Volume 2:2 Spring, 2007
 

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The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.

-Dorothea Lange

 

Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) An American Master  

There are many schools of painting. Why should there not be many schools of photographic art? There is hardly a right and a wrong in these matters, but there is truth, and that should form the basis of all works of art.

Alfred Stieglitz, American Amateur Photographer, 1893

 

  The Terminal, 1892

   In many respects, Alfred Stieglitz may be said to be the father of modern photography. Stieglitz and his wife, renown artist Georgia O'Keefe (who also often served as his model) developed a new genre of American art. In addtion to his own artistic efforts, Stieglitz founded the famous '291' Gallery in New York, a place that served as the first American home for some the great works of August Rodin, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso as well as the showplace for american artists like John Marin, Edward Steichen and Clarence White.

Winter, Fifth Avenue, 1892

This image represents an early effort by Stieglitz in stop action photography in order to capture the feeling of the driving snow and the carriage in motion. He spent more than three hours in a blizzard to capture this picture.

  The Steeridge, 1907

The Steeridge was a pivotal image for Stieglitz and for the budding awareness of photography as an art form. As Stieglitz wrote: “The scene fascinated me: A round straw hat; the funnel leaning left, the stairway leaning right; the white drawbridge, its railings made of chain; white suspenders crossed on the back of a man below; circular iron machinery; a mast that cut into the sky, completing the triangle. I stood spellbound for a while. I saw shapes related to one another–a picture of shapes, and underlying it, a new vision that held me: simple people; the feeling of ship, ocean, sky . . .” (Weston Naef, ed., In Focus: Alfred Stieglitz, 1995)

Georgia O'Keefe, 1919 (image removed)

   As a couple, Stieglitz and O'Keefe may have been the premiere combination of artistic genius in the 20th century. Stieglitz made countless images of his wife,

many of which are today considered among his finest works.

Georgia O'Keefe, hands, 1920

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Previous Issues
 
An Imogen Cunningham Retrospective

                          Callas, 1928

Everybody who does anything for the public can be criticized. There's always someone who doesn't like it.  

                                    -Imogen Cunningham

Imogen & Twinka (1976) - by Judy Dater (image removed)

   I never met Imogen Cunningham (at left in photo) but I got the chance to meet Judy Dater, who took the above image not long before Ms. Cunningham passed away. Dater described the great Ms. Cunningham as a genius with a whimsical air. And she seems to have captured both in her popular portrait of the legendary photographer, rounding a tree as if simultaneously expectant, analytical, and slightly surprised to discover her model ready to be photographed.

   Cunningham (1883-1976) is acknowledged as one of the giants of American photography. Her work is in museums and private collections around the world. Solo exhibitions, the first in the Brooklyn Museum and the Portland Art Museum in 1914, have continued to this day. Books, catalogues, and articles about her and her work are extensive. A 1988 Oscar-nominated film, ‘Portrait of Imogen,’ made by her granddaughter, Meg Partridge, has won numerous awards in the United States and abroad and is in wide circulation.

     Self Portrait - 1915

   Cunningham ordered her first camera from a correspondence school during her student years at the University of Washington. Her father, who had always encouraged her interest in the arts and literature, was dismayed at her determination to be a ‘dirty photographer.’ Despite these feelings, he helped her build a darkroom in the family woodshed and equipped it with a candle-lit safelight. It was the first in a seventy-year series of cramped, inadequate darkrooms.

     Magnolia, 1920

   Cunningham had often said that she could photograph anything exposed to light, and this ability led her to photograph the plants she tended while she cared for her three very young sons. She photographed the guests she entertained as a faculty wife, the professors, the students, the visiting performance artists and musicians, and her friends. Although her private correspondence, now in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution, reflects her serious difficulties during these years with the transition from a successful young professional to a house-bound wife, many of these photographs are regarded as some of her most important work.

    Two Callas, 1925

   A number of years later, she joined with several Bay Area photographers sharing a mutual ideology to form Group f.64. Named after the smallest aperature of a camera, the founding members included Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Willard Van Dyke. While short-lived, the work of Group f.64 remains a major influence on photography today.

  As her boys grew older and self-sufficient, Cunningham began to work away from home. An occasional assignment for Vanity Fair in Hollywood led to a proposal to spend a month in New York and to a divorce from an uncooperative husband. She returned home and supported herself with her portrait commissions, sales of her early plant photographs, interior design work, and teaching at the California School of Fine Arts.

Despite her experimentation with different photographic methods throughout her career, her perspectives remained consistently unique. She was still photographing until a few days before her death in 1976 at the age of 94.

(credits: The Imogen Cunningham Trust & 123artists.com).

   One of her most famous photographs is titled The Unmade Bed (1957). Ever since I saw it for the first time, thirty years ago, it has left an unforgettable impression on me.

 

 

 

 

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Summer, 2006

 

 
An Edward Weston Retrospective - The Nude - 1920-1945

 

The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.

                                                                                                    -Edward Weston

 


  

   Edward Weston, one of the great American photographers of the first half of the Twentieth Century, created a significant portfolio of nudes. The National Literary Review is pleased to present eleven of Weston's images in this retrospective. Of particular interest is the evolution of Weston's work with female nudes across a quarter century. His daybooks reflect a deep interest in the sensuous curves of the human body, which he explored, intentionally or not, through his startling series of images of peppers. He claims he was astonished by other's inclination to draw comparisons between his peppers and his nudes. Still, he acknowledged his fascination with the senuous quality of the vegtables he photographed during the same period he was also focusing on unadorned bodies. 

   The following information on Weston was gleaned from the family website which we encourage you to visit at: www.edward-weston.com. The material was prepared by his son Cole.

Born Edward Henry Weston, March 24, 1886, in Highland Park, Illinois. In 1912, Weston met photographer Margrethe Mather in his Tropico, California studio. Mather becomes his studio assistant and most frequent model for the next decade. Mather had a very strong influence on Weston. He would later call her, “the first important woman in my life.” Weston began keeping journals in 1915 that came to be known as his "Daybooks." They would chronicle his life and photographic development into the 1930’s.
    In 1922 Weston traveled to New York City where he met Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keefe. A year later, he moved to Mexico City where he opened a photographic studio with his apprentice and lover Tina Modotti. In Mexico, Weston became friends with Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco hailed Weston as the master of 20th century art. After moving back to California in 1926, Weston began his work for which he is most deservedly famous: natural forms, close-ups, nudes, and landscapes. 
    Weston began experiencing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in 1946 and in 1948 shot his last photograph of Point Lobos. Edward Weston died on January 1, 1958 at his home, Wildcat Hill, in Carmel, California. Weston's ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean at Pebbly Beach at Point Lobos.


Photograph:Pepper, gelatin silver print by Edward Weston, 1930; in the Art Institute of Chicago.  

 

 

Note: Certain images have been removed from this site because of the unfortunate belief by a minority that these Weston's nudes may offend the sensibilities of those who remain uncomfortable with portrayals of uncovered bodies. - Jane Dakota, New Editor

                                                  Breast 1920 (removed)

                                                    Nude Mexico 1923 (removed)

Nude 1925 (removed)
 

Torso 1925

Dancer 1927

Nude 1936

Nude, 1939

 

Nude Floating 1939

 

                                                              Spring 1943

 

                                                                                  Winter Idyll 1945

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Archive: Spring, 2006

The following four photographs are by Tracy M. Rogers, creator/editor of The Aurora Review - www.theaurorareview.com. Ms. Rogers is a writer, photographer and music critic. Her work has appeared

in several literary journals including Prism Quarterly (poetry) and The Pebble Lake Review (photography.)

We are pleased to present these examples of her work here.

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Current Issue Photographs: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ]
[ Photography Archives ]

 

Tracy M. Rogers #1

 

 

Tracy M. Rogers #2

 

Tracy M. Rogers #3

 

 

 

Tracy M. Rogers 4

 

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