/64, known for its dedication to the sharp-focus rendition of simple subjects.

Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)