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Biographies of Selected Photographers from the 20th Century - A-K, L-P, R-Z, ABBOTT, BERENICE (1898–1991) American

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Editor’s note: The following pages include an alphabetical listing sharing over 250 short biographies of some of last century’s most influential photographers. These entries were compiled by authors and photographers Robert Hirsch, Ken White, and Garie Waltzer. This selection concentrates on image-makers rather than related influential individuals such as authors, curators, editors, educators, or inventors. Determining which photographers were included was left up to the discretion of each author with the guideline of selecting those key individuals who in effect represent a larger group of practice or ideas. The biographies indicate what a given photographer accomplished and why it is considered of importance. Additionally, at least one significant publication from each photographer was referenced. The decision to include such a small reference of people’s work was influenced by the limitations of the book’s size and the sheer numbers of some of the photographer’s publications.


Independent Scholar and Writer


Rochester Institute of Technology


Photographer and Consultant

ABBOTT, BERENICE (1898–1991) American

Man Ray’s Paris assistant. She met Atget just before his death in 1927, subsequently rescuing and promoting his photographs. Opened a New York studio in 1929 and used an 8 × 10 inch camera to create a photographic record of the city that fused Atget’s unadorned realism with the playfulness and humor of her Parisian modernist experience. Stylistically, she worked from many viewpoints often cropping her prints to manifest the chaotic and complex relationship of beauty and decay within an urban environment.


Abbott, B. (1939). Changing New York . New York: E. P. Dutton.

ADAMS, ANSEL (1902–1984) American

Through his writings, environmental activism, and photographs, Adams’s images are seen as the quintessential pictorial expression of the American Western landscape, a site of inspiration and redemptive power to be preserved. Adams’ visual power came from an awareness of light’s changing nature and its movement within the landscape. With the help of Fred Archer (1888–1963), he developed the Zone System in the late 1930s, adopting the science of sensitometry to a system of tonal visualization of the image. Adams compared the negative to a musical score and the print to its performance. Images like Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941) utilized the straight photographic precepts of Group/64 not to simply document, but to convey a transcendental sense of optimism about the vanishing pristine space of the American West. His book, Born Free and Equal (1944), testifies to the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. By the 1960s, the accessibility of Adams’ images, the respect for his technical brilliance, and the ability of his work to command higher prices helped photography reach a broader range of venues.


Adams, A. (1985). An Autobiography . Boston: Little, Brown.

Szarkowski, J. (2001). Adams at 100 . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

ADAMS, (EDDIE) EDWARD T. (1934–2004) American

Over a 45-year career in photojournalism, during which he covered 13 wars and was regularly published worldwide, Adams was renowned for his Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of a South Vietnamese general firing a bullet into a suspected Vietcong prisoner’s head that took on mythical proportions in the public’s memory. With his hands tied behind his back, the victim’s contorted face at the instant of death transformed the event and became a symbol summarizing the bitter Vietnam legacy.


Image: Eddie Adams. Saigon, 1968. (General Loan executing prisoner).

ADAMS, ROBERT (1937) American

Adams’ “New West” photographs express the diverse interaction between culture and nature. His minimal landscapes acknowledge that the beauty, grace, and order of the open American West has been obscured by the confusing commercial disorder of freeways, road signs, strip malls, and tract and trailer homes. This New Topographics outlook refers to the human-altered landscape characteristic of photographers who sought a contemporary landscape aesthetic dealing with those living in it without the romantic notions of the picturesque or the sublime.


Adams, R. (1974). The New West: Landscape Along the Colorado Front Range . The Colorado Associated University Press.

ARBUS, DIANE NEMEROV (1923–1971) American

In her teens, Arbus worked in fashion photography with husband Allan Arbus, eventually being hired by Harper’s Bazaar . Studying with Lisette Model (1955–1957) produced a profound shift in her work. Arbus pioneered a confrontational street style that relied on frontal light and often a flash to sharply depict people who seemed willing to reveal their hidden selves for the camera. Accused of appealing to peoples’ voyeuristic nature, Arbus believed that “a photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” Her curiosity led her to unblinkingly photograph people at the margins of society making images not of them as individuals but as archetypes of human circumstance. Controversy followed Arbus as she broke down public personas by pushing the boundaries of what was permissible and heroically visualizing her subjects. Arbus’ final series of retardates, whose being and
identity take us to an edge of human experience, created a sensation by challenging the definition of self and confronting viewers with the “secret” fact that nobody is “normal.”


Bosworth, P. (1984). Diane Arbus: A Biography . New York: Knopf.

Phillips, S. S. et al. (2003). Diane Arbus Revelations . New York: Random House.v


From 1897 until his death, Atget created a massive methodical photographic survey of over 10,000 images of the old quarters of Paris and its surrounding parks with an outmoded wooden view-camera, often using a wide-angle lens that did not match the camera format. Atget scratched out a living selling contact prints to artists, made from his glass plate negatives on printing-out paper and toned with gold chloride. Atget’s empirical observations of a pre-modern Paris are as much about the psychological nature of time as they are an extended architectural study. The surrealists saw Atget as a primitive in touch with his unconscious self: his storefront pictures of mannequins, window reflections, and odd juxtapositions of objects could distort time, space, and scale so that they appeared to have emerged from a dream. The value of his work was recognized only after his death when his glass plates and prints were rescued and promoted by Berenice Abbott.


Szarkowski, J. and Hambourg, M. M. (1981, 1982, 1983, 1985). The Work of Atget , 4 Vols. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

AVEDON, RICHARD (1923–2004) American

Closely working with his mentor, Brodovitch, at Harper’s Bazaar (1945–1965), Avedon became a dominant practitioner of fashion photography. He opened the Richard Avedon Studio in New York City in 1946 and was a staff photographer for Vogue (1966–1990), and The New Yorker (1992–2004). His large format studio portraits isolated people from their environment by placing them in a white seamless void. Avedon’s style embraced the minute details of the terrain of the human face and not the idealization of the sitter, reading more like topographic maps than traditional portraits.


Hambourg, M. M. (2002). Richard Avedon Portraits . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

BALDESSARI, JOHN (1931) American

Baldessari breaks down photography’s boundaries by playfully commingling mediums to court ambiguity and the dualities of chaos and order and to free himself from the classic artistic expectation of organizing the world and giving it a defined, narrative structure. Baldessari appropriates images from popular culture, especially Hollywood film stills, taking the existential position that the act of making choices along with their accompanying chance occurrences is what makes life and art authentic.


Baldessari, J. (2005). John Baldessari: Life’s Balance; Works 84-04 . Köln: Verlag Der Buchhandlung Walther Konig.

BALTZ, LEWIS (1945) American

Baltz’s New Topographics approach is emblemized in The New Industrial Parks near Irvine California (1974), a detached, minimalist social critique of the desolate sites of the contemporary urban/suburban landscape. Utilizing formalism to order and repossess a bland, mundane subject, his sophisticated, unemotional, conceptually based distancing strategy symbolically communicates an ever-present, dehumanized, placeless corporate warehouse sense of place that was rolling over California’s then still-agrarian terrain.


Rian, J. (2001). Lewis Baltz . New York: Phaidon Press.

BARROW, THOMAS (1938) American

Barrow worked with numerous experimental processes that pried the photograph away as an automatic witness. In his Cancellation series (1974–1978), Barrow slashed an “X” onto the negative to point out that regardless of how much empirical data is knowable, reality remains a makeshift combination of belief, ignorance, and knowledge. Barrow also agitated the flat surface of the fine photographic print by adding caulk, spray paint, and staples. His multi-layered actions signal his dissatisfaction with the straight print and the machinelike, spiritual detachment of the photographic process and provided a challenging model dealing with the complexity and the difficultly of deciphering any image. For Barrow photographic data is a jumping-off spot, as the immaculate print is discarded in the conviction that artistic response lies beyond the pictorial vision of the lens.


McCarthy Gauss, K. (1986). Inventories and Transformations: The Photographs of Thomas Barrow . Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

BECHER, BERND (1931) and HILLA (1934) German

Collaborating since the late 1950s to document industrial structures like blast furnaces, grain elevators, and water towers as archetypes. Their dispassionate photographs are organized into a series based on functional typologies and arranged into grids or rows. This reinforces the comparative sculptural properties of their subjects, which they refer to as “anonymous sculptures” and allows for an empirical cataloging of forms by function for the purpose of creating a new grammar so people can understand and compare different structures. They have been highly influential teachers and their students include Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth.


Becher, B. and Hilla (2002). Industrial Landscapes . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Becher, B. and Hilla (2004). Typologies of Industrial Buildings . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

BELLMER, HANS (1902–1975) German

Influenced by surrealism, Bellmer used sexually taboo imagery to symbolize and protest Nazi German society of the 1930s. Bellmer fabricated a life-size doll of a pubescent girl to make ambiguously erotic and jarring tableaus. Published as an artists’ book, Bellmer’s hand-colored photographs contrasted Nazism’s mythic, utopian celebration of youth with the reality that it fostered abuse, decay, and death.

BELLOCQ, E. J. (JOHN ERNST JOSEPH) (1873–1949) American

A New Orleans commercial photographer whose visual explorations of the forbidden world of prostitutes have inspired films, novels, and poems. After his death most of his work was destroyed, but his whole plate glass negatives of the Storyville red light district were later found and acquired and printed by Lee Friedlander. These surviving plates convey a relaxed sense of complicity between the male gaze and the female sitter while examining the shroud of languor and suppressed desire in a manner not possible before photography.


Szarkowski, J. (ed.) (1912). E. J. Bellocq: Storyville Portraits: Photographs from the New Orleans Red-Light District , circa 1912. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1970.

BERNHARD, RUTH (1905) American

In 1930, learned photography and became a successful advertising photographer in New York. Met Edward Weston (1935) and moved to California, opening a portrait studio. Known for her superbly controlled studio compositions, sensually cast in glowing light and shade of young, nude female bodies, personifying classical, sculptural ideals of beauty. Taught thousands of students through workshops worldwide.


Mitchell, M. and Bernhard, R. (1986). The Eternal Body . Carmel: Photography West Graphics.

BLOSSFELDT, KARL (1865–1932) German

For over 30 years, Blossfeldt produced thousands of sharp-focus, black and white, close-up details of plant forms, frontally or from above, against neutral white or gray backgrounds, to reveal the elementary structures of the natural world and their relation to artistic form. By isolating and enlarging discrete portions of a subject—the characteristics, details, patterns, and textures that would otherwise go unobserved by human vision or conventional photography—Blossfeldt made the imperceptible perceptible. His book Urformen der Kunst (Archetypes of Art , 1928), became a landmark of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity).


Blossfeldt, K. (1998). Natural Art Forms: 120 Classic Photographs . Mineola, NY: Dover.

BOUGHTON, ALICE (1865–1943) American

Trained in Gertrude Käsebier’s studio. Highly regarded portraitist known for her illustrative and romantic images, often celebrating the beauty of young women. Member of Photo-Secession. Exhibited at 291 and published in Camera Work (1909). She wrote that good portrait photographers must have tact, social instinct, and infinite patience. Her book, Photographing the Famous (1928), included portraits of notables such as Maxim Gorky, Henry James, and William Butler Yeats.

BOURKE-WHITE, MARGARET (1904–1971) American

Studied photography with Clarence White. First staff photographer for Fortune (1929), specializing in factories and machines. One of the original four staff photographers for LIFE (1933), where she produced the cover for its first 1936 issue, the Fort Peck Dam, Montana. Her photographs were included in Erskine Caldwell’s You Have Seen Their Faces (1937), a gritty document of the Depression in the South. First official World War II woman military photographer, providing coverage from the German attack into Russia (1941) to the liberation of Buchenwald (1945). Continued working for LIFE into the 1950s, documenting the world from India during and after Gandhi to the mines of South Africa.


Callahan, S. (1998). Margaret Bourke-White: Photographer . Boston: Bulfinch.

Goldberg, V. (1987). Margaret Bourke-White . Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

BRAGAGLIA, ANTON GIULIO (1890–1960) and ARTURO (1893–1962) Italian

Influenced by futurism, the Bragaglia brothers made photographs of moving figures that blurred the intermediate phases of the motion by having their subjects move while the camera lens remained open. Their blurry depictions connected the science of positivism with transcendental idealism, suggesting that beyond the visible lay a recordable dynamic of continuous movement at play. Anton’s theoretical manifesto, Futurist Photodynamism (1911), claimed to free photography from brutal realism and instantaneity through movementalism—recording “the dynamic sensation of movement and its scientifically true shape, even in dematerialization.”


Influenced by the surrealists and became Man Ray’s assistant (1929). Freelanced for Lilliput and Harper’s Bazaar . During the Depression Brandt re-created scenarios he had witnessed of upper- and working-class people that showed the divisions of English social class. These docudramas, published in The English at Home (1936), A Night in London (1938), and Camera in London (1948), were expressionistic interpretations rather than reportage. In the 1950s Brandt used a pinhole camera to exaggerate perspective to create formal, high-contrast, often grainy, black and white prints of statuesque female nudes, reminiscent of El Greco, and eerily atmospheric landscapes possessing an ambiance of a troubled dream to poetically explore the anxiety of the new atomic era.


Delany, P. (2004). Bill Brandt: A Life . Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Jay, B. (1999). Brandt . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

BRASSAÏ (GYULA HALÀSZ) (1899–1984) French

Motivated by Kertész and influenced by the surrealists, Brassaï contrived stylized tableaus of risqué Paris night life that revealed the subconscious “social fantastic,” a place of the erotic and dangerous that lay outside of mainstream society. Dubbed “The Eye of Paris,” Brassaï subjects re-enacted their concealed activities for his camera and flash, delivering a theatrical version of a candid moment that demystified and humanized the people from the world of night.


Paris at Night. (1976). Paris: Arts et Metiers Graphiques, 1933; The Secret Paris of the 30s . New York: Pantheon.

BRAVO, ALVAREZ MANUAL (1902–2002) Mexican

Coming from a family of artists, Bravo was encouraged in the late 1920s by Tina Modotti and Edward Weston to pursue photography. After meeting André Breton in 1938, he used surrealism to combine fantasy and Mexican societal customs. In enigmatic tableaux that often expressed anguish and irony, Bravo psychologically explored the interaction of Catholicism, peasant life, death, sexuality, and dreams. Bravo worked as a cinematographer (1943–1959) and was co-founder (1959) and director of El Fondo Editorial de la Plastica Mexicana, publishers of fine arts books.


Kismaric, S. (1997). Manuel Alvarez Bravo . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

La Buena Fama Durmiendo, 1939 (GEH).

BRIGMAN, ANNE (1869–1950) American

Actress, photographer, and champion of woman’s rights, who separated from her husband to “work out my destiny.” Brigman received acclaim and notoriety for her innovative interpretations of the female figure in nature, often inhabiting the landscape with her own nude body. Brigman’s interpretation of the landscape removed the female body from the gaze of a clothed man in the confines of his studio. She was one of the 21 women of the 105 members of the Photo-Secession. Her work appeared in three issues of Camera Work . She was elected to the British Linked Ring Society, and published a book of her poems and photographs ( Songs of a Pagan , 1950).


Ehrens, S. (1995). Anne Brigman. A Poetic Vision: The Photographs of Anne Brigman . Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

BRODOVITCH, ALEXEY (1898–1971) American

Pioneer of 20th century graphic design and highly influential art director of Harper’s Bazaar (1934–1958), who devised a new compositional structure for the printed page that envisioned layouts as single rectangles that spread over two pages. He experimented with type, illustrations, white space, bleed photographs, and montage to expand and control the visual pacing of time. As a designer, teacher, and employer, Brodovitch affected the photographic styles of Lisette Model, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895–1989), Hiro, and Robert Frank. Influenced business people who saw his trendsetting ideas in Harper’s Bazaar and imitated them.


Purcell, K. W. (2002). Alexey Brodovitch . New York: Phaidon Press.

BUBLEY, ESTER (1921–1998) American

Pioneer woman photojournalist, mentored by Roy Stryker on his ongoing document of American life, which he started at the FSA, moved to the Office of War Information, and continued after the war by Standard Oil of New Jersey. In a male-dominated arena, Bubley rose to the top through her ability to document the rapidly changing interaction of modern industry/technology with the lives of everyday people.


Yochelson, B. et al. (2005). Esther Bubley on Assignment . New York: Aperture.

BULLOCK, WYNN (1902–1975) American

Steichen selected Bullock’s psychologically based work as the opening piece to his humanistic exhibition, The Family of Man (1955), because he believed Bullock’s visual language united the natural environment with the abstract symbolism of the inner world in an accessible way. Although highly structured, the authority of Bullock’s images lies in their ambiguous temperament and their capability to express his belief that reality is constructed through personal experience.


(1971). Wynn Bullock . San Francisco: Scrimshaw Press.


Spent nine years covering the Vietnam War before being killed when his helicopter was shot down over Laos. Burrow’s groundbreaking serial use of color for Life was part of the wave of appalling images that invaded America’s living rooms (15 cover photographs). His brutal and poignant compositions plus his use of color, evoking a sense of Old Master paintings, bore witness to and became synonymous with a terrible war and the camera’s ability to not only create a myth, but to show its exhaustion.


Halberstam, D. (2002). Larry Burrows Vietnam . New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

BURSON, NANCY (1948) American

Exploring perception and the interaction of art and science, Burson uses digital morphing technology to create images of people who never existed, such as composite person made up of Caucasian, Negroid, and Oriental features. Such images have no original physical body and exist only as pictures, showing the unreliability of images. Her work involving the unseen has enabled law enforcement officials to locate missing people; examined beauty, deformity, and gender; and allowed viewers to see themselves as a different race.


Burson, N. and Sand, M. L. (2002). Seeing and Believing: The Art of Nancy Burson . Santa Fe: Twin Palms Publishers.

CALLAHAN, HARRY (1912–1999) American

Influenced by Ansel Adams, with Arthur Siegel (1913–1978), and Aaron Siskind, developed and taught an influential, expressive photography program at Chicago’s Institute of Design (1946–1961) and later at Rhode Island School of Design (1964–1977). Covering themes from his daily life, such as his wife and daughter, the city, and the landscape, Callahan intuitively infused his elegant photographs with a sophisticated sense of grace that was simultaneously distant and personal. His spare, abstract, black and white compositions reflect his Bauhaus training in design and form, but he also worked later in life exclusively in color. Callahan’s appeal was because he was a doer and not a talker, concerned with what he called “the standard photographic problems,” such as composition, contrast, focus, motion, and multiple exposures. “Because I love photography so much I was a successful teacher, although I never knew what or how to teach. It’s the same with my photography. I just don’t know why I take the pictures I do.”


Greenough, S. (1996). Harry Callahan . Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.

Szarkowski, J. (ed.) (1976). Callahan . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

CAPA, ROBERT (ANDRÉ FRIEDMANN) (1913–1954) Hungarian/American

Perceptive photographer who inspired humanist photojournalism later championed and known as “Concerned Photography.” Photographed the Spanish Civil War, the Japanese invasion of China, World War II, Israeli independence, and the Indochina (Vietnam) War where he was killed by a landmine. Key co-founder with Cartier-Bresson of Magnum Photos (1947). Stated, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” A self-declared “gambler,” Capa went in on the first wave of the 1944 D-Day invasion, only to have all but eight of his exposures ruined by a London darkroom assistant. Capa was so animated he often made exposures more rapidly than his camera’s fastest shutter speed. These blurry and grainy images, such as the Death of the Loyalist Soldier (1936), give the sense that Capa could see events that occurred even too quickly for a camera to record.


Capa, R. (1947). Slightly Out of Focus . New York: Henry Holt. Whelan, R. (2001). Robert Capa: The Definitive Collection . New York: Phaidon Press.

CAPONIGRO, PAUL (1932) American

A student of music and later of Minor White, Caponigro utilizes a large format view camera to celebrate Thoreau’s “tonic of wildness.” His gorgeous, high modernist landscapes (from New England’s woodlands to Stonehenge), reflect an internal universe of beauty and mystery that examine the human relationship to nature to reveal “the landscape behind the landscape.”


Caponigro, P. (1983). The Wise Silence . Boston: New York Graphic Society.

CARTIER-BRESSON, HENRI (1908–2004) French

A painter influenced by surrealism purchased a 35 mm Leica camera in 1931, which led him to photograph the world and develop a street photography style called the “Decisive Moment”—"the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as a precise organization of forms which gave that event its proper expression." This watchfulness for peak moments, when the formal spatial relationships of the subjects reveal their essential meaning, defined and shaped the modernist, small-camera aesthetic of intuitively anticipating when an element of life opens for an instant and defines itself. His full-frame aesthetic, a scene completely visualized at the time of exposure, separated the mental act of seeing from the physical craft of photography. His stripped-down photographic grammar shunned fine print axioms in favor of a direct application of materials and process, which was ideal for photographers who traveled and made their living by having their work reproduced in magazines and newspapers. Co-founder with R. Capa of the photographic cooperative Magnum (1947).


Arbaizar, P. et al. (2003). Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Man, the Image and the World: A Retrospective . New York: Thames & Hudson.

CHIARENZA, CARL (1935) American

Founding member of the Association of Heliographers, a nonprofit photography cooperative (1963–1965) with Walter Chappell, Paul Caponigro, Nicholas Dean, Paul Petricone, Marie Cosindas, and William Clift, who believed photography could transcend a subject and evolve emotional responses to it. Chiarenza went on to construct collages of scrap materials for the purpose of being photographed. His meditative symbols forge a connection between the mind and nature that elicit inner emotional states. This work, often related to the landscape, deconstructs formal media boundaries and permits photography to merge with graphic design, painting, and sculpture. Conceptually Chiarenza states photography is a process of transformation and its illusional qualities draw attention to the difference between a photograph and the reality it depicts, reminding viewers photographs are constructed images and not concrete realities. He is also a photo-historian noted for the critical biography, Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors (Little, Brown, Boston, 1982).


Chiarenza, C. (1988). Chiarenza: Landscapes of the Mind, Essays, Chronology, Bibliography, Etc. , by E. Jussim, et al. Boston: David R. Godine.

Chiarenza, C. (2002). Chiarenza: Evocations , with poetry by Robert Koch. Tucson, AZ: Nazraeli Press.

Chiarenza, C. (2005). The Peace Warriors of 2003 . Tucson, AZ: Nazraeli Press. With original print on the cover. Signed Edition of 500.

Chiarenza, C. (2005). Solitudes . Ottsville, PA: Lodima Press.

CLARK, LARRY (1943) American

Clark’s tumultuous life is mirrored in his books, Tulsa (1971) and Teenage Lust (1983) plus movies such as Kids (1996). His photographs provide an insider’s look into the male adolescent netherworld of drugs, guns, and sex without excuses or righteous statements. Clark dispenses with conventional artifice and interjects his own presence, voyeuristically steering viewers through a sexually charged but abjectly unromantic underside of youth culture. Indirectly the work explores how children from dysfunctional families construct their identity. The shocking and often unforgettable images candidly raise the issues of pornography and censorship and masculinity and teen violence.

CLOSE, CHUCK (1940) American

Close’s mural size, hyper-real painted head portraits based on photographs that were gridded onto canvas, simultaneously replicate the authenticity of a photograph while undermining its objectivity. These works exemplify the overwhelming influence that photography’s indexical qualities have had on the arts and our culture in terms of both the process of seeing the creative process.


Shorr, R. et al. (1998). Chuck Close . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

COBURN, ALVIN LANGDON (1882–1966) British

A member of the Linked Ring (1903) and the Photo-Secession, Coburn helped connect the European and American pictorial movements. His early work, influenced by Whistler, was soft-focus. Published Men of Mark in 1913, a significant volume of artists and writers portraits. In The Octopus (1912), he moved toward modernism by making pure form the content of the image through his use of aerial perspective, eliminating unwanted detail, and banishing the familiar, inviting viewers to celebrate formalistic beauty rather than the photographic impulse to identify and name subjects. In 1917 Coburn made abstract portrait photographs called “vortographs” by using a
mirrored prism in front of the lens to distort, flatten, multiply, and transform his subject into a two-dimensional form, thus articulating how a photograph could be both subjective and objective.


Weaver, M., Coburn, A. L. (1986). Symbalist , Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Coburn, A. L. (1966). Alvin Langdon Coburn, Photographer, An Autobiography . New York: Praeger.

COPLANS, JOHN (1920–2003) British

Coplans began photographing his aging when he was sixty-four. His formal, faceless close-ups of wrinkles, sags, and varicose veins are unrelenting and unsentimental reminders of diminishing capacity and mortality, visualizing unidealized conventions that a media-driven “youth culture” has repressed as too ugly to be seen. His looming, highly detailed images, in which the body becomes landscape, possess a sculptural quality and point out how the male body has been largely excluded from the modernist aesthetic.


Coplans, J. (2002). A Body . New York: PowerHouse Books.

CREWDSON, GREGORY (1962) American

Using elaborate Hollywood production methods, Crewdson’s stages condensed cinematic stills that explore the tension between domesticity and nature in suburban life, often with a Freudian twist. As a teacher, Crewdson has propagated the use of staged ingredients, resembling museum dioramas, which combine documentary and fictional components with an implicit sense of voyeurism. This results in a photographer who no longer passively experiences and edits the world, but is an active participant who creates a world and then photographs it.


Berg, S. (ed). (2005). Gregory Crewdson: 1985–2005 . Germany: Hatje Cantz Publishers.

CUNNINGHAM, IMOGEN (1883–1976) American

Inspired to take up photography in 1901 after seeing the work of Gertrude Käsebier, she learned platinum printing from Edward S. Curtis, eventually opening a portrait studio in Seattle (1910). Her first work was romantic, soft-focus portraits and nudes. After moving to San Francisco in 1917, she adopted modernism. Cunningham’s images came to reflect Group f/64’s credo (of which she was a founder) that the “greatest aesthetic beauty, the fullest power of expression, the real worth of the medium lies in its pure form rather than in its superficial modifications.” Her tightly rendered 1920s plant studies presents nature with machine precision or as sexual allusion, drawing sensual parallels to the female form that she explored through her long career. Although the picture is a faithful rendering of a plant, Cunningham’s concern was not the subject itself, but what the subject could become under the photographer’s control. She worked as a commercial photographer from the 1930s. Her last book, After Ninety (1979), was a sympathetic portrait collection of elderly people.


Dater, J. (1979). Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait . Boston: New York Graphic Society.

Lorenz, R. (1993). Imogen Cunningham: Ideas Without End: A Life and Photographs . San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

CURTIS, EDWARD SHERIFF (1868–1952) American

From 1900 to 1930, Curtis photographed about 80 Native American tribes of the Northwest, Southwest, and Great Plains, producing some 40,000 images, which resulted in The North American Indian (1907–1930). Curtis was not an objective documentarian. He suppressed evidence of assimilation and manipulated his images through romantic, soft-focus pictorial methods to create emotional and nostalgic views of the vanishing noble savage. Although criticized for treating native people as exotica, Curtis’ fabricated images provide the only evidence of artifacts, costumes, ceremonies, dances, and games of many tribes’ previous existence. Nobody wanted to look at the realism of reservation despair, but with the Native Americans’ complicity, Curtis used his narrative skills to recreate idealized symbols of a vanished time in the West and represent the timeless myth of the virtuous primitive.


Curtis, E. S. (1997). The North American Indian: The Complete Portfolio . New York: Köln: Taschen.

DAVIDSON, BRUCE (1933) American

A Magnum photographer since 1958, whose work exemplifies the personal style of “New Journalism,” which contains authentic details about people and their circumstances yet presents a highly subjective view of the situation being covered. Davidson’s early photo-essays about a circus midget, a New York City gang, and Spanish Harlem are indicative of his sympathetic representations of those who are not part of mainstream culture. His portraits reflect a direct, open approach of extended involvement and social conscience that relies on gaining the trust of his subjects so they might reveal unguarded moments to his camera.


Davidson, B. (1970). East 100th Street . Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

DE MEYER, BARON ADOLF (1868–1946) American

A pictorialist and member of the Linked Ring (1903). His photographs were exhibited by Stieglitz at 291. In 1911, the de Meyers promoted Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe in their first London appearance and de Meyer made his famous photographs of Nijinsky. From 1914 to 1935 he lived in America where he became the top fashion photographer. Also known for his portraits of celebrities for Vanity Fair, Vogue , and Harper’s Bazaar .


Brandau, R. (ed.) (1976). De Meyer . New York: Knopf.

DECARAVA, ROY (1919) American

Provided an insiders look into black Harlem life with a formal grace that blends social and personal identity. His understated approach relies on examining the small impediments that define people’s lives. His prints, whether of jazz musicians or tenement life, show the competing dynamism of darkness and light and the visible physical and invisible psychological forces that affect people. It contextualizes the racism that excluded most African Americans from the post-nuclear boom in the United States. First African American to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship (1952). Came into the public eye for The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955), in collaboration with writer Langston Hughes. Opened A Photographer’s Gallery in New York City (1955), an early effort to gain recognition for photography as an art. Ran the Kamoinge Workshop for young black photographers (1963–1966) and later taught at New York’s Hunter College.


Alinder, J. (ed.) (1981). Roy DeCarava, Photographs . Carmel, CA: The Friends of Photography.

DEMACHY, ROBERT (1859–1936) French

The leading French pictorialist, member of the Linked Ring, exhibitor at Stieglitz’ 291 gallery who championed the manipulated image with an outpouring of prints, lectures, and articles. Demachy’s diverse subject matter often reverberated with the impressionistic style and always revealed the hand of their maker. Technically brilliant, especially in gum bichromate printing, Demachy was disdainful of the clarity of detail and the automatic trace of reality of the “straight,” unmanipulated print and defended the painterly image arguing:

“A work of art must be a transcription, not a copy of nature … there is not a particle of art in the most beautiful scene of nature. The art is man’s alone, it is subjective not objective.”


Jay, B. (1974). Robert Demachy, 1859–1936 . New York: St. Martin’s Press.

diCORCIA, PHILIP-LORCA (1953) American

Representing a quintessential post-modern outlook, diCorcia meticulously photographs choreographed mundane and ambiguous scenes from daily life. Instead of capturing a moment, diCorcia reconfigures it and then permanently casts it. His strategy combines the documentary tradition with the fictional methods of advertising and cinema to fashion ironic links between reality, fantasy, and desire. His quiet, mysterious, cinematic narratives utilize saturated colors to create a psychological intensity, built by juxtaposing the spontaneity of the snapshot aesthetic with the formalism of a staged composition and the drama between artificial and natural lighting.


diCorcia, P.-L. and Galassi, P. (1995). Philip-Lorca diCorcia . New York: Museum of Modern Art; distributed by Abrams.

diCorcia, P.-L. (2003). A Storybook Life . Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms Publishers.

DISFARMER, MIKE (MIKE MEYERS) (1884–1959) American

A self-taught eccentric, photographer who set up a portrait studio in the small farming town of Heber Springs, Arkansas, and was not recognized in his lifetime. He claimed he was not a Meyer, but blown into the Meyer family by a tornado as a baby, hence the name change to “not a farmer.” His simultaneous familiarity and distance with this community enabled him to directly capture the essence of its people from 1939 until his death. By violating the etiquette of small town photographers, he allowed his subjects to simply be themselves before his camera. Favoring natural north light, simple backdrops, and a postcard format (3-1/2 × 5-1/2 inches), his portraits collectively present an utterly straightforward microcosm of anonymous rural people. When viewed outside of their original context, the images, resembling a naïve, mysterious, freewheeling blend of American Gothic, Arbus, Penn, and Sander, inadvertently pay tribute to a valuable service performed by small town photographers who documented daily life. A community member saved his glass negatives, leading to their belated public acclaim.


Scully, J. (2005). Disfarmer, the Heber Springs Portraits 1939–1946 . New York: powerhouse Books.

Woodward, R. B. (2005). Disfarmer: The Vintage Prints . New York: powerHouse Books.

DOISNEAU, ROBERT (1912) French

Doisneau was a Parisian street photographer whose work from the 1930s to the 1980s can be seen as a humanistic visual social history of the city and its people. Doisneau called himself a “fisher” of pictures, a picture hunter who captured his observations of Parisian culture by immersing himself into the stream of life. Problems arose when Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville, 1950, a.k.a. The Kiss, was published in Life as an “unposed” icon of street photography and young love and it turned out to be reconstructions of scenes he had witnessed but had not been able to record. By accepting Doisneau’s “unposed” picture his audience agreed to believe they were witnessing a scene from “real” life. Instead they were taken in by a docudrama. Doisneau’s subjective-documentary approach breached the collective trust between the photographer and the audience, eroding public belief in the photograph’s authenticity. It indicates seeing is not believing and that the age of the photograph being accepted as a non-fictional transcription of reality had to be rethought and seen instead as constructed fiction.


Doisneau, R. (1980). Three Seconds from Eternity . Boston: New York Graphic Society.

EDGERTON, HAROLD (1903–1990) American

A scientist who, in 1938, developed the electronic flash tube that emitted a brilliant light lasting less than one-millionth of a second and was capable of being fired rapidly to obtain multiple-image stroboscopic effects. Electronic flash photography is based upon his discoveries. Using the stroboscope, he explored the field of high-speed photography, becoming the first to make stop-action photographs of events unperceivable to the human eye. The formal compositions of ordinary subjects, such as a bullet exploding an apple, aroused wonder and crossed the borders of art, entertainment, and science, making the invisible visible and thereby expanding our notion of reality.


Jussim, E. (1987). Stopping Time, The Photographs of Harold Edgerton . New York: Abrams.

EGGLESTON, WILLIAM (1939) American

His exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1976, William Eggleston’s Guide, featuring lush dye-transfer prints of the banal made in the American South ushered in the acceptance of color photography as a fine art. By means of a sophisticated snapshot aesthetic, Eggleston uses color to describe scenes in psychological dimensions that makes everyday events look unusual. Initially criticized for making vulgar images of insignificant subjects, such as a light bulb or the inside of an oven, he promoted the notion that anything could be photographed by democratically filling the dull existential void of American culture with color. The skewed angles of his “shotgun” pictures, not using the camera’s viewfinder, helped to open the traditional “photographer’s eye” in terms of how images are composed and what is acceptable subject matter. In turn, this sparked questions about the interpretation and response viewers have to images, and what the role of makers is in educating their audience.


Eggleston, W. (2003). Los Alamos . New York. Scalo. Eggleston, W. (1976). William Eggleston’s Guide . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

EISENSTAEDT, ALFRED (1898–1995) American

German-born, an early photojournalist who in 1929 began working for the Associated Press in Berlin using a Leica and natural light. Emigrated to the United States in 1935 where the next year he became one of the original four staff photographers for Life . Eisenstaedt’s belief that his job was “to find and catch the storytelling moment,” made him a consummate LIFE photographer; contributing more than 2000 photo-essays and 90 cover images in real-time, assignment-driven situations.


Eisenstaedt, A. (1990). Eisenstaedt: Remembrances . Boston: Bulfinch.

Eisenstaedt, A. (1980). Witness to Our Time , rev. ed. New York: Viking.

ERWITT, ELLIOT (1928) American

A Magnum photographer known as the master of the “indecisive moment,” black and white images of animals and people, usually dogs. Erwitt has an instinctual knack for capturing the significance of the insignificant—the irrational absurdities, coincidences, and incongruities of daily life often with Chaplinesque humor.


Sayle, M. et al. (2003). Elliot Erwitt Snaps . New York: Phaidon Press.

EVANS, FREDERICK HENRY (1853–1943) English

Best known for his delicately toned and unmanipulated platinum photographs of English and French cathedrals which were recognized for their atmospheric effects and handling of depth, height, and mass. Also took many fine portraits of his artistic and literary friends. Promoted by Stieglitz, who devoted an entire issue of Camera Work to Evans in 1903 as “the greatest exponent of architectural photography.” A member of the Linked Ring and a purist who did not believe in retouching, Evans gave up photography when platinum paper became unaffordable after World War I.


Newhall, B. and Evans, F. H. (1973). Millerton, NY: Aperture.

EVANS, WALKER (1903–1975) American

The Godfather of large format American 20th century documentary photography, who was committed to straight, unadorned, black and white documentation. He established his
transparent, unheroic, clinical style as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration (1935–1938). His book American Photographs (1938) established the idea that looking at photographs in a book is fundamentally different than looking at photographs on the wall and that how the photographs were sequenced was critical in establishing meaning. It also revealed his affection for photographing signs (text), which often self-labeled the photograph. Evans’ self-effacing approach with its edge of pessimism, made people believe in the power of the plain photograph. His second book with James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), was illustrated with Evans’ unsentimental portraits of Alabama sharecroppers. His puritanical objectivity and economy of composition made the hardship of their situation self-evident yet preserved their dignity. From 1945 to 1965 he was a staff writer and photographer for Fortune .


Hambourg, M. M. et al. (2000). Walker Evans . Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Szarkowski, J. (1971). Walker Evans . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

FAURER, LOUIS (1916–2001) American

A photographer’s photographer who expanded the small camera aesthetic to reflect the energy of New York and Philadelphia street life. Although Faurer worked as a fashion photographer for nearly thirty years and is not widely known by the public, his psychologically charged and socially aware inner-city images were a major influence in the post-war New York street-photography movement. Faurer’s soulful black and white photographs, full of shadows and silhouettes, integrated the visual code of film noir with irony and juxtaposition to represent the instability of the rapidly shifting urban environment.


Wilkes Tucker, A. (2002). Louis Faurer . New York: Merrell.

FICHTER, ROBERT (1939) American

Fichter exemplifies a movement by a group of Rochester, New York, image-makers in the later 1960s that challenged accepted methods and philosophies of photographic presentation. This loose group included Tom Barrow, Betty Hahn, Bea Nettles, and Judy Harold-Steinhauser who also pushed the boundaries of conventional content as they often obtained critiques
of the media, the Vietnam War, and gender roles. Fichter, who studied with Jerry Uelsmann and Henry Holmes Smith, experimented with numerous alternative image-making methods including collage, cyanotype, plastic toy Diana camera, gum bichromate, hand-coloring, multiple exposure, Sabattier effect, and an old Verifax copy machine. This eclectic faction would have wide-ranging influence as they spread out and taught their alternative expressive approaches throughout the United States.

FLICK, ROBERT (1939) American

Flick’s black-and-white gridded landscapes challenged 1970s presumptions about photographic process, space, and time. Now Flick uses a video camera to record entire Los Angeles streets, which he then presents as mosaic-like sequences that recreate the fragmented Southern California experience of viewing the world from the driver’s seat. His visual development tracks both technological changes and the conceptual transition dealing with the discourse about interpretation, evaluation, and assessment of visual constructs that make up our notions of the landscape.


Flick, R. (2004). Trajectories . Steïdel: London.

FRAMPTON, HOLLIS (1936–1984) American

In his short film, Nostalgia (1971), Frampton transformed himself from a photographer into a filmmaker by upending the predictable narrative relationship between images and words by burning twelve still photographs and not having the narration match the photograph being depicted. This was part of a larger investigation in the early 1970s by many photographers, such as Lew Thomas (1932) and Jan Dibbets (1946), questioning the notion of a singular stable existence. Frampton is best known for the Vegetable Locomotion series (1975) he did with Marion Faller (1941) in which adjoining 35 mm frames with a gridded background were used to humorously explore real-time activity and pay homage to Eadweard Muybridge.


Moore, R. (2006). Hollis Frampton: Nostalgia . Cambridge: MIT Press.

FRANK, ROBERT (1924) American

The Americans (1958–1959), constructed from 800 rolls of 35mm film of Frank’s travels across the United States, became the seminal photographic publication for mid-twentieth century street photographers. Frank powered his book by arranging his images in sequences, which have completeness and make-up that no single image possesses. Part of the restless New York City Beat scene, the Swiss-born Jewish photographer had the astute ability of an outsider to critically examine booming post-WWII American culture and found a languor of alienation and loneliness. Open to possibilities, Frank was able to imagine photographs that nobody else had thought to make. Intuitively using a small Leica in available light situations as an extension of his body, he disregarded the photojournalistic standards of construction and content matter. Frank’s stealthful, disjointed form; his use of blur, grain, and movement; and his off-kilter compositions, became the emotional, unpicturesque, and gestural carrier of what would be the new 35 mm message: The freedom to discover new content and formal methods of making photographs.


Frank, R. (1972). The Lines of My Hand . Tokyo: Yugensha. Greenough, S. et al. (1994). Robert Frank: Moving Out . New York: Scalo Publishers.

FREUND, GISÈLE (1912–2000) German/French

Wrote the first Ph.D. thesis on photography. Known for her direct, naturalistic, tightly cropped portraits of France’s literati (from 1938 often taken in color) and published reportage in Life, Paris Match, Picture Post , and Vu magazines. Her expanded Ph.D. thesis was later published as Photography and Society , which examined the history of photography in terms of the social forces that produced and molded it.


Freund, G. (1980). Photography and Society . Boston: David R. Godine Publisher.

FRIEDLANDER, LEE (1934) American

In a stream of conscious that has spanned four decades and two-dozen books, Friedlander constructs an interior world that was not apparent until it was formally organized through his camera. The discontinuous urban landscape is raw material for a hybrid, formalized, and personalized aesthetic that reshaped American street photography. With satirical humor, Friedlander orders fragmented chaos to characterize his place within society as the defining concept of what he called “the American social landscape and its conditions.” The urban landscape becomes a stage for an investigation of the human presence within its enclosures, juxtapositions, and reflective and transparent surfaces that form overlapping realities within a single frame. His images within images approach involves an often extremely complex piecing together, a reading of all the interconnected parts and signs to determine meaning. Favoring the ordinary subjects from televisions to trees, Friedlander works in series to do away with their hierarchical ordering, thus making objects, people, places, and time interchangeable. He forces viewers to search for a lone, human presence, often Friedlander’s shadow (an assimilated Jew), which could be anyone’s shadow, in a desolate landscape from which God has vanished.


Friedlander, L. (1970). Self Portrait . New York: Haywire Press. Galassi, P. (2005). Friedlander . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

FUSS, ADAM (1961) British

In the gap between photography’s metaphorical and representational capabilities, Fuss utilizes photograms, pinhole cameras, and daguerreotypes to mine the margins of what makes up a photographic image. Dealing with themes of life, death, and protracted time, Fuss transcends his organic subject matter, including animal entrails, flowers, plants, smoke, and water, and infuses them with a spiritual, post-modern amalgam comprised of the inner and outter worlds. Relying on the medium’s basic components—the interplay of light and objects with light-sensitive material—Fuss’ prolonged exposures produce unique images that both capture and transcend reality while evoking the unseeable.


Fuss, A. (2004). Adam Fuss . Santa Fe, NM: Arena Editions.

GIACOMELLI, MARIO (1925–2000) Italian

Giacomelli spent decades photographing the same piece of earth in his Italian village, from the same vantage point,
throughout the year, usually altering the perspective by excluding the horizon line to deprive onlookers of any visual anchor. He foreshortened space by stacking up forms as if they were on a vertical plane. By 1960, Giacomelli’s response to his sense that humans had overrun nature was to cut patterns into the landscape with a tractor. In 1970, he was photographing the plowed fields from the air, concentrating on details of texture and pattern. The sensation of violent upheaval can be seen in Giacomelli’s audacious framing and image cropping along with his unconventional darkroom methods featuring grainy, high-contrast prints, which often had only three tones. In 1956, Giacomelli began a long-term project about old age that has been called bleak and pessimistic, but it accurately conveys the passionate sense of enclosing darkness that his elderly subjects were experiencing. This was followed by other series on butchered animals, gypsies, and war victims at Lourdes.


Crawford, A. (2006). Mario Giacomelli . New York: Phaidon Press.

GIBSON, RALPH (1939) American

In 1969 Gibson founded Lustrum Press, which during the 1970s published an unconventional collection of books. The Lustrum line included Robert Frank, Larry Clark, instructional books, and Gibson’s dream-like trilogy of photo-novels The Somnambulist (1970), Deja-Vu (1973), and Days at Sea (1974). Gibson’s grainy, tightly composed, high-contrast 35 mm work reflects the minimalist impulse to eliminate extraneous detail and get down to the essentials of producing a non-literal, but visually complex, yet beautiful symbolic system, often sexually charged, enigmatic settings beyond the realm of empirical thinking.


Gibson, R. (1999). Deus Ex Machina . Köln: Taschen.


Former performance artists Gilbert and George (Gilbert Dolomites 1943 and George Totnes 1942) who played on their sense of photographic time as they posed for hours as living sculpture, manipulated themselves as the content in their series of photographs presented in a grid formation. Photography became their vehicle for suspending movement and memorializing their daily lives and blurring the boundaries between art and life. Their graphic, colorful, monumental pieces, having much in common with sculpture, confront viewers with modern British social anxieties. Under the guise of respectable dandies, this duo uses an orderly, repetitive and accessible style to examine taboo subjects, especially homosexuality. Recently the artists have been making digital pictures.


Dutt, R. (2004). Gilbert and George: Obsessions and Compulsions . London: Philip Wilson Publishers.

Jonque, F. (2005). Gilbert and George . New York: Phaidon Press.

GILBRETH, FRANK B. (1868–1924) and LILLIAN (1878–1972) American

To make work sites more efficient the Gilbreths developed the “stereo chronocyclegraph” in which tiny lights were attached to a worker performing a visual indication of the physical action. This produced the stereographic pattern for each employee to imitate the “one best way to do work.” Their stereo “motion economy” studies had a financial and social effect: they helped businesses, such as Kodak, make their employees more productive resulting in greater profitability. Social critics saw their photographs as a pre-Orwellian photographic methodology that coupled science to a de-humanizing process of industrial sameness. Their treatise Cheaper by the Dozen, which Hollywood has turned into film comedies, celebrated their principals of motion studies.

GILPIN, LAURA (1891–1979) American

Studied at the Clarence H. White School (1916–1917) and opened a portrait studio (1918). Known for her command of platinum printing, Gilpin devoted over 60 years to photographing the relationship of the people and the American Southwest landscape of New Mexico and Arizona, especially her Canyon de Chelly project (1968–1979). Her 35-year sympathetic documentation of the Navajos (1946–1968) is a peerless record of Native American life during a time of rapid change.


Gilpin, L. (1968). The Enduring Navajo . Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Sandweiss, M. A. (1986). Laura Gilpin, An Enduring Grace . Ft. Worth, TX: Amon Carter Museum.

GOLDEN, JUDITH (1934) American

Golden’s work represents the burgeoning feminist expression of the 1970s movement that rejected modernism’s values of ideal beauty. Her extended investigation of female personas and roles examines the ways photography can transform a subject. By humorously hand-manipulating the picture surface, Golden disregards traditional aesthetic values and emotional responses. Her approach was indicative of artists who used hand-work and appropriation to blur the distinction between the beautiful chemically produced image and one that was graphically generated. Golden assumes control over her public representation, creating tableaus that deconstructed underlying assumptions about photography and society upon which artists would build.


Featherstone, D. (ed.) (1988). Cycles: A Decade of Photographs (Untitled 45) . San Francisco: Friends of Photography.

GOLDIN, NAN (1953) American

Goldin’s vérité-style slide and music diary, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (published as a book in 1986), used 700-800 images and popular songs to spin a constantly evolving tale of abuse, drugs, and sex. Goldin’s camera is part of her intimate relationships, recording her subjective internal feeling about what is going on between Goldin and her subjects. Her images are a post-modern morality tale that chronicles the heyday and collapse of a nihilistic lifestyle. Her work embodies the shift in photographic practice from the single flawless black and white print to casually composed collections of color snapshots that emphasize autobiography, sexuality, and outsider culture.


Goldin, N. et al. (1996). I’ll be Your Mirror . New York: Scalo Publishers, 1996.

GOWIN, EMMET (1941) American

Gowin’s early work incorporated the personal iconography of his life in the rural South while combining the “snapshot aesthetic” with a view camera, often featuring a circular motif. Concentrating on his immediate family and surroundings, Gowin made extended portraits of his subjects, especially his wife, in allegorical roles. His later work documents the dramatic clash between nature and culture. His weirdly beautiful aerial photographs of gashed and polluted landscapes in the service of agriculture, mining, and war walks a tightrope between the real and the surreal, black and white and color, the microscopic and the panoramic, seeking to re-establish a spiritual connectedness with the natural world.


Bunnell, P. (1983). Emmet Gowin: Photographs, 1966–1983 . Washington, DC: The Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Reynolds, J. et al. (2002). Emmet Gowin: Changing the Earth . New Haven: Yale University Press.

GROSSMAN, SID (1913–1955) American

With Sol Libsohn co-founder of the Photo League (1936–51) as a meeting place, gallery, and educational site. The Photo League promoted the sanctity of the straight image and the belief that photography needed to serve a sociopolitical purpose. Driving force that organized classes in documentary photography. He founded the Documentary Group and served on the board of directors. He was an editor, reviewer, and writer for Photo Notes, the league’s newsletter. Advocate for art photography when few museums would show photography. His photography work involving labor union activity in 1940 sparked an FBI investigation. In 1947, Grossman and the league were blacklisted as a communist front, which lead to its demise.


Tucker, A. (2001). This Was the Photo League . Chicago: Stephen Daiter Gallery.

Group f/64 (1932–1935) American

Founded in Oakland, California, Group f/64 was a loose band of seven photographers—Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke (1906–1986), Sonya Noskowiak (1900–1986), John Paul Edwards (1883–1968), and Henry Swift (1890–1960)—who promoted straight, modernistic photography. With their aesthetic stance based in precisionism, they named themselves after the smallest aperture on the camera lens, expressing their allegiance to the native principals of “pure photography”—sharply focused images printed on glossy gelatin silver papers without any signs of pictorial “hand-work” and mounted on white board. Favoring natural forms and found objects, they offered an alternative to Stieglitz’ urban bias against the naturalistic West Coast artists and the California pictorialist style.


Alinder, M. S. et al. (1992). Seeing Straight: The F.64 Revolution in Photography . Seattle: University of Washington Press.

GURSKY, ANDREAS (1955) German

A student of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Gursky’s premeditated Olympian sized spectacles of color and pattern present a computer-altered zeitgeist of industrial culture that appears more real than reality. His seductively colorful, super-formalistic, and hyper-detailed hybrid compositions show everything as they catalog the phenomena of globalization. So perfectly beautiful they could hang in a corporate boardroom, yet they evoke a sense of post-modern indifference and sublime that leads us to feel inconsequential.


Galassi, P. (ed). (2001). Andreas Gursky . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

HAAS, ERNST (1921–1986) Austrian

Joined Magnum (1949–1962), moving to the United States in 1951. At a time when color photography was a second-rate, commercial medium to black and white, Haas’ 24-page Magic Images of New York (1953) was a groundbreaking innovation for Life that introduced the artistic and poetic possibilities of color photography into the public’s viewing habits. Noted for his experiments with color in motion and slow shutter speeds, his was the first exhibition of color photography at the Museum of Modern Art (1962).


Haas, E. (1989). Color Photography . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Hass, E. (1971). The Creation . New York: Viking.

HALSMAN, PHILIPPE (1906–1979) American

The publishing world’s desire to promote and capitalize on the notion of fame can be seen in Halsman’s incisive celebrity portraits that appeared on over 100 covers of Life as well as in magazines such as Saturday Evening Post and Paris Match . Halsman believed the portraitist’s most important tools were conversation and psychology, not technique. Halsman utilized playful methods, like jumping in the air, to unmask his subjects and divulge their essence.


Halsman, P. (1959). Jump Book . New York: Simon & Schuster, 1959.

Halsman Bello, J. et al. (1998). Philippe Halsman: A Retrospective—Photographs From the Halsman Family Collection . New York: Bulfinch.


A member of Berlin’s Dada group and a pioneer of photomontage as a political method, Heartfield embodies the artist as activist. With cutting absurdity, he lambasted materialism, bourgeois pretensions, and the abuse of power in Germany in the late 1920s. During the 1930s he produced over 200 anti-Nazi and anti-conservative photomontages with captions. This combination, often featuring Nazi quotes, created ingenious visual puns that communicated a new message, which was the opposite of the original intent.


Heartfield, J. (1936). Hitler erzählt Märchen II. AIZ . March 5, p. 160.

Pachnicke, P. et al. (1993). John Heartfield . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

HEINECKEN, ROBERT (1931–2006) American

Leader of the American photographic avant-garde during the 1960s through the 1970s, extending the expressive possibilities of what we call photography by using collage, lithography, photocopies, artists’ books, altered magazines, and three-dimensional objects. A "photographist"—a photographer who doesn’t use a camera—Heinecken appropriated and manipulated images from the mass media to fabricate droll and often controversial images often concerned with the erotica, the female body, and violence.


Borger, I. et al. (1999). Robert Heinecken, Photographist: A Thirty-Five Year Retrospective . Chicago: Museum Of Contemporary Art.

Enyeart, J. (ed.) (1980). Heinecken . Carmel, CA: The Friends of Photography.

HILLER, LEJAREN à (1880–1969) American

Opened commercial photography to American print advertisers in 1913 by making less realistic and more fantastic images by combining fine art aesthetics and pictorialist methods to create subjective tableaux using elaborate sets involving costumed actors. Hiller used combination printing, dramatic lighting, soft-focus, and heavy retouching to produce narrative theatrical scenes that gave his images a sense of emotion and dreamy desire that delighted advertisers. Best known for his humorous and slightly erotic ad campaign, now considered sexist, Surgery Through the Ages (1927 and 1933) done for Davis & Geck, Inc. who were makers of surgical sutures. For this project Hiller concocted a historic series of tableaux vivants consisting of over 200 great moments in medical history that appeared in medical journals and hung in hospitals and physician’s offices throughout the country.


Brown, E. H. (2000) Rationalizing consumption: Lejaren à Hiller and the origins of American advertising photography, 1913–1924. Enterprise & Society 1 (Dec. 2000), 715-738.

HINE, LEWIS WICKES (1874–1940) American

Hine was a sociologist who took up photography in 1904 in the cause of social reform. He documented immigrants arriving at Ellis Island then followed them in their harsh new lives in the slums of America. In 1907, Hine photographed the Pittsburgh iron and steel workers revealing employment of children under grueling, dangerous conditions. As staff photographer to the National Child Labor Committee from 1911 to 1917, Hine’s photographs exposed the negative consequences of a growing consumer society and contributed to the passing of child labor laws. In the 1920s, he embarked on “positive documentation” by making portraits of the working man. His landmark book about the construction of the Empire State Building, Men at Work , was published in 1932.


Gutman, J. M. (1967). Lewis W. Hine and the American Social Conscience . New York: Walker.

Trachtenberg, A. (1977). America & Lewis Hine: Photographs, 1904–1940 . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

HÖCH, HANNAH (1889–1978) German

Höch’s photomontages, which established the appropriation motif of big heads on little bodies, explored women’s changing social identity through allegory, caricature, the grotesque, and irony. Mirroring her Dadaist attentiveness to alienation and estrangement, she took the familiar and made it unfamiliar, reflecting the shattering and rearranging of traditional women’s roles, involving children, kitchen, and church. Höch’s disruptive emotionally and sexually charged work played on tensions between anger/violence and pleasure/beauty to investigate issues of gender and bourgeois culture. Höch also made montages that fused Western and tribal imagery, thus dissolving the hierarchy that had defined their cultural relationship.


Lavin, M. (1993). Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Weimar Photomontages of Hannah Höch . New Haven: Yale University Press.

HOCKNEY, DAVID (1937) British

Hockney stated “photography is all right if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralyzed Cyclops—for a split second.” To overcome his dissatisfaction with photography’s single-point perspective, he made numerous photographs of a scene from various vantage points and arranged the resulting prints into a cubist-like collage. His canvas-sized color visions bring together an expanded collection of components observed over time and fabricated into a grand, extended, constantly changing entirety. By interrupting space and displacing time, Hockney breaks the perspective of the Renaissance window, carrying his synthetic multifaceted representations of a subject beyond the edges of the frame, dissolving the photograph’s traditional rectangle.


Weschler, L. (1984). Cameraworks: David Hockney . New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

HORST, HORST P. (HORST BORMANN) (1906–2000) American

Horst’s fashion career, spanning almost six decades with Condé Nast, began in 1931 as George Hoyningen-Huene’s protégé. Best known for his classical images of fashion models and fashionable figures posed in dramatic, often Greek inspired settings, Horst established a pre-war savoir-faire style of sophisticated posing where elegance and manners counted. His dramatic mastery of studio lighting gave his subjects a timeless, statuesque quality, swathing them with a glowing patina of the glamorous ideal.


Pepper, T. (2001). Horst Portraits: 60 Years of Style . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

HOSOE, EIKOH (1933) Japanese

Hosoe merged desire and unseen memories to pioneer a grittily expressionistic form of Japanese photography. His high-contrast, graphic, black and white photographs portray a mysterious interior world of surreal dreams that is both sensual and disturbing. He gained recognition in 1963 with the publication of Barakei (Ordeal by Roses) in which an ornate world of aestheticism was constructed around the writer Yukio Mishima. By eliminating details Hosoe enhanced the black areas of his compositions to create complex and disorienting spatial compositions that challenged both accepted photographic practices and the nature of interpersonal relationships.


Holborn, M. Eikoh Hosoe . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

HOYNINGEN-HUENE, GEORGE (1900–1968) American

In the Paris of the 1920s and 1930s Hoyningen-Huene became the archetypal urbane sophisticate of fashion photographers. Working for Vogue, Vanity Fair , and Harper’s Bazaar he made stylish location and studio portraits of artists, film stars, authors, models, and upper crust society. His celebrity studies, noted for their use of shadows, blended the artist and person to define glamour portraits. Influenced by Baron de Meyer, Man Ray, and Edward Steichen, Hoyningen-Huene was a master of lighting whose compositions commingled Hellenic and surrealistic motifs, which set a paradigm of classical elegance in a genre later expanded by Horst, Penn, and Avedon.


Ewing, W. A. (1998). The Photographic Art of Hoyningen-Huene . New York: Thames & Hudson.


Assistant to Manuel Alvarez Bravo. United her interests in anthropology and photography in a 1979 photo-essay on the matriarchal nature of Mexico’s Zapotec Indian community. This became her working model: getting to know her subjects and then using her access to examine the lives of Mexico’s indigenous peoples, their ceremonies and rituals, and the role of women. Her black and white images poetically document the interaction and tensions of urban and rural life, indigenous and modern culture, and social identity. Recent work centers on how people adapt to modernity and its effect on the landscape in other South American countries.


Medina, C. (2001). Graciela Iturbide . New York: Phaidon Press.


Since the 1950s Jones Griffiths has photographed in 140 countries and covered conflicts in Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Africa, and other trouble spots. His Welsh background gave him a natural sympathy for the Davids over the imperial Goliaths of the world. Jones Griffiths’ gruesome photographs, often of ordinary people, in Vietnam Inc. (1971), put a human face on the war. These disturbing images, which contrasted the extreme differences between the civilian and the military, helped arouse the ethical validity of the war in America. Jones Griffiths has a talent for making haunting images of incongruous situations, such as a half-black Vietnamese schoolgirl representing long-term human effects of the war.


Sayle, M. (1996). Dark Odyssey . New York: Aperture.

JOSEPHSON, KEN (1932) American

Josephson’s conceptual approach that humorously alters perspective, scale, and point of view emphasizes the relationship between a photograph of a subject and the subject itself. His black and white photographs from late 1960s and 1970s, which include pictures within pictures, reveal “the process of creating pictures as ideas rather than as representations.” In one series, Josephson holds a postcard of each scene into his photographic frame, playfully interjecting himself as a performer who is formally distorting reality while mocking the idea of photographic duplication, demonstrating the absurdity of attempting to re-occupy the same space. Josephson
reshapes the photograph to discover a new vantage point that disrupts Renaissance concepts of how the world is and what a picture is supposed to look like.


Wolf, S. et al. (1999). Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective . Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago.

KARSH, YOUSUF (1908–2002) Canadian

Born in Armenia, he escaped the Turkish persecution, emigrating to Canada in 1924. Opened a portrait studio in Ottawa in 1932 where he established a reputation for photographing the powerful and famous of his era. His view-camera portraits were known for their clarity and dramatic lighting, emphasizing highlights, shadows, and rich textures. His 1941 Life cover of the imposing, wartime, bulldog-faced Winston Churchill infused the subject’s personality with his public image to reveal what Karsh said was the sitter’s “inner power.”


Karsh, Y. (1996). A Sixty-Year Retrospective . Boston: Little, Brown.

SEBIER, GERTRUDE (1852–1934) American

Opened a New York portrait studio (1897) where she created a reputation for her mother and child motifs that stressed tonality over formal compositional elements. Known as the leading woman pictorialist, she produced platinum, gumbichromate, bromoil, and silver prints, and encouraged women to take up photographic careers. Founding member of the Photo-Secession in 1902. Stieglitz promoted her highly romantic work, reproducing it in Camera Work . Eventually, she broke contact with Stieglitz over the issue of “straight” photography, forming the Pictorial Photographers of America in 1916 with Coburn and C. White.


Caffin, C. H. (1901, 1972). Photography as a Fine Art . New York: Doubleday. Michaels, B. L. (1992). Gertrude Käsebier, The Photographer and Her Photographs . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

KEÏTA, SEYDOU (1923–1998) Malian

Through his commercial portraits that chronicle the shift of the colonial and post-colonial urban West African experience by blending Western technology with an African aesthetic and viewpoint, the self-taught Keita became the official photographer of Mali from 1962 to 1977. To make his customers look their best, Keïta used backdrops and props, such as bicycles, musical instruments, radios telephones, plus traditional and European clothing to pose his subjects to achieve their desired look. Dating from 1949, Keita’s oeuvre of over 200,000 images depicts African modernization and brought Western attention to his work and indigenous African photography overall.


Magnin, A. (ed.) (1997). Seydou Keïta . New York: Scalo Publishers.

KEPES, GYÖRGY (1906–2001) American

A close associate of Moholy-Nagy, who became the head of the light department at Chicago’s New Bauhaus, proclaimed he was not a photographer but an artist “committed to working with light.” An avid experimenter who explored clichés-verre and photograms, Kepes juxtaposed fragmented light spaces with structured rhythmic patterns of geometric shapes to create visual opposition. This use of opposites and natural forms in a dream-like field of geometric shapes, was a metaphor of alternating natural and technological realities. As an influential educator he investigated the effect of visual language on human consciousness, chiefly how the design elements of line and form are perceived and how new types of perspective can bring about more vibrant visual representations. Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT (1967), which explores confluences of art and technology.


Kepes, G. et al. (1995). Language of Vision: Fundamentals of Bauhaus Design (reprint). Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.

KERTÉSZ, ANDRÉ (1894–1985) American

By the late 1910s, Kertész was demonstrating the visual language of modernism with asymmetrical compositions, close-ups, distortions, reflections, and unusual points of view. He came to use a Leica to geometrically order the unexpected moments of everyday life with a life-affirming sensibility that favored a play between pattern and deep space. He made his living as a European photojournalist before immigrating to the United States. Kertész’ joyous “Leica spirit,” the new small camera mentality, combined the formal design elements of De Stijl with a natural intuition to extract poetic “rest-stops” from the flow of time that alter expectations about common occurrences and objects. His spontaneous vision revealed a sweet, lyrical truth, celebrating the splendor of life and the pleasure of sight. Inspired Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Capa.


Greenough, S. (2005). André Kertész . Princeton: Princeton University Press.

KLEIN, WILLIAM (1928) American

Klein, an ex-patriot American fashion photographer, filmmaker, designer, and painter has made Paris his home. He enlarged the syntax of photography by courting accident, blur, contrast, distortion, cockeyed framing, graininess, and movement. Rebelled against the 1950s notions of the decisive moment, which included not intervening into a scene, making good compositions, and producing normal looking prints. His images are not those of a detached observer but those of a provocateur. Klein referred to his Life is Good for You in New York—William Klein Trance Witness Revels (1956) as “a crash course in what was not to be done in photography.” His other photographic books of cities— Rome (1958–1959), Moscow , and Tokyo (both 1964)—are catalogs of irreverent “mistakes,” revolving around aggression. The dynamic and unconventional framing and printing techniques present cities as théâtre noir, emphasizing a sense of anarchy, chaos, and dread of urban life that most people wished to ignore.


Heilpern, J. (1980). William Klein: Photographs . New York: Aperture.

KLETT, MARK (1952) American

As a member of the Rephotographic Survey Project (1977–1979), Klett helped precisely re-photograph 122 19th century western survey sites, pointing out how 19th century photographers saw the landscape and the unfolding interaction of human development and natural transformations over time. The pairing of old and new images showed how photography can display and measure time, establishing a dualistic meaning of time and space, putting viewers into a time machine that permits them to glance between then and now. This became central to Klett’s work as in the Third View project, in which the locations from the first project were re-photographed again in the 1990s. Klett’s photographic mapping of the past and the present illustrates the dynamic interaction of culture and geological forces, reflecting loss, and the encroachment of civilization on the wilderness.


Klett, M. et al. (2004). Third Views, Second Sights: A Rephotographic Survey of the American West . Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Klett, M. et al. (1984). Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project . Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

KOUDELKA, JOSEF (1938) Czech/French

Koudelka’s graphic black and white images deal with those on the fringes of society. His formalized theatrical organization of reality looks at the daily community rituals of gypsies and exiles. His images of the invasion of Prague dramatically synthesized the terror and freedom of being isolated. His panoramic views search for a reprieve within a derelict landscape, where our own bleak despair has ruined nature’s pleasures. Koudelka’s prints utilize deep, dark black tones to continually portray the mental and physical conundrums and world-weariness of being a refugee.


Koudelka, J. (1999). Chaos . New York: Phaidon Press.

KRIMS, LES (1943) American

In the early 1970s Krim’s provocative, self-published, boxed folios on dwarfs, deer hunters, murder scenes of nude young women, and his topless mother making chicken soup offended Main Street while encouraging young photographers to visualize their inner fictions and explore forbidden subjects. These images were printed on a graphic arts paper to deliver dramatically grainy, high-contrast, brown-toned effects that challenged the conventions of the fine print aesthetic. Detractors did not find the work humorous and heavily criticized it as condescending, mocking, and misogynistic.


Krims, L. (1972). Making Chicken Soup . Buffalo, NY: Humpy Press.

KRUGER, BARBARA (1945) American

Kruger spent ten years working as a graphic designer for various women’s magazines that extolled beauty, fashion, and heterosexual relationships before producing photomontages, resembling billboards, with text that questioned capitalism’s relationship to patriarchal oppression and the role consumption plays within this political and social structure. Turning the tables on the seductive strategies of advertising, Kruger reuses anonymous commercial, studio-type images to deconstruct cultural representations of consumerism, the power of the media, and stereotypes of women to show how images and words manipulate and obscure meaning. Her red or white banners of text stamped on black and white photographs pound viewers with curt phases, such as “Your Body is a Battleground” or “I Shop Therefore I Am,” deliver unsettling jolts to male demonstrations of financial, physical, and sexual power.


Kruger, B. (1999). Barbara Kruger . Cambridge: The MIT Press.

KRULL, GERMAINE (1897–1985) German

Often overlooked because of the diversity of her practice and the loss of her early work during the wars, Krull was an innovative, prolific, and versatile photographer whose advertising, architectural, fashion, industrial, montage, ironic female nudes, and reportage images were intertwined with her intense political and professional beliefs. Spanning nine decades and four continents, Krull broadly and expressively overlapped commercial and avant-garde approaches as she photographed in response to the situations and cultures she traveled through. Her Metall series (1927) sharply emphasized the abstract forms of industry and introduced German New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit) photography to France.


Sichel, K. (1999). Germaine Krull: Photographer of Modernity . Cambridge: The MIT Press.

KÜHN, HEINRICH (1866–1944) German

Along with Hugo Henneberg (1863–1918) and Hans Watzek (1848–1903) formed the “Trifolium” of the Vienna Kamera-Club (1896–1903). Using the gum process, they exhibited under the collective known as Kleeblat (Cloverleaf) and were a driving force of the Austro-German secession/pictorialist movement. An amateur since 1879 and a member of the Linked Ring, Kühn made multi-layered landscapes and portraits in gum and, later, oil-pigment printing. His characteristic style featured bold, emblematic compositions on textured paper, printed in appealing brown or blue hues. His approach, to at times photograph from above eye-level, broke with the passé habits of professional portraitists and began a progressive photographic movement in Germany that reflected the concerns of similar pictorial groups that sprang up worldwide.


Kühn, H. (1988). Heinrich Kühn: Photographien . Munich: Residenz.

LANGE, DOROTHEA (1895–1965) American

Studied photography with Arnold Genthe (1915) and then Clarence White at Columbia University (1917–1918). Opened a portrait studio in San Francisco (1919–1934). In 1932, as the Great Depression deepened, Lange felt she must take her camera out of her studio into the streets where she recorded labor strikes, demonstrations, and unemployment lines. A woman of great commitment, Lange dedicated her photography to revealing “the human condition” and social reform. Employed by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) from 1935 to 1942, she established her reputation as one of America’s most gifted documentary photographers. She photographed all over the United States, producing a rich portrait of a poor America (publishing An American Exodus with husband, Paul Taylor, in 1939). Best known for her gripping images of migrant workers, including the iconic, Migrant Mother (1936) (see Figure 9), Lange continued to work for Federal agencies during WWII. In 1941 she was the first woman ever to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She closely advised Edward Steichen on the Family of Man exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1955. During her later years, though slowed by illness, she traveled, taught, and worked freelance for several publications including Life , with photo-essays on the Mormons with Ansel Adams and later, Irish country women. Originally published in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 3rd edition by Mary Alinder. Updated by E. Ken White.


Borhan, P. (2002). Dorothea Lange: The Heart and Mind of a Photographer . New York: Bulfinch Press.

Coles, R. and Heyman, T. (1982). Dorothea Lange: Photographs of a Lifetime . New York: Aperture.

Lange, D.(1939, 1999). An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion . With P. Taylor. New York: 1939 [new edition, Paris: Jean Michel Place 1999].

Meltzer, M. (1978). Dorothea Lange: A Photographer’s Life . New York: Aperture.

LARTIGUE, JACQUES-HENRI (1894–1989) French photographer and painter

Raised in a wealthy French family, Lartigue was given a camera by his father at age six. Though his life as a photographer and a painter spanned most of the 20th century, he is most fondly remembered for his charming childhood and adolescent photographs, most of which were unknown outside his family circle until showcased in 1963 by John Szarkowski, curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Living a privileged life, he candidly recorded the astounding events as the century turned (the first motorcars and airplanes) and the everyday quirks of life—his cousin skipping downstairs, seeming to float in the absence of gravity, and a family friend plunging backwards into a lake. Lartigue’s uncanny perceptions and the capture of motion by the newer “snapshot” cameras has preserved a vernacular record of the end of France’s belle époque and the advent of mechanized transportation. Images by Lartigue also recorded European fashions on the street and in societal circumstances, and one of his favorite personal themes—women. Despite his reputation now, during most of Lartigue’s mature life he was known in art circles for his paintings. Originally published in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 3rd edition by Mary Alinder. Updated by E. Ken White.


Lartigue, J. H. (2003). Jacques Henri Lartigue: A Life’s Diary . Paris: Centre Pompidou.

Lartigue, J. H. (1998). Jacques Henri Lartigue, Photographer . New York: Bulfinch Press.

Lartigue, J. H. (1970). Diary of a Century . Edited by R. Avedon. New York: Viking Press.

Lartigue, J. H. (1966). Boyhood Photos of J. H. Lartigue, the Family Album of a Gilded Age . Switzerland: Ami Guichard.

LAUGHLIN, CLARENCE JOHN (1905–1985) American

Self-taught photographer who spent most of his life in New Orleans, Louisiana, amid a personal library of over 32,000 volumes about fantasy. Laughlin is best known for his haunting images of Victorian-era architecture and surreal, ghost-like multiple exposures. His freelance photography began in 1934 and he also worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before serving in the U.S. military during WWII. After the war he was self-employed (1946–1967) selling views and details of architecture, giving lectures, and illustrating magazine articles. Influenced by Atget, Man Ray, and the French symbolist poets, Laughlin produced twenty-three themed groups of images such as Poems of the Interior World (begun in 1940). Most of his photographs were accompanied by voluminous writings and captions which often filled the reverse side of many prints. His black and white camera work is best represented by disquieting scenes of deserted architectural splendor (or ruins) and more self-conscious efforts to populate these spaces with veiled figures and spiritual ghosts. Admirers of his work may find an abundant intellect also revealed in his poetry and prose.


Brady, P. and Lawrence, J. H. (eds.) (1997). Haunter of Ruins: The Photography of Clarence John Laughlin . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Davis, K. with Barrett, N. and Lawrence, J. (1990). Clarence John Laughlin: Visionary Photographer . Kansas City, MO: Hallmark Cards.

Laughlin, C. J. (1988). Ghosts Along the Mississippi . New York: Random House [New rev. ed.].

LEE, RUSSELL (1903–1986) American

Lee began his study of photography in 1935, ten years after earning a degree from Lehigh University (Pennsylvania) in chemical engineering. Photography, he thought, would aid his ability as a painter studying in San Francisco and at the Woodstock art colony (New York) in the early 1930s. His career took an abrupt shift when he was invited by Roy Stryker to join the government’s Historical Section of the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lee worked from 1936 to 1943 as a prolific photographer in the FSA combining his keen sense of documentary with an engineer’s precise mastery of lighting (especially flash photography). Stryker called him a “taxonomist with a camera.” Besides making more FSA negatives than any other photographer, Lee was one of the first to utilize new color photography materials in his recording of people and events in Pie Town, New Mexico. After leaving the FSA, Lee continued to work for various government agencies until 1947 when he was hired by Standard Oil of New Jersey. His industrial images were printed in Fortune and in The New York Times . A second career spanned the years 1956–1973 while Lee was on the teaching faculty of the University of Missouri, and later at the University of Texas at Austin. Despite an education in engineering, Lee’s images and teachings never underplayed the role of photography as an objective witness to call attention to the pride and prejudice that characterized society in the mid-1900s.


Hurley, J. (1978). Russell Lee: Photographer . Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan.

LEIBOVITZ, ANNIE (1949) American

Born in Connecticut, educated at the San Francisco Art Institute (BFA, 1971), Leibovitz ascended to the very apex of contemporary portrait photography at the beginning of the 21st century. Her most respected work is of celebrity and literati personalities often seen in spectacular display in the pages of Vanity Fair as cover shots or lavish fold-out group portraits and portfolios. She is also the artist of many notable photo-essays and advertising campaigns, especially the celebrity icons photographed for the American Express media ads (1987). Her first involvement with photography came in Japan when her father was stationed there with the U.S. military. After studying painting in college, Leibovitz’ first break came when she was retained as chief photographer for a start-up West Coast publication called Rolling Stone (1973). Perhaps her most memorable image is the nude John Lennon with the clothed Yoko Ono—an image made the same day Lennon was murdered in New York City (1980). By 1983, Leibovitz was hired by Condé Nast to be the primary talent to photograph for Vanity Fair . Most of Leibovitz’ work (color and black and white) exhibits her talent for incorporating environment, props, or an idiosyncratic gesture to resonate with her subjects’ persona or “public trademark.” Leibovitz’ extraordinary range of subjects has spanned from portraits of athletes at Atlanta’s Olympic Games to a more recent book collaboration with Susan Sontag, Women (1999).


Leibovitz, A. (1984). Annie Leibovitz: Photographs . Introduction by T. Wolfe. New York: Pantheon/Rolling Stone.

Leibovitz, A. (1992). Photographs, Annie Leibovitz . With I. Sischy. New York: Harper Collins.

Leibovitz, A. (1999). Women . Introduction by S. Sontag. New York: Random House.

LEVINE, SHERRIE (1947) American

Levine earned her MFA degree in photo/printmaking at the University of Wisconsin in 1974. She became a lightning rod for charged criticism in the early 1980s after she was thrust into the forefront of the new post-modernist vanguard by an influential essay by Douglas Crimp in October called “The Photographic Activity of Post Modernism” (Winter 1980). She was nominated by Crimp to represent the art gesture of “appropriation” whereby an artist uses (transforms, recontextualizes, adds text to) existing art or photographs to make a commentary or create “critical discourse.” Levine had made photographic copies of well-known images by Edward Weston, Eliot Porter, and Walker Evans (all made from existing book reproductions) and exhibited the copies, uncropped and only altered by the act of photographic reproduction with titles like “After Edward Weston (by Sherrie Levine).” Levine’s intention was to offer her art that questioned originality, the patriarchal system of art “masters,” and the fundamental nature of any art that utilized a photographic process to inscribe creativity and aesthetic value onto an art object (as Walter Benjamin had outlined in the 1930s). The debate, carried on in art journals and in universities for the next two decades, influenced a new generation of artists and critics for whom “the gesture” (often informed by Marxist and Feminist theories) superseded the modernist “object.”

LEVINTHAL, DAVID (1949) American

Raised in California (art degree, Stanford 1970) Levinthal later earned an MFA at Yale where cartoonist, Garry Trudeau, was a classmate and early collaborator on the book, Hitler Moves East (1977), which featured Trudeau’s text and Levinthal’s table top photographs of toy soldiers in a mock-documentary style that was a precursor for the emerging post-modernist movement in photography. The use of toys, dolls, and scale models in the studio to produce faux documents that offer variable comment upon history and culture was a trademark of Levinthal’s many themes and book publications in the 1980s and 1990s. Levinthal’s progression of themes has evolved from sly parody of the Western cowboy to more barbed visual pronouncements about T&A pin-ups, bondage, the Holocaust, pornography, and racism. Each theme, usually displayed in saturated colors, has been an exegesis of spectator voyeurism. Using ambiguous space and thin slices of selected focus, Levinthal offers viewers an artificial body or dramatic pose that transforms cultural stereotypes into visual codes that viewers recognize as reminiscent of past memory—perpetuated in modern society by toymakers and tchotchke vendors. Levinthal’s most intense work ( Desire, Mein Kampf, Blackface, XXX ) has raised controversy when critics can’t agree on the propriety of an artist who trumps history with seductive images that are interpretations of society’s coercion, lust, and depravity.


Levinthal, D. (2001). David Levinthal: Modern Romance . Essay by E. Parry. Los Angeles: St. Ann’s Press.

Levinthal, D. (1997). David Levinthal: Work from 1975–1996 . New York: ICP.

Levinthal, D. (1993). Desire . Essay by A. Grundberg. San Francisco: Friends of Photography.

LEVITT, HELEN (1949) American

By the time she turned sixteen, Levitt decided to become a professional photographer having learned darkroom practice from her job assisting a Bronx portrait photographer. Influenced by Walker Evans, with whom she studied (1938–1939), and by the work of Cartier-Bresson, Levitt purchased a Leica camera (with a right angle finder) to be a surreptitious photographer of street life. Her most notable work captures the parade of human comedy and mini-drama on the streets of New York, especially children at play. She was given her first solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) by the Newhalls in 1946. She had work published in Fortune, Harper’s Bazaar, Time , and PM Weekly . James Agee became an admirer of her work and collaborated on two films and a book with Levitt. She is also known for her pioneer work using still color transparencies beginning in the late 1950s after more than a decade as a film maker. With the exception of images made in Mexico (1941), Levitt’s photographs provide a candid, apolitical, look at the ebb and flow of life in her beloved New York—sidewalks, vacant lots, tenement stoops inhabited by children who paid no attention to the dark clad woman with the quiet, but omniscient little camera. She taught at Pratt Institute in the mid-1970s.


Levitt, H. (1965, 1981). A Way of Seeing: Photographs of New York . With J. Agee. New York: Viking Press (reprinted in 1981).

Phillips, S. and Hambourg, M. (1991). Helen Levitt . San Francisco: San Francisco Museum.

LINK, O. WINSTON (1914–2001) American

Born in Brooklyn, Link pursued an education at nearby Polytechnic Institute in civil engineering. He worked at several technical and industrial research jobs at Columbia University before deciding to teach himself photography, opening a commercial studio in New York in 1942. After WWII Link did mostly industrial photography. In the mid-1950s one of his assignments took him through West Virginia where he photographed rail lines and locomotives of the Norfolk & Western Railroad. His fascination with the prowess and photogenic character of the steam locomotive prompted him to seek special permission from the rail company executives to have extensive access to the railroad equipment and personnel. With this agreement he began to stage elaborate night exposures of the steam locomotives in settings that showed the juxtaposition of the railway to the rural villages and lifestyle of 1950s America. Using massive reflectors and banks of flashbulbs, Link made large-format exposures (2400 negatives) of the night landscape, people, and locomotives as the engines belched white steam on cue. Several well-known pictures from this series feature municipal swimming pools, drive-in movie theaters and the like as citizens of the nearby towns pose candidly to create a surreal blend of organic life with the gleaming black locomotives. These photographs only gained popularity after they were featured in an article in American Photographer in 1982, followed by an impressive monograph of Link’s work in 1987.


Link, O. W. (1995). The Last Steam Railroad in America: From Tidewater to Whitetop . With T. Garver. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Link, O. W. (1987). Steam, Steel & Stars: America’s Last Steam Railroad . With T. Hensley. New York: Harry N. Abrams.

LIST, HERBERT (1907–1975) German

As a young student and protégé in his father’s coffee import business, List traveled widely to the Americas before being encouraged as a photographer by Andreas Feininger in the United States. Returning to Europe in the early 1930s, he was influenced by Pittura Metafisica and the Surrealists (moved to Paris in 1936). His black and white images prior to WWII are divided between portraits of leading European artists and enigmatic scenes, with simple compositional elements, that are usually bathed in Mediterranean sunlight. The latter group derived more influence from the painting style of de Chirico than from the contemporary photographs by Man Ray or Max Ernst. Some of List’s most important images were made in Greece, outdoors, unlike many other surrealists who primarily used studios, interiors, and night settings. List had images published in Verve, Harper’s Bazaar , and Life , dedicating his work to photojournalism in Munich after WWII (extensively contributing to Du between 1945–1960). He made no photographs after 1960 preferring to collect Old Master and Italian drawings.


List, H. (1993). Hellas . Munich: Schirmer/Mosel.

List, H. (1983). I Grandi Fotograf . Milan: Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri.

List, H. (1976, 1980). Herbert List—Photographien 1930–1970 . Munich 1976 [reprinted by London: Rizzoli 1980].

List, H. (1953). Licht über Hellas . Munich: Verlag.

LYNES, GEORGE PLATT (1907–1955) American

A self-taught photographer, Lynes’ first business was as owner of a small publishing firm. He began making portraits in the mid-1920s and was fortunate to be able to travel to Europe where he earned early support for his photography from Gertrude Stein. In 1923 he opened a studio in New York. Alexey Brodovitch, art director for Harper’s Bazaar , hired Lynes for some early fashion assignments. Lynes utilized an ample studio for large-format work often collaborating with the painter, Pavel Tchelitchev, who helped design and construct backgrounds. Commercial and fashion images by Lynes later appeared in Vogue and Town & Country . Artistically, he is best known for his homoerotic male nudes and his mythology studies produced in the studio with dramatic lighting of muscular limbs and torsos. During the 1930s and 1940s Lynes made images for Lincoln Kirstein’s American Ballet Company (Kirstein, a prep school classmate of Lynes). The photographer also enjoyed the patronage of Alfred C. Kinsey in the 1950s but, unfortunately, this alliance came too late to preserve some of Lynes’ personal work, since the artist himself destroyed many negatives and prints that he feared would reveal his fascination with male sexuality.


Crump, J. (1993). George Platt Lynes, Photographs from the Kinsey Institute . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Kirstein, L. (1960). George Platt Lynes Portraits 1931–1952 . Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago.

Woody, J. (1981). George Platt Lynes: Photographs, 1931–1955 . Pasadena, CA: Twelvetrees Press.

LYON, DANNY (1942) American photographer and filmmaker

Lyon, a New York native, studied history at the University of Chicago (BA, 1963) and became involved in the growing Civil Rights movement. He was self-taught as a photographer and his first images document this social struggle. It was a pattern to be repeated throughout his career—to actively live with
subgroups or participate with segments of society he would document. He became a member of a Chicago motorcycle gang, The Outlaws, before producing the book, The Bike Riders in 1968. Later he spent time with construction workers, stock car racers, prison inmates, and peoples of the Third World to make his books and films. Conversations with the Dead (1971) was published with images, interviews, and writings of Texas prison inmates with whom he was allowed to visit intimately for a few months. Later work by this Jewish Caucasian has been especially empathetic with the plight of Latinos and Native Americans (he has lived in New Mexico since the early 1970s). Beginning in 1980 he has produced several autobiographical works ( Knave of Hearts , 1999) and, among his films, Little Boy (1977) is a characteristic gem. Lyon remains a deeply committed artist/humanitarian who has expanded the public’s awareness of individuals at the fringes of late 20th century society.


Lyon, D. (1981). Pictures From the New World . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Lyon, D. (1969, 1980). The Destruction of Lower Manhattan . New York: Macmillan [reprinted by London: Rizzoli: 1980].

Lyon, D. (1980). The Paper Negative . Bernalillo, NM: Bleak Beauty.

LYONS, NATHAN (1930) and JOAN (1937) Both American

This dynamic pair, married in 1958, have lived most of their lives in Rochester, New York, and are both associated with the Visual Studies Workshop, (VSW) founded by Nathan Lyons in 1969 after working for a decade at the George Eastman House. Both received college degrees from Alfred State University (SUNY) in 1957. Nathan is a true renaissance man in photography—artist, author, curator, historian, educator, archivist, activist, mentor. He is best known as an image-maker for a lifelong trilogy of publications that are sequenced images of the urban landscape. Starting with Notations in Passing (1974), the work is densely referential to American culture, symbols, and clichés. For some critics, the work could be labeled as “street photography” or as “equivalents,” but the intellect that knits the image sequences together surpasses these insufficient comparisons. In addition to tireless work for the medium (editing/writing for Image and Aperture ), Nathan Lyons founded Afterimage in 1972, was a founding member and the first Chairperson of the Society for Photographic Education (1963), and has the international respect of almost every person in the realm of photography.

Joan Lyons shares her husband’s passion for photography, publishing, and education. She founded the VSW Press in the
1970s and teaches at VSW. Her artwork is generated—and modified—by various image systems (xerography, print-making, non-silver processes), and her expressive ideas usually result in artist books whose themes are often self, family relationships, and women’s issues.


Lyons, N. (2003). After 9/11 . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Lyons, N. (1999). Riding 1st Class on the Titanic—Photographs by Nathan Lyons . Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of Art.

Lyons, J. (1981). Seed Word Book . Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop.

Lyons, J. (1977). Abby Rogers to her Grand-daughter . With text by A. Rogers. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop.

Lyons, J. (1973). Wonder Woman . With J. McGrath. Rochester, NY: Visual Studies Workshop.

MAN, FELIX (HANS BAUMANN) (1893–1985) German and British

As a student, Man studied art history at Freiburg University and had made his first photographs at age ten. Drafted into the German army during WWI, he made documentary photographs of the Western Front with a Vest Pocket Kodak (negatives later destroyed in WWII bombing). After 1919 he resumed art studies in Munich and Berlin, and worked as a layout artist/photographer for the news agency Dephot (Deutscher Photodienst). He published over one hundred photo-essays in Munchner Illustrierte Presse (MIP) and Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung (BIZ) from 1929–1932. He used the Ermanox and Leica cameras for spontaneous reportage. His most remarkable published work was A Day with Mussolini (1931, MIP ) made with the small camera and available light which lent an air of authenticity to the scenes. Mussolini did not notice at the time that Man was making candid, “unofficial” images of Il Duce using the Ermanox. The photographs were segments of reality taken from the flow of actual events, not staged or posed. In 1934, due to rising Nazi prominence, Man moved to London where he spent the rest of his career (naturalized British citizen, 1948). With Stephan Lorant he founded Weekly Illustrated in 1934 and later worked for the Daily Mirror (pictures credited to his moniker, “Lensman”), and the new Picture Post (1938–1945). In England, Man’s subjects were non-studio portraits, location fashion, country life, and color studies. He also contributed to Harper’s Bazaar and Life in the 1950s until he retired to study the history of lithographic art.


Man, F. (1948). Man With Camera: Photographs from Seven Decades . New York: Schocken.

MANN, SALLY (1951) American

Mann has lived her life in a small town in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia (except for years at Bennington College, Vermont). She earned an MA (1975) in writing from Hollins College, although her considerable talent seems to be in recognizing and shaping intricate visual statements. Her work could be deemed “traditional” in its execution with an 8 × 10 view camera from which she makes exquisite black and white prints sometimes using wet plate collodion negatives. She is best known for a series of work that documents her own family, especially the lives of her three children (images of husband, Larry, have yet to be included in much of her public work). Immediate Family was published in 1992 (concurrent exhibition) and instigated intense controversy over the explicit frankness and intimacy revealed in some photographs of the children in various states of nudity. The debate about the propriety of showing adolescent sexuality or loss of innocence is, perhaps, not one to be won or lost on the photographic evidence, but waged by those with a variance in their interpretations of those images. Her work is often compared to that of Emmet Gowin (also originally from Virginia), however, Mann’s children seem to animate her strongest work from the 1980s and 1990s—the unvarnished passage from childhood to young adult. Mann has previously photographed girls at the age of twelve and is working on landscape images of Virginia, Georgia, and other locations (Civil War battlefields). Her talent as a writer/artist is elegantly demonstrated in her most recent publications. In Deep South (2005) the images are more ethereal and mystical as she allows the hand-applied collodion more autonomy in its marriage with light.


Mann. S. (2005). Deep South . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Mann, S. (2003). What Remains . New York: Bulfinch Press.

Mann, S. (1994). Still Time . New York: Aperture.

Mann, S. (1988). At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women . New York: Aperture.

Mann, S. (1938). Second Sight . Boston: David R. Godine.

MAPPLETHORPE, ROBERT (1946–1989) American

Mapplethorpe achieved saturated recognition for his elegant photographic still life, portraits, and nudes, before dying tragically of AIDS. Born in New York to a Catholic family, he studied at Pratt Institute (drawing, sculpture) before becoming a photographic artist (he had considered a career as a musician). His interest in camera images was piqued by access to closed collections maintained by John McKendry (curator at Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Sam Wagstaff. He started taking Polaroid images and was influenced by Warhol’s art. Early portraits were of Lisa Lyon and Patti Smith. Mapplethorpe’s work was presented in a relatively modernist, aesthetisized style and his best known photographs featured nudes of black males and images with overt homoerotic subjects. The Corcoran Gallery canceled a solo exhibit, The Perfect Moment, by Mapplethorpe in 1989 due to pressure from groups voicing opposition to depictions of homosexual eroticism and the fact that the artist had received some funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The show was put on in Cincinnati in 1990 and this resulted in litigation over obscenity charges (subsequently, charges against the show sponsors resulted in an acquittal). The death of the artist from AIDS just before this brought about a clamorous collision between art, reality, morality, and legal issues. At the same time, the “culture wars” between liberal and conservative viewpoints flared up in many arenas. As an indirect consequence of Mapplethorpe’s photographs, public funding for the arts suffered drastic curtailment in the 1990s but the art world, for the most part, became more steadfast as a defender of freedom of expression.


Danto, A. C. (1996). Playing With the Edge: The Photographic Achievement of Robert Mapplethorpe . Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Mapplethorpe, R. (1999). Pictures: Robert Mapplethorpe . Edited by D. Levas. New York: Arena Editions.

Mapplethorpe, R. (1983). Lady: Lisa Lyon . New York: St. Martins.

Mapplethorpe, R. (1980). Robert Mapplethorpe: Black Males . Text by Edmund White. Amsterdam: Galeria Jurka.

Marshall, R., Howard, R. and Sischy, I. (1988). Robert Mapplethorpe . New York: Whitney Museum of Art.

Morrisroe, P. (1995). Mapplethorpe . New York: Papermac 1995.

MARK, MARY ELLEN (1940) American

Mark is among an elite group of photographers known around the world for her incisive style of documentary work that is both engaging and sensitive. Her subjects often seem exotic or unusual but Mark cultivates an intimate quality in the pictures that renders familiarity without diminishing the very human circumstances of the people in front of her camera. Before earning an MA (1965) in photojournalism at the University of Pennsylvania, Mark had bought her first Leica and had already traveled on a Fulbright grant to Turkey and later, India. By 1969 she had assignments doing production stills for films like Satyricon with Fellini. Her work has been published in Look, Life, Time, New York Times Magazine, Vogue , and Vanity Fair , only to name a few among a hundred periodicals. She was a member of Magnum from 1977 to 1981. High-quality book publications have been a major goal of Mark’s involvement with defined subcultures in society for almost three decades. Featured among these are teenage drug users in Seattle, women in a mental hospital, prostitutes in India, Mother Teresa, circus performers, and more recently, sets of identical twins (using Polaroid 20 × 24). A characteristic of Mark’s considerable talent is her ability to form a trusting relationship with her subjects to provide viewers with a compassionate, first-person encounter—almost as if Mark is a surrogate for the general public who would never otherwise have such privileged access to these vital human dramas. The emotions and intellects that Mark has affected with her photographic oeuvre is truly one of the outstanding contributions to the history of the medium.


Fulton, M. (1991). Mary Ellen Mark: 25 Years . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Hagen, C. (2001). Mary Ellen Mark . London: Phaidon Press.

Mark, M. E. (2003). Twins . New York: Aperture.

Mark, M. E. (1993). Indian Circus . San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Mark, M. E. (1988, 1991). Streetwise . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press [reprinted by Aperture, 1991].

Mark, M. E. (1981). Falkland Road: Prostitutes of Bombay . New York: Knopf.

Mark, M. E. Ward 81 . Text by K. Jacobs. New York: Simon & Schuster.

McBEAN, ANGUS (1904–1990) Welsh

Born in South Wales, McBean studied architecture before settling for a banking clerk’s job. By 1925 family circumstances forced him to move to London where he worked for a prominent antiques dealer for seven years (sales and restoration).
He learned photography from Hugh Cecil and began constructing and photographing masks. This series of events lead to McBean’s eventual talent as one of the world’s leading theatrical photographers. He is best known for his work constructing elaborate studio sets, mask making, costuming, manipulation techniques—all to produce personality and stage production images that have a very surreal look—almost like photographic versions of a Salvador Dali landscape. He photographed stage versions of McBeth sixteen times in four decades. Noted celebrity subjects include Audrey Hepburn, Paul Scofield, Lawrence Olivier, and Vivian Leigh (the later photographed by McBean dozens of times over thirty years). Many of McBean’s photographs are stark illusions and startling depictions of lifelike heads and torsos, pieces of classical architecture, emerging from a sandy wasteland. Later in his career he photographed the Beatles for 1963 and 1970 album covers, and did color fashions for Vogue in the mid-1980s. His annual Christmas card creations, sent to friends since 1936, have become a valuable auction item. In 1968 Harvard University purchased all of his theater negatives—48,000 images weighing four and a half tons.


McBean, A. (1982). Angus McBean . Text by A. Woodhouse. Foreword by [Lord] Snowdon. London: Quartet Books.

MCCULLIN, DON (1935) British

McCullin studied painting for two years before joining the Royal Air Force in 1954 where he became a photo assistant for aerial reconnaissance. By 1959 he began reportage with his camera and had pictures of a London youth gang published in The Observer . He won acclaim for 1961 images of the building of the Berlin Wall. As a conscientious believer in the power of photography to effect change, McCullin decided to try to curtail war and brutality by documenting conflict to reveal the true horror of violence. He covered the war in Cyprus in 1964 and later the Vietnam War (graphic images of the Tet offensive of 1968). He has been on the front lines of wars and human disasters (famine, genocide) around the world—Congo, Israel, Biafra, Cambodia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, and India. For a time he was a member of Magnum. Book publications include The Destruction Business (1971) also published in the United States as Is Anyone Taking Any Notice? (1973). After many years on staff with The Sunday Times he went back to freelance assignments in 1985. In the early 1990s he had gone into seclusion in England, trying to force himself to make more lyrical “art” photographs of still life and landscape, often utilizing antique photo processes. Self-assessment of this activity as a non-fulfilling pursuit brought him back to the forefront of social activism. Since 2000 he has worked in Africa for the Christian Aid Society and has been active in AIDS awareness campaigns.


McCullin, D. (2005). Don McCullin in Africa . London: Jonathan Cape.

McCullin, D. (2001). Don McCullin . London: Jonathan Cape.

McCullin, D. (1992). Unreasonable Behaviour . New York: Knopf.

McCullin, D. (1980). Don McCullin: Hearts of Darkness . Introduction by J. LeCarré. London: Random House.

MEATYARD, RALPLH EUGENE (1925–1972) American

Born in Illinois, Meatyard attended Williams College on the Navy V-12 program. He became a licensed optician in 1949 after working for Dow Optical in Chicago. Moved to Lexington, Kentucky, for an optician job, became interested in photography, and sought out Van Deren Coke as a teacher/mentor; bought twin lens reflex in 1950. He also studied with Minor White but thought of himself as a “primitive” photographer. Meatyard’s photographic work is primarily square, black and white images of children and anonymous figures wearing Halloween masks in rural fields, abandoned structures, or barns. He often experimented with movement of one or more human subjects producing enigmatic blurred features. The work creates macabre overtones with doll images and nightmare juxtapositions of innocence (children) and potential danger. Many critics have attributed visual elements in Meatyard’s photographs to metaphors for death and decay. He was influenced by literary sources and his final theme, before an untimely death, was The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater (published posthumously in 1974). Characters and scenes in this series are taken somewhat literally from a Gertrude Stein story of a Southern lady. Meatyard’s work appeared in print in the early 1970s just as university art programs in the United States began to experience a growing trend in creative photography; this, and the appeal of a psychological dimension, may explain the longevity of this man’s influence.


Coke, V. D. (1976). Ralph Eugene Meatyard: A Retrospective . Normal, IL: Center for Visual Arts, Illinois State University.

Meatyard, R. E. (2004). Ralph Eugene Meatyard . Essay by G. Davenport. New York: ICP.

Tannenbaum, B. (1991). Ralph Eugene Meatyard: An American Visionary . Akron: OH: Akron Art Museum.

MEISELAS, SUSAN (1948) American

Meiselas has a BA degree (1970) in anthropology from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in education from Harvard where she took her first photography course in 1971. She consulted with Polaroid Corporation on strategies for visual education in the nation’s classrooms. Her earliest documentary book, Carnival Strippers (1976), is distinguished by her method of obtaining many of the images—she disguised herself as a man to gain entry to strip shows with her concealed camera. As a gatherer of “fact,” she also made behind-the-scene images and sound recordings of women strippers she interviewed. Much of her career has been marked by involvement with the cultures and conflicts in Central America, particularly Nicaragua. Due to her tenacity and resourcefulness, she produced (and later published) an incredible record of civil war in Nicaragua (1978–1979) after determining that she needed to put herself in jeopardy in order to make the most compelling photographs. When she arrived alone in Managua she had little equipment, no press credentials, and could barely speak Spanish. She later documented civil strife in El Salvador, risking her life in areas where the government had banned all journalists. Her color photography documenting civil unrest is not so much a recording of “war” as it is a multi-layered view of a people’s struggle to define and preserve their culture, religion, and methods of government. Meiselas has been a member of Magnum since 1976 and has had work published in Time, Life, The New York Times, GEO , and Paris Match among many other titles. She recently has documented events and peoples in Kurdistan and New Guinea.


Meiselas, S. (2001). Pandora’s Box . London and New York: Trebruk.

Meiselas, S. (1981). Nicaragua From June 1978–July 1979 . New York: Pantheon.

Meiselas, S. (1997). Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History . New York: Random House.

METZGER, RAY (1931) American

Metzger received his MS degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1959 where he studied with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Prior to that he graduated from Beloit College and had begun photographing at the age of fourteen. His innovative contribution to creative photography in the 1960s was making large composites of still images. Assemblages of 50 or more prints measured 4 × 5 feet; the photographs, usually of banal urban scenes, would have slight alterations between them but from a distance the mosaic became a pattern of shapes. The rows and columns formed a synthesis that might resemble sheet music or an industrial form like a manifold or metallic grid. In fact, Metzger had written in his journals that as a young artist he worked with kinetic sculptures influenced by music and flux—percussion patterns that manifest themselves in his abstract compositions. The photographs are fragments linked by juxtaposition in a cumulative regimen that could be inspected one image (photographic print) at a time and, at least in theory, they form a cinematic chronology without the need for actors or any implied drama. Another theme of Metzger’s (Sand Creatures, 1979) was photographs made at Atlantic City of random sunbathers sprawled out on the beach (taken from a slight aerial position). The contrast patterns of shadow and highlight, bathing suit and flesh, created a similar rhythm of formal design, but not as syncopated as the mosaic murals. A later series, Pictus Interruptus, included out-of-focus objects held up in front of the camera lens partially obscuring the scene. Recent images by Metzger have come from the organic landscape. Metzger has taught at the Philadelphia College of Art for four decades.


Tucker, A. W. (1984). Unknown Territory: Photographs by Ray Metzger . Houston: New York: Aperture.

Turner, E. H. (2000). Ray K. Metzger: Landscapes . New York: Aperture.

MEYEROWITZ, JOEL (1938) American

Meyerowitz enjoys a reputation as one of the most successful photographers to begin using large-format color materials in the 1970s when black and white was the palette of serious artists. Born in New York, Meyerowitz earned a degree in medical illustration and painting from Ohio State in 1959 and eventually took a job as an advertising art director. As part of his art directing job one day he had to accompany Robert Frank on a location shoot. Meyerowitz says his life changed completely after that (1963). He began using color slide film and then black and white film to make “street photographs” (other influences were Cartier-Bresson and Winogrand). His rapid assimilation of many photographic techniques led him to purchase an 8 × 10 Deardorff that was exactly as old as he was. His first award-winning book, Cape Light (1978), included photographs that captured the essence of light and the nuance of color at the cape where sky meets water and sand seen through misty hues (at f/90 and 1/2 second). Meyerowitz’ other work includes lyrical views of St. Louis near the Arch, redheads at the cape, flowers, and work from Tuscany. Meyerowitz lives in lower Manhattan; on 9/11/2001 he was away from the city. When he was able to return to Manhattan, he took it upon himself to be the photographer for posterity’s views of Ground Zero and the long progress of recovery and renewal. His story of how he got exclusive access to the site of the former World Trade Center buildings should accompany his poignantly bittersweet photo-essay. The U.S. State Department has already circulated dozens of his complete exhibitions on this subject to tour the world. Meyerowitz has also coedited a ponderous book on the history of street photography.


Meyerowitz, J. (2003). Tuscany: Inside the Light . Text by M. Barrett. Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Meyerowitz, J. (1996). At The Water’s Edge . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Meyerowitz, J. (1990). Redheads . New York: Rizzoli.

Meyerowitz, J. (1983). Wild Flowers . Boston: New Graphic Society.

Meyerowitz, J. (1980). St. Louis and the Arch . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Westerbeck, C. (2005). Joel Meyerowitz . New York: Phaidon Press.

MICHALS, DUANE (1932) American

As a child, Michals, born near Pittsburgh, liked to draw and to look at picture books in the local library. He went to the University of Denver to study art (BA, 1953) and soon was employed as a paste-up artist ( Look magazine) and art director. He borrowed a camera to take on a trip to the USSR in 1958 and returned with a desire to change his career to photography. He was self-taught in darkroom rudiments and by 1966 began work on sequences of tableaux scenes that have become his signature contribution to creative photography. Strongly influenced by artists Magritte and Balthus, Michals uses simple interiors, a few actors (often himself), sparse props, and a psychological precept to create a dreamlike sequence told in the space of three to ten images. Since the mid-1970s, handwritten text endorses the surreal drama to validate memories and aspects of our own dreams or premonitions about the mystery of relationships, metaphysics, or the afterlife. One of Michals’ most popular sequences is “Things Are Queer” (1973)—a visual illusion of scale and presumed chronology which is turned inside-out in ten short steps. Much of Michals’ work uses mirror reflections, double-exposure, blur, and the simple construct of suggestion to move the viewer through a paradoxical interpretation about the artist’s favorite themes—sex, mortality, and spirituality. Parallel success as a commercial photographer has brought Michals a highly lucrative career in published portraiture and fashion ( Vogue, Mademoiselle, Esquire, The New York Times ). With a bare economy of production, no digital manipulation, and a potent respect for the human imagination, Michals remains one of the most influential artists for current generations of photographers.


Livingstone, M. (1997). The Essential Duane Michals . Boston: Thames & Hudson.

Michals, D. (1990). Duane Michals: Now Becoming Then . Essay by M. Kozloff. Altadena, CA: Twin Palms Publishing.

Michals, D. (1988). Album: The Portraits of Duane Michals: 1958–1988 . Pasadena, CA: Twelvetrees.

Michals, D. (1986). The Nature of Desire . Pasadena, CA: Twelvetrees.

Michals, D. (1976). Real Dreams: Photostories by Duane Michals . Danbury, NH: Matrix Publishers.

Michals, D. (1970). Sequences . New York: Doubleday.

MILLER, LEE (1907–1977) American photographer and model

Born (“Elizabeth”) in Poughkeepsie, New York, Miller drew much inspiration from her father, an avid photographer and inventor. After modeling for Steichen and Horst, she moved to Paris and became a model and assistant (and lover) to Man Ray (1929–1932) where she learned the technical craft and became an accomplished photographer of the avant-garde circle. She opened her own New York studio in 1932 and was successful in advertising, fashion, and portraits, eventually working solely for Vogue . Married an Egyptian, Aziz Bey, and moved to Cairo (1934), but that relationship dissolved and she moved to England and married (1947) the author and prominent art collector, Roland Penrose. During WWII she served as a U.S. Army war correspondent. After some documentary work for Vogue about the war’s effects on England, she boldly got herself transported just behind the Allied lines near the Normandy beaches. Miller was one of the first to enter and photograph the German concentration camps of Buchenwald and Dachau. Later she lived in Hitler’s Munich apartment and was photographed bathing in Hitler’s bathtub (photo by partner, D. Scherman). After 1945 her life was enriched by the comings and goings of the art elite at the Penrose estate in East Sussex. Miller accumulated over 1000 negatives of Picasso over 20 years. Her career, documented in several biographies, was fast paced and certainly, through a combination of myth and truth, one of the most fascinating in 20th century photography.


Burke, C. (2005). Lee Miller: A Life . New York: Knopf.

Calvocoressi, R. (2002). Portraits from a Life: Lee Miller . New York: Thames & Hudson.

Livingston, J. (1989). Lee Miller, Photographer . New York: Thames & Hudson.

Penrose, A. (1992). Lee Miller’s War: Photographer and Correspondent with the Allies in Europe 1944–1945 . Edited by A. Penrose. Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Penrose, A. (1985). Lives of Lee Miller . New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston [biography].

MISRACH, RICHARD (1949) American

Native of California, Misrach earned a BA in psychology from University of California-Berkeley (1971) and was self-taught in photography. His early work was of street people who lived near the Berkeley campus, but by the early 1980s, he shifted his focus to the Southwest deserts lying beyond the Pacific coastal range. Night flash exposures of cactus were prominent in their toned, aesthetic appeal, but Misrach’s mature work has evolved into a series of “cantos” (more than 20), which address complex issues of environment, pollution, and the notion of “beauty.” The 18th century philosopher, Burke, could have written his essay on “The Beautiful and the Sublime” by seeing only Misrach’s photographs. His landscape studies are sensory, precise records of the past, present, and future of American deserts littered with the remnants of human toil and discard—atomic craters, animal carcasses, tourist detritus, huts, bomb casings, toxic waste, and other archaeological debris. The cantos are given numbers and brief descriptions: Canto XVII: The Skies (The Flood, The Fire, The Pit). There is mixed optimism and apprehension in his oeuvre; amid the crystal atmosphere of a clichéd paradise we see the Space Shuttle, a distant freight train, and sun-gilded mountains. Misrach continues to explore and distill his experiences watching the desert, pointing out clues, sounding the alarm. His seductive perfection (with the camera and in his control over award-winning printed books) has an undertone of our mortal fear—toxic contamination, infection, destruction by fire or submersion in a catastrophic flood (if the bombs don’t kill us first). Recently he has expanded his sentry territory to areas around the Mississippi River in Louisiana (prior to Katrina).


Misrach, R. (2000). The Sky Book . Santa Fe, NM: Arena Editions.

Misrach, R. (1992). Violent Legacies; Three Cantos . New York: Aperture.

Misrach, R. (1990). Bravo 20: The Bombing of the American West . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Misrach, R. (1987). Desert Cantos . Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Misrach, R. (1979). A Photographic Book . San Francisco: Grapestake Gallery.

Tucker, A. W. (1996). Crimes and Splendors: The Desert Cantos of Richard Misrach . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

MODEL, LISETTE (1906–1983) American photographer and educator

Born to affluence in Austria, Model studied music and voice, had private tutors and learned photography as a practical skill (introduced to the medium by her sister, Olga). Moved to Paris (1922–1937); first significant photographs were of tourists at the French Riviera in Nice. Emigrated to New York (1937) where her camera work was encouraged by Brodovitch and Beaumont Newhall, garnering her commercial assignments as well as exhibition venues. She sought out the support of the Photo League and became an active member (investigated by the FBI in 1954 for leftist leanings). She is primarily known for her black and white candid street portraits, unsuspecting subjects captured in a revealing pose and attitude, sometimes in a slightly offset or askew frame. In America, her favorite subjects were people at Coney Island and the Lower East Side. Many images have a slightly “grotesque” aspect partly due to Model’s selection of bodies and physiognomy and partly to cropping and high-contrast lighting. Freelance assignments were published in Look, Harper’s Bazaar, PM Weekly , and Ladies Home Journal . Her considerable influence extended through the university as she taught photography at New School for Social Research, New York, from 1950 until her death. Prominent students included Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, and Larry Fink.


Model, L. (1979). Lisette Model . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Thomas, A. (1990). Lisette Model . Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada.

MOHOLY-NAGY, LASZLO (1895–1946) Hungarian photographer, filmmaker, teacher, painter

Moholy-Nagy was one of the 20th century’s most influential creative intellects and theoreticians. He set new goals for all of the visual arts, promoting photography not as a picture-making medium, but as a method of experimentation for learning. He was a professor from 1923 to 1928 at the Bauhaus, the highly influential German school of art and design founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius. Moholy-Nagy had started his adult life studying law. After being wounded and held as a POW during WWI, the revolutionary art movement, MA, in Hungary got his attention. He then absorbed energy from the new Dadaist and Constructivist art he witnessed when he moved to Berlin. By 1922 he was making photograms and photomontage (“fotoplastik”) with his artist-wife, Lucia Schultz Moholy (she gets half credit for these innovations as well as doing the darkroom work). When he was hired at the Bauhaus, Moholy-Nagy was in charge of the foundation year. He made all students make photograms and “light space modulators” which they had to photograph in variable lighting. “Light” was the magic catalyst in art he preached. His own work also included photographs made from unusual angles, negative images, and films. One of several books he wrote endorsed Neue Sehen (New Vision)— Malerei, Fotografie, Film (Painting, Photography, Film) published in 1925. He fled Germany when the Nazis took control and eventually came to Chicago where he was appointed Director of the New Bauhaus in 1937. A year later he created the Institute of Design in Chicago and taught there until his death.


Haus, A. (1980). Moholy-Nagy: Photographs and Photograms . New York: Pantheon.

High, E. M. (1985). Moholy-Nagy: Photography and Film in Weimar Germany . Wellesley, MA: Wellesley College Museum.

Kostelanetz, R. (1970). Moholy-Nagy . New York: Da Capo Press.

Moholy-Nagy, L. (1995). In Focus: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum . Edited by K. Ware. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.

Passuth, K. (1985). Moholy-Nagy . New York: Thomas & Hudson.

MORGAN, BARBARA BROOKS (1900–1992) American photographer and painter

Born in Kansas, Morgan studied art at UCLA and taught there from 1925 to 1930. She had decided at age four to become an artist. When she married photographer Willard Morgan they moved to New York and she continued her abstract painting until the birth of two sons. Having met Edward Weston in 1925, Morgan already knew that photography could be a potent art form, and with encouragement from her husband, she began making photographs. With a camera she could explore the rhythms of nature that she had learned about from her father as a little girl (that all things are made of moving, dancing atoms). Her most famous work soon followed; the dance movement photographs of Martha Graham. Morgan had said that dance was a “combustion” of energy and she felt challenged to capture this on film. Letter to the World—Kick (1940) is her triumph (Graham interpreting the life of Emily Dickinson). For ten years until 1945, Morgan documented the genesis of modern dance in America, dramatically capturing for posterity the graceful and athletic movements of Graham, Merce Cunningham, Charles Weidman, and Josè Limòn. Morgan was also a pioneer in her use of photomontage and moving light abstraction. Portraits and nature subjects also were found in her portfolio. She was a founding member of the Photo League (1937) and of the influential quarterly, Aperture (1952). She was co-owner, with her husband, of the photographic publishing house Morgan & Morgan, Scarsdale/Dobbs Ferry, New York (1935–1972).


Carter, C. (1988). Barbara Morgan: Prints, Drawings, Watercolors & Photographs . Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan.

Morgan, B. (1980). Barbara Morgan: Photomontage . Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan.

Morgan, B. (1972). Barbara Morgan . Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan.

Morgan, B. (1964). Barbara Morgan: Monograph. Aperture issue #11.

Morgan, B. (1951). Summer’s Children: A Photographic Circle of Life at Camp . Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan.

Morgan, B. (1941, 1980). Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs . Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan [reprinted 1980].

MORIMURA, YASUMASA (1951) Japanese

Morimura has risen to fame as an artist featured in the 1988 Venice Biennale. Since 1990 his self-portraits combine complex tableaux and computer manipulation to allow him to occupy the space of the main subjects in re-created famous paintings by Van Gogh, Manet, Rembrandt, Goya, Kahlo, and others. He has a BA degree in painting (1978) from Kyoto City University of Arts. As a child growing up in Osaka, Morimura states he learned about art history in school by seeing reproductions of famous Western masterpieces (oriental art was not emphasized). By using reproductions of famous Western paintings, changing gender roles (commonplace in traditional Japanese kabuki theatre), and restaging the painted scenes, Morimura is considered by some to be in tune with the post-modern critique of stereotypes, patrimony, and media saturation. Others find a complex yin/yang duality or racial re-identity in the substitution of previously painted subjects with an Asian face and a slim male physique. Still others find unabashed humor and delight at the props and costumes that the artist has constructed for the photograph. In assuming various roles for his camera, Morimura undergoes extensive transformation with make-up and clay augmentation to his face and body. His self-conscious display is a literal performance that goes beyond Duchamp’s creation of “Rose Selavy” as the latter’s alter ego. Morimura’s most recent work is assembled from many studio stills (he plays all the parts in multi-figure compositions). Comparisons to the work of Cindy Sherman are frequent. Besides Western art history themes, Morimura has also made photographs of himself transformed into feminine idols (Monroe, Bardot, Minnelli). It is unusual to find vetted photographic art that is humorous, sardonic, entertaining, and perplexingly intricate all at the same time.


Morimura, Y. (2003). Daughter of Art History: Photographs by Yasumasa Morimura . Introduction by D. Kuspit. New York: Aperture.

MORTENSEN, WILLIAM (1897–1965) American photographer, teacher, and author

Mortensen, born in Utah, lived in Southern California and became the outspoken leader of the pictorialist movement in the United States during the 1930s. His photography consisted of Hollywood film stills, portraits of noted actors/actresses, and his personal art, and aggressively manipulated images of mythological, historical, and literary characters. He carried on an intense debate in camera periodicals (1930s) with Ansel Adams over contentious principles of Pictorialism vs. “straight” photography (the latter personified by Group f/64). As an unjust consequence for his stubborn defense of more romantic theories for photography, Mortensen was essentially ostracized from most authoritative canons of photographic history—especially those authored by Adams’ good friends, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall. Renewed interest and respect for Mortensen, his work and writings, has been courageously led by the critic A. D. Coleman (see his essay and others in William Mortensen: A Revival , 1998). Mortensen perfected his metal-chrome process (bromoil derived) and pattern screen methods for modifying photographic prints, as well as publishing many books on abrasive-tone monoprints and technical hints on lighting, models, costumes, and darkroom modifications. His portrait subjects include Fay Wray, Jeanne Crain Lon Chaney, Clara Bow, John Barrymore, Jean Harlow, and George Dunham (his collaborator and favorite model). In 1932 he founded the William Mortensen School of Photography, Laguna Beach, California, and one of his students was Rock Hudson. Many contemporary critics and scholars point out the example of Mortensen’s portrait style as a validated antecedent when considering the acclaimed praise and popularity of the manipulated images of Cindy Sherman and Yasumasa Morimura.


Mortensen, W. (1936, 1973). Monsters and Madonnas . San Francisco: Camera Craft Publishing [reprinted 1973].

Mortensen, W. (1937). The Command to Look: A Formula for Picture Success . San Francisco: Camera Craft Publishing.

Mortensen, W. (1937). The Model: A Book on the Problems of Posing . San Francisco: Camera Craft Publishing.

NACHTWEY, JAMES (1948) American

The title of Nachtwey’s recent book, Inferno (1999), symbolizes not only the super-heated, destructive nature of the Hellish world events he has documented, it also asks his viewers for a pronouncement of guilt against the sins of sinister forces that destroy humanity and thrive outside the moral boundaries of common decency. In a way, Nachtwey’s own career as a universally celebrated photojournalist has “caught fire” and has propelled his imagery into the forefront of the world’s news and print media. Born in Syracuse, New York, educated at Dartmouth, Nachtwey learned the rudiments of newspaper photography in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He quickly rose to the top of documentary talents with membership in Black Starr (1981), Magnum (1986–2000), and more recently with Agency VII. He is on staff with Time magazine. He has traveled the world wherever hot spots are ignited by war, revolution, genocide, or mass famine—Belfast, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, and Romania. He is the recipient of four Robert Capa gold medals, the Leica Medal, and the W. Eugene Smith award. His cumulative work is unquestioningly the ultimate visual summary of the worst unspeakable acts occurring in the last two decades. His dedication, not unlike many genuine photojournalists, puts him so close to the action he needs to use wide-angle lenses on his cameras. Inferno contains a brutal look at the savagery of the slaughter of Tutsis by the Hutus—pictures that Nachtwey hopes he will never have to replicate in another time and place. His desire is to compel world consciousness to undertake social and political action to prevent these kinds of horrors.


Nachtwey, J. (1999). Inferno . London: Phaidon Press.

Nachtwey, J. (1989). Deeds of War . New York: Random House.

NETTLES, BEA (1946) American

Nettles spent the first twenty years of her life in Florida—a fact that has motivated and influenced much of her personal art and self-published books, although the true inspiration for her has been her family and experiences as a daughter, wife, and mother. Nettles got her degree (BFA, 1968) at the University of Florida, working with Robert Fichter and Uelsmann (but majoring in painting/printmaking). Her MFA degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (where she has taught since 1984), was more photographic with mixed media. She has said her work is about “themes of loss and hope” (Tucker, The Woman’s Eye , 1973). Many titles of books and series also reveal a sense of humor and we might assume that hope wins out in the end. For almost four decades she has used snapshots, plastic camera images, alternative processes, the physicality of mirrors, plastic, thread, and fabric to construct art objects. Nettles’ work was selected by Peter Bunnell to be in an influential exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Photography Into Sculpture in 1970. When she began teaching in Rochester, New York, in the 1970s, she produced many modest books (privately published by Inky Press). The first of these was Events in the Water (1973). In most of her work, usually accompanied by suggestive titles, Nettles has made use of family snapshots, self-portraits, and references to the stages of the life cycle to create metaphors and designate archetypal vehicles for her view of what really matters. Her reputation in the field is generally acknowledged to be equally important as an educator at Rochester Institute of Technology (1976–1984) and at the University of Illinois. She has also published a technical “recipe” book on alternative photographic processes.


Nettles, B. (1997). Memory Loss: Bea Nettles . Urbana, IL: Inky Press.

Nettles, B. (1990). Life’s Lessons: A Mother’s Journal . Norfolk, VA: Prairie Books Art Center.

Nettles, B. (1979). Flamingo In The Dark: Images by Bea Nettles . Rochester, NY: Inky Press.

Nettles, B. (1977). Breaking the Rules: A Photo Media Cookbook . Rochester, NY: Inky Press.

NEWMAN, ARNOLD (1918–2006) American

Born in New York, Newman might have become a painter but for the fact that his family’s finances from several oceanside hotels evaporated in 1938 while he was studying art at the University of Miami. As compensation for disrupted academic study, Newman accepted work with a family friend who ran a chain of cheap, mass production portrait studios (Perskie’s in Philadelphia area department stores). For about a year, Newman makes 49 cent portraits, toils in the darkroom but becomes encouraged by his vision for meaningful photographs. By 1940 Newman adopts the camera as his artist’s tool and makes portraits (especially artists), abstractions, and social documentation. In 1946 he is in New York and begins freelance assignments for Harper’s Bazaar and Life . His most famous image is a 1946 portrait of Igor Stravinsky in the extreme lower left corner of a graphic space dominated by the silhouette lid of his piano—ironically, rejected for publication by Brodovitch for Harper’s Bazaar . During the next half century, Newman’s portraits established the high water mark for “environmental portraiture.” The highest echelon of these groups—artists, presidents, corporate leaders, musicians, authors—have been the subjects of Newman compositions (most in black and white) that place the personality in a dynamic equilibrium with that person’s tools, creations, symbols, or work space. Max Ernst sits in a high-back, ornate throne next to a kachina, his head wrapped in surreal curls of smoke; Mondrian is amid a geometric grid of his canvases and an easel. Shooting 24 covers for Life , Newman’s work has also appeared in Fortune, Look, Holiday, Esquire, Town and Country , and The New Yorker . A recent monograph, Arnold Newman (Taschen, 2000), is a comprehensive survey of Newman’s photographic oeuvre with biographical essays, a chronology, and extensive bibliography.


Fern, A. M. (1992). Arnold Newman’s Americans . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Newman, A. (1986). Arnold Newman: Five Decades . San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Newman, A. (1979). The Great British . London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Newman, A. (1974). One Mind’s Eye, The Portraits and Other Photographs of Arnold Newman . Boston: David R. Godine.

NEWTON, HELMUT (1920–2004) Australian

Born (H. Neustaedter) in Berlin, Newton bought a box camera when he was twelve; schoolwork was replaced by photography of many girlfriends and he was expelled from two schools. Self-taught in some aspects, he apprenticed with Yva (Else Simon), a fashion/portrait photographer until Newman’s parents insisted he leave Germany as the Nazi menace grew. He wound up in Singapore then became an Australian citizen (served 1940–1945 in the Australian military). He married June Brunell (a.k.a. Alice Springs) in 1948. His career took off when he returned to Europe in the late 1950s. He was on staff at Vogue for many years as his daring fashion work became more charged with erotic tension and voyeurism. His work was seen in Elle, Stern, Playboy, Nova , and Queen . His fashion images are noted for their depiction of somewhat aloof, domineering models that exude an aggressive power. His sets were not studios; Newman preferred fin-de-siecle hotel staircases, luxury apartments, lavish estates, and castles as backdrops for dramatic scenes that were fraught with jet set accessories and suppressed desire. His work, never understated, drew sharp criticism from a growing cadre of critics—both male and female—that denounced the images as abusive and degrading to women, promoting S & M behavior, and nothing more than soft porn. Many Newton books were published that showcased images that had not appeared in the American media—photographs that broadly hinted at lesbianism, bondage, and fetish attraction. He died in an automobile accident in Hollywood in 2004.


Newton, H. (2002). Helmut Newton: Autobiography . New York: Nan A. Talese.

Newton. H. (2000). Sumo . Cologne: Taschen.

Newton. H. (1981). Big Nudes . Text by K. Lagerfeld. Paris: Xavier Moreau Inc.

Newton, H. (1978). Sleepless Nights . Munich: Schiermer/Mosel/Verlag GmbH.

Newton, H. (1976). White Women . London: Quartet Books.

NILSSON, LENNART (1922) Swedish

Known worldwide as a pioneer biomedical photographer, Nilsson was the first to photograph the growth of a live fetus inside the womb. Born near Stockholm, he never formally studied science or medicine, but by age five had a collection of local flora and fauna. He got a camera when he was 12 and became a press photographer in the 1940s. Some early images of workers resemble the documentary style of Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers in the United States. He completed an in-depth photo-essay about the Salvation Army in Sweden. His work shifted to close-up magnifications; ants became the subject of his first book in 1959. In 1965 he published A Child is Born , which showcased his work photographing the growth of the human embryo inside the mother’s womb using special lenses with fiber-optic lights. One notable image of a human fetus was featured on the cover of LIFE April 30, 1965—the issue sold out—eight million copies in four days. He continued on staff at Life for seven years doing picture stories on polar bears and Ingmar Bergman, among others. His other remarkable accomplishments are images of the body (inside the beating heart during surgery, first photograph of an image registered on the human retina). More recently he has used scanning electron microscopes to photograph the fertilization of a human ovum by a single sperm and the first images of the isolated HIV virus. Although he never received proper credit in books on the history of photography, he has been honored to have his embryo images sent out into the universe aboard NASA’s Voyager I and II spacecrafts.


Nilsson, L. (2002). Lennart Nilsson: Images of His Life . Jacob Forsell, ed., Stockholm: Bokförlaget Max Ström.

Nilsson, L. (1987). The Body Victorious: The Illustrated Story of our Immune System . New York: Delacorte Press.

Nilsson, L. (1966, 1971). A Child is Born: The Drama of Life Before Birth . New York: Delacorte Press (reprint 1971).

NIXON, NICHOLAS (1947) American

Born in Detroit, Nixon received his BA in American literature (University of Michigan) and his MFA in 1974 (University of New Mexico). His early photography was of architecture and city views; he was one of the artists featured in the important 1975 exhibition, New Topographics, at the George Eastman House. Since then his photography has been almost exclusively of people, most made with an 8 × 10 view camera (Pictures of People, 1988). A concern for social issues was underwritten by his volunteer work for VISTA in St. Louis before he started graduate school. Nixon’s choice of image groupings, often measured out in one year assignments, has included children and adults shown in the semi-public space of the “front porch,” his wife, Bebe and her three sisters (The Brown Sisters, 1999), school pupils, and people with AIDS. His carefully controlled photograph situations, which still allow a surprising degree of spontaneity from subjects, is generated by the photographer’s immense respect for his subjects and a keen intuition for visual density and detail. His AIDS documentation (exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and book with text by Bebe Nixon, 1991) created public discord and controversy; in no way due to the photographer’s lack of sensitivity, talent, or ethical standards. Most recently, Nixon has been photographing couples posed in intimate contexts, and people out and about in the Boston Public Gardens. Another recent project has been the documentation of his son’s sixth grade class in the unfolding events of a typical year in public school.


Nixon, N. (1983). Nicholas Nixon: Photographs from One Year . Carmel, CA: Friends of Photography Bookstore.

Nixon, N. (1991). People With AIDS: Photographs by Nicholas Nixon . Text by B. Nixon. Boston: David R. Godine.

Nixon. N. (1998). School: Photographs from Three Schools . Essay by R. Coles. New York: Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown.

OUTERBRIDGE, PAUL, JR. (1896–1958) American

Trained in sculpture, illustration, and theater design, Outerbridge quickly switched allegiance to photography after service in the Canadian Royal Air Corps and a job photographing airplane parts in Oregon. In 1921 he enrolled in the Clarence White School in New York. Within a few years he was teaching aesthetics and composition there. By 1924 he did commissions for Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar , and Vogue . While in Paris (1925–1929) as art director of Paris Vogue , he was embraced by the group of avant-garde artists that included Duchamp, Dali, Picabia, and Man Ray. He returned to the United States in 1929 and continued as a popular commercial photographer for his usual magazine clients now including House Beautiful . During the 1920s and 1930s his platinum prints were mostly done in the studio and were characterized by bold composition, a concern for volume, line, and abstraction that were, as he stated, “devoid of sentimental association.” His technical skill was unrivaled in the unique production of tri-color carbro prints; this process and his philosophy were described in his book, Photography In Color (1940). Later in his life he moved to Laguna Beach, California, and traveled extensively. After WWII his more provocative 1930s color work with the female nude gradually became known. This work, held in his private collection, revealed more Freudian preoccupations with sexual fetishism, decadence, and erotic surrealism.


Howe, G. (1980). Paul Outerbridge, Jr., Photographs . New York: Rizzoli (reprinted from a smaller 1976 exhibition catalog).

PARKER, OLIVIA (1941) American

Educated at Wellesley in art history (BA, 1963), Parker was self-taught as a photographer in 1970 after experimentation with painting. Most of her work has been close-ups (tombstone carvings), studio constructions, and arrangements using an assortment of objects, old engravings, and cast shadows. Making large-format contact prints from 4 × 5 through 8 × 10 negatives, one of Parker’s particular stylistic traits has been a luscious split tone of cooler grays with eggplant purples (selenium toned gelatin silver prints). Compositions include floral subjects, fruit, and prisms, as well as old iron hardware and figurative elements such as small reproductions of classical busts. Objects and their arranged juxtapositions take on a new context of meaning that may hint at a multitude of intellectual interpretations. Her work offers up influences from Joseph Cornell and Frederick Sommer. Parker, in her artist statements, is quite forthcoming in listing her interests, yet she resists any direct suggestion of what her visual work may be about. A general theme for her photographs could be a mapping for understanding the unknown; a specific concern would be the emancipation of anima motrix—the spirit found inside special objects when they are aligned beneath the alchemist’s illumination. One of her books, Under the Looking Glass (1983), features color images. She has also worked with the Polaroid 20 × 24 camera.


Parker, O. (1978). Signs of Life . Boston: David R. Godine.

Parker, O. (1987). Weighing the Planets . New York: New York Graphic Society.

PARKS, GORDON (1912–2006) American photographer, author, musician, composer, poet, and film director

A self-taught photographer who purchased a used camera in 1937, Parks was one of the earliest internationally praised African American photographers; his career has gone beyond stellar. He grew up in poverty (moving to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1928) as the youngest of fifteen siblings. He worked as a busboy, lumberjack, professional basketball player, and piano player, but got paid for his first photographs of fashion made in Chicago. Sent on a fellowship to the nation’s capital, Parks was hired by Roy Stryker to photograph for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1942. One of Parks’ most noted images was made right inside the FSA government office of custodian Ella Watson (whose husband had been lynched) holding her mop and broom in front of a symbolic American flag (see Figure 23). Parks later traveled the world making pictures for Standard Oil of New Jersey (1943–1948). He ultimately became a mainstay staff photographer for Life (1948–1972), producing such major photographic essays
as “The Death of Malcolm X,” “On the Death of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” and the poignant story of a Brazilian child, “Flavio da Silva.” He founded Essence magazine in 1970 and has photographed a range of personages from Gloria Vanderbilt and Ingmar Bergman to Muhammad Ali. He has also been successful as a mystery author and a Hollywood director ( The Learning Tree , 1969; Shaft , 1971). Recently Parks has dedicated new energy as a post-octogenarian to still life and landscape photography in color and with digital technologies.


Parks, G. (1997). Half Past Autumn: A Retrospective . New York: Bulfinch Press.

Parks, G. (1990). Voices in the Mirror, An Autobiography . New York: Nan A. Talese.

Parks, G. (1948). Camera Portraits: Technique and Principals of Documentary Portraiture . New York: Franklin Watts.

PARR, MARTIN (1952) British

Parr has become the documentarian of Great Britain’s middle class over the last three decades, working in black and white and color, publishing numerous books. Born in Upsum, England, he attended Manchester Polytechnic in the early 1970s. One of his first books was Bad Weather (1982), about the palpable curtain of mist, rain, and snow flurries that envelopes the British Isles; he purchased an underwater camera and flash attachment so he could defy the elements. Parr has been associated with Magnum since 1994. His newer work, almost always in super-saturated colors, takes stock of the public and semi-private life of the English; characters not so stodgy that they won’t tolerate his incessant picture snapping, not too removed from distant claims to royalty or a dukedom that they totally lose all pretense of having that stiff upper lip. In the sum of Parr’s work we see an archive of things and people Aglaise—fish and chips stands, New Brighton beach bathers, Tupperware parties, Tudor style suburbia, the horse and hunt crowd, Piccadilly punks, and shoppers. Visually, his images often provide looming close-ups of hands, arms, or advert signage against a middle ground populated by a dense assortment of figures on holiday or shopping at Ikea. He uses fill-flash in daylight to throw a democratized illumination into all the important crevices of each scene. Writer Susan Kismaric has said that Parr’s off-beat reportage is in harmony with many British authors, like Jonathan Swift, who portrayed society with a tinge of dry humor.


Parr, M. (2000). Think of England . London: Phaidon Press.

Parr, M. (1989). The Cost of Living . Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications.

Parr, M. (1986). The Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton . Merseyside: Promenade.

Williams, V. (2002). Martin Parr . London: Phaidon Press.

PENN, IRVING (1917) American

Penn studied art and design with Brodovitch in the mid-1930s at the Philadelphia Museum of Art School. He spent a year in Mexico painting before moving to New York where he was hired by Alexander Liberman to assist with the graphics for covers of Vogue in 1943. Penn was so particular with the designs that he began photographing them himself. In his career he has done more than 130 Vogue covers. His photography during 1945 to 1960—portraits, fashion, still life—is characterized by cool, formal composition with simple backgrounds. In most instances he prefers diffused natural light to studio strobes. He opened his own studio in 1953 and continues to have many corporate clients (Clinique). Though best known for his work in fashion and portraiture, Penn has developed a varied body of creative work including photographs of ethnic peoples isolated from their environment, whether in New Guinea, Morocco, or Peru, by positioning them against plain backdrops ( Worlds In A Small Room , 1974). In some ways these exotic subjects become “fashion” models or conceptual still life forms seen against a neutral field. He also has made elegant platinum prints of what could generically be termed "trash"—cigarette butts from the gutter outside his studio, discarded paper wrappers, and a torn and soiled glove. In the 1970s he added images of large-size nudes, studies of flower stalks and blooms, and arrangements of bleached animal bones and skulls to his oeuvre. Penn is one of the most prolific and well-respected of all photographers who have ever looked through a viewfinder or on the ground glass. Numerous books about his photography have been published but many viewers still see Penn’s work every day, without credits, on glossy advertisement pages.


Greenough, S. (2005). Irving Penn: Platinum Prints . New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Penn, I. (1991). Passage: A Work Record: Irving Penn . New York: Knopf.

Penn, I. (2001). Still Life: By Irving Penn . Boston: Bulfinch Press.

Szarkowski, J. (1984). Irving Penn . New York:

PORTER, ELIOT FURNESS (1901–1990) American

Porter (brother of the painter Fairfield Porter) graduated from Harvard Medical School (1929) after earning a degree in chemical engineering. He was a professor of biochemistry until 1939. He began photographing in Maine at his family’s summer home at the age of 13 using a Kodak box camera. Introduced to Ansel Adams in the early 1930s, Adams encouraged Porter to switch to a large-format camera for increased quality and control. Porter’s devotion to photography slowly escalated and from 1938 to 1939 Stieglitz exhibited his photographs at An American Place, the last solo exhibition by any photographer there (except for Stieglitz himself). Most of his subject matter was wildlife, especially birds, and the natural landscape. At first he made black and white prints, but with his background in chemistry, Porter became an early practitioner of color photography using the dye transfer process; he made his own three color separation negatives and prints. In 1946 he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he spent most of his remaining life, although he traveled for months at a time. An admirer of Henry David Thoreau, Porter was an ardent conservationist and many of his books were published by the Sierra Club. Books he published documented species of North American birds while other titles were more about geographic “place” including the final natural history documents of the Glen Canyon on the Colorado River just before it was dammed and flooded by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. Other places showcased in print by Porter were Penobscot Country (Maine), Antarctica, the Galapagos, China, and Greece.


Porter, E. (1987). Eliot Porter . Boston: Little, Brown.

Porter, E. et al. (1968). Galapagos: The Flow of Wildness . San Francisco: Sierra Club.

Porter, E. (1963). The Place No One Knew: Glen Canyon on the Colorado . Edited by David Brower. San Francisco: Sierra Club.


Born in Texas, Rauschenberg burst onto the New York art scene in the 1950s with his unconventional “combines,” three-dimensional assemblages that brought together images and objects in a profusion of non-traditional materials. Referred to as Neo-Dada, his multimedia assemblages mixed eloquent passages of paint with transferred news photographs and photo silk screens as well as real objects in a spirit of Dada-like candor and spontaneity. The synergistic integration of highly charged photographic imagery with other media in his work raised new possibilities for photography, illuminating its multiple identities as fiction and fact, abstraction and allegory, enduring and ephemeral, and autobiographical and universal. His aesthetics were enormously influential in the cultural expression of the 20th century: While he blurred discipline-defining boundaries, his works resonate, as he hoped, in the “place between art and life.”


Kotz, M. L. (1990). Rauschenberg, Art and Life . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

Rauschenberg, R. (1981). Photographs/Robert Rauschenberg . London: Thames & Hudson.

Rauschenberg, R. (1969). Rauschenberg . New York: Abrams.

RAY, MAN (EMMANUEL RUDNITSKY) (1890–1976) American

Noted for his “Rayographs,” lens-less photograms exploring the pure use of light, his darkroom experiments with the Sabattier effect, and his innovative mixed media assemblages. A Dadaist provocateur, he became the only American member of the surrealist movement. From 1921 to 1939 he combined artistic endeavors with commercial practice, becoming a noted portraitist of Parisian intellectuals and artists, and establishing a reputation as a fashion photographer. The Nazi occupation forced his escape to Hollywood where he established himself as a controversial figure of the American avant-garde before returning to Paris in 1951.


Baldwin, N. (1988). Man Ray, American Artist . New York: Clarkson N. Potter.

Perl, J. (1997). Man Ray . New York: Aperture Foundation. Ray, M. (1997). Photographs, Paintings, Objects . New York: Norton.

Ray, M. (1982). Man Ray, Photographs . New York: Thames & Hudson.

Ray, M. (1963). Self Portrait . Boston: Little, Brown.

Tashijian, D. (1996). Man Ray: Paris~L.A . Santa Monica, CA: Smart Art Press.

RENGER-PATZSCH, ALBERT (1897–1966) German

A proponent of photography’s Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity.) Renger-Patzsch’s collection of 100 photographs of nature and industry, Die Welt ist Schon (The World is Beautiful) published in 1928, exemplifies the rationality, precision, and faithfulness to subject he characterized as inherent photographic qualities. A purist, Renger-Patzsch helped define photography in the late 1920s and 1930s as a unique, autonomous art form with realism at its essence. His precisely crafted images of natural and factory made objects eschewed subjective influences, and strove to reveal, with rational purity, the material world’s order and beauty.


Kuspit, D. (1993). Joy Before the Object . Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum.

Wilde, A., Wilde, J., and Weske, T. (1997). Albert Renger-Patzsch: Photographer of Objectivity . London: Thames & Hudson.

RICHARDS, EUGENE (1944) American

World-renowned social documentary photographer following in the tradition of W. Eugene Smith. Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, he was an activist and social worker before becoming a noted magazine photographer, prolific member of Magnum, filmmaker, author, and dedicated teacher. Codirector of Many Voices, a media group dedicated to producing films and books on contemporary social issues such as aging, pediatric HIV/AIDS, poverty, and the mentally disabled. Richards works in a compassionate documentary style to produce intimate long-term narratives that educate and promote dialog while sustaining an unflinching look at the hard realities of our contemporary social landscape. Honored for his many books that reflect concern for social justice, his seminal work Exploding Into Life , chronicles his wife’s struggle with breast cancer.


Lynch, D. (1986). Richards, Eugene: Exploding Into Life . New York: Aperture.

Richards, E. (2005). Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue . New York: Aperture.

Richards, E. (2002). Stepping Through the Ashes . New York: Aperture.

Richards, E. (2000). Dorchester Days . London: Phaidon.


A versatile and influential artist in post-revolutionary Russia, Rodchenko helped found the Constructivist movement. His early Constructivist ideas regarding the artists’ role in a progressive Communist society influenced the aesthetics of his wide-ranging projects in various fields of design, photography, and filmmaking. He is known for his experimental photomontage work and innovative photographic composition energized by extreme oblique angles, unorthodox perspectives, and unexpected framing. While he rose to prominence in the cultural bureaucracy of early Bolshevism, his artistic idealism was not able to survive the brutal cultural climate of Stalinism and he spent the last two decades of his life in isolation and obscurity.


Elliott, D. (1979). Alexander Rodchenko . New York: Pantheon.

Noever, P. (ed.) (1991). Aleksandr M. Rodchenko and Varvara F. Stepanova . Munich: Prestel.

ROTHSTEIN, ARTHUR (1915–1985) American

Notable as the first member of a team of photographers chosen by Roy Stryker for the Farm Security Administration’s (FSA) ambitious documentary project, Rothstein photographed poverty in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, life in farm labor camps in California, the struggles of cattle ranchers in Montana, and the devastation of the Dust Bowl, creating iconic images of depression America that influenced public policy. His controversial photograph, Fleeing a Dust Storm, made in the Oklahoma panhandle, created a dialog about documentary practice when it was determined that aspects of the scene had been manipulated by the photographer for dramatic effect (see Figure 8). His dedication to the truth, and his ability to simultaneously picture the dramatic and the ordinary, propelled his photojournalistic career. He photographed for Look magazine, and became head of the photography departments for both Look and Parade magazines. He was a founding member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, now American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP).


Rothstein, A. (1986). Documentary Photography . Boston: Focal Press.

Rothstein, A. (1984). Arthur Rothstein’s America in Photographs, 1930–1980 . New York: Dover.

RUSCHA, EDWARD (1937) American

Employing a wry taxonomical approach to the photographic documentation of West-Coast vernacular structures, Ruscha’s work from the 1960s and 1970s embraces photography in the service of conceptual art. Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations, Every Building on the Sunset Strip , and Thirty-Four Parking Lots in Los Angeles are among his commercially produced and widely influential books. A painter, printmaker, and filmmaker, Ruscha combines Dadaist sensibilities, articulate painting style, and fascination with language into dreamily elusive wordscapes: a poetic blend of word and image that is both critique and celebration of contemporary culture.


Rauscha, E. (1966). Every Building on the Sunset Strip . Los Angeles: Edward Ruscha.

Ruscha, E. (2004). Leave Any Information at the Signal: Writings, Interviews, Bits, Pages . Edited by Alexander Schwartz. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Ruscha, E. (1965). Some Los Angeles Apartments . Los Angeles: Anderson, Ritchie & Simon.

SALGADO, SEBASTIAO (1944) Brazilian

Educated as an economist, Salgado became a photojournalist in 1973, working for the Sygma, Gamma, Magnum Photos, and eventually founding his own agency, Amazonas Images in 1994. His long-term documentary projects, rendered with haunting chiaroscuro, capture the dignity and endurance of humanity against oppression, war, and famine. With a detailed panoramic grandeur, his essays on the inferno of Brazilian gold-ore mines, the end of large-scale manual labor, and the plight of refugees and migrants across 21 countries, chronicle this century’s brutalities. “The planet remains divided,” Salgado explains. “The first world in a crisis of excess, the third world in a crisis of need.”


Salgado, S. (2000). Migrations . New York: Aperture.

Salgado, S. (2000). The Children: Refugees and Migrants . New York: Aperture.

Salgado, S. (1997). Terra: Struggle of the Landless . New York: Aperture.

Salgado, S. (1993). Workers, An Archaeology of the Industrial Age . New York: Aperture.

Salgado, S. (1990). An Uncertain Grace . New York: Aperture.

Salgado, S. (1986). Other Americas . New York: Pantheon Books.

SALOMON, ERICH (1886–1944) German

Using available light and the new miniature cameras with fast lenses, first the Ermanox f.2 with glass plates and then the Leica Model A which used 35 mm motion picture stock, Salomon pioneered modern photojournalism. Beginning in the 1920s, he successfully captured unaware and unposed politicians, diplomats, business magnates, and royalty with his often hidden camera, a keen sense of timing and an uncanny ability to gain access to his subjects. The phrase “candid photography” was coined by a London art critic in 1929 in response to his work. His published work Celebrated Contemporaries in Unguarded Moments , exemplifies his remarkable talent for
capturing the revealing psychological moment. Interned by the Nazis and killed along with his wife and a son at Auschwitz concentration camp.


Salomon, E. (1978). Erich Salomon . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Salomon, E. (1975). Portrait of an Age . New York: Collier Books.

SAMARAS, LUCAS (1936) American

Known as a sculptor, painter, and performance artist, Samaras explored the malleability of photography’s descriptive powers in his complex psychological portraits and tableaux. In his series of AutoPolaroids and PhotoTransformations of the late 1960s and 1970s, Samaras focused on himself as subject, playing multiple roles as artist, subject, actor, director, audience, and critic. With theatricality and narcissistic abandon, he used the baroque and claustrophobic space of his apartment studio for his performance: Exaggerated gesture, garish lighting, and post-exposure photo manipulation characterize his probing meditation on identity. His work revels in the interplay of photographic materials and illusion, enhanced by manipulation of Polaroid’s SX-70s wet photo dyes. He painted directly on the surface of images, splicing together panoramic tableaux and illuminating the simultaneously narrative, documentary, and imaginary character of the medium.


Lifson, B. and Samaras, L. (1987). Samaras: The Photographs of Lucas Samaras . New York: Aperture.

Prather, M. and Samaras, L. (2003). Unrepentant Ego: The Self Portraits of Lucas Samaras . New York: Harry N. Abrams.

SANDER, AUGUST (1876–1964) German

Sander’s portraits of the German people of the 1920s and 1930s made with uncompromising clarity and directness deeply influenced a century of portraiture and documentary work. In 1910, he began work on Menschen des 20 Jahrhunderts (Man of the 20th Century) which, never fully realized, was intended as a comprehensive typological portrait of German society. Eschewing the use of a traditional painted backdrop, he posed his subjects outdoors or in their own environments; his subjects represented every social strata and occupation, from formally posed industrialists to cooks in their kitchens. By organizing his full figure portraits of people into typologies, he hoped to create a total portrait of German society. The first volume of this project, Antlitz der Zeit (Face of Our Time) , was published in 1929, but Sander’s work was banned and all existing books were seized and destroyed by the Nazis. Sander’s studio was bombed during the war. After the war he continued to photograph mostly landscape and architectural studies.


Sander, A. (1999). August Sander, 1876–1964 . London: Taschen.

Sander, A. (1986). August Sander: Citizens of the Twentieth Century: Portrait Photographs 1892–1952 . Edited by Gunther Sander. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Sander, A. (1980). August Sander, Photographs of an Epoch . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

SCHAD, CHRISTIAN (1994–1982) German

While recognized as a painter and proponent of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) whose cold realist portraits reveal the hedonism and apathy in Weimar Germany, he is also acclaimed as the 20th century’s earliest practitioner of experimental camera-less photography in the tradition of Talbot’s “photogenic drawing.” Using torn tickets, receipts, and other “trash,” he created chance arrangements on photographic film called “Schadographs,” so named by the Dada artist and leader Tristan Tzara. In the iconoclastic aura of experimentation that European Dada and Surrealism engendered, artists such as Lazlo Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray independently discovered the creative capabilities of the photogram, but Schad’s experiments preceded theirs by several years and exemplified the Dada ethos of making art from junk.


Lloyd, J. and Peppiatt, M. (2003). Christian Schad and the Neue Sachlichkeit . New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

SHEELER, CHARLES (1883–1965) American

Known primarily as a Precisionist painter, Sheeler’s photographic work was inspired by both the rural and industrial landscape, and was intimately connected, both ideologically and formally, to his painting. His exacting precisionist vision, eye for abstraction, and expressive use of form were central in his photographs, drawings, and paintings. His commercial photographic work for Fortune, Vogue , and Vanity Fair during the 1920s and 1930s gave him a platform to develop his growing interest in architectural and industrial form. Beguiled by the ideology of American industrialism, he produced his most notable photographic series for Ford Motor Company in 1927 at the River Rouge Plant. “Our factories,” wrote the artist, “are our substitute for religious expression.”


Lucic, K. (1991). Charles Sheeler and the Cult of the Machine . London: Reaktion.

Lucic, K. (1997). Charles Sheeler in Doylestown: American Modernism and the Pennsylvania Tradition . Allentown, PA: Allentown Art Museum and University of Washington Press.

Stebbins, T. E., Jr. and Keyes, N., Jr. (1987). Charles Sheeler: The Photographs . Boston: Little, Brown.


Sheridan’s pioneering work during the 1970s and 1980s focused on the use of contemporary communications technology in the practice of art. Working with early reprographic systems, she went on to experiment with an array of imaging tools that included video, computers, and sound, which explored the intersection of photography and binary code. Artist and educator, Sheridan created the Department of Generative Systems at the Art Institute of Chicago based on the notion that art, science, and technology are interrelated conceptual systems. Her work encouraged theoretical discourse essential to our understanding of photography’s changing nature in a global communications environment.

SHERMAN, CINDY (1954) American

Sherman emerged as a key figure in the art world in the 1980s with her series Untitled Film Stills—black and white images that explore gender, identity, mythmaking and the media. She combines performance, masquerade, and photography’s innate collusion with veracity to create film stills of herself as the solitary female heroine in an American drama; her fictional identities were inspired by movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Sherman’s chameleon-like capacity for self-transformation, her blurring of the real and unreal, and her use of saturated color materials and large scale audaciously explore her notion of human identity as a cultural construct.


Krauss, R. E. (1993). Cindy Sherman, 1975–1993 . Essay by Norman Bryson. New York: Rizzoli.

Sherman, C. (2003). Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills . New York: Museum of Modern Art; London: Distributed outside the United States and Canada by Thames & Hudson.

Smith, E. A. T. and Jones, A. (1997). Cindy Sherman: Retrospective. Exhibition Catalogue . Essay by Amanda Cruz. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. New York: Thames & Hudson.

SISKIND, AARON (1903–1991) American

A member of the New York Photo League through the 1930s, Siskind’s early projects such as Dead End: The Bowery and The Harlem Document are rich contributions to the social documentary tradition. In the 1940s he developed enduring connections with artists of the New York School and his work was transformed by a growing interest in abstraction: A visceral and metaphorical abstract expressionism evolved in his richly textured black and white images of found objects, graffiti, peeling posters, and other urban detritus. He became a renowned educator at Chicago’s Institute of Design (1951–1971) and Rhode Island School of Design (1971–1976) and a founder of the Society for Photographic Education.


Chiarenza, C. (1982). Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors . Boston: Little, Brown.

Featherstone, D. (ed.) (1990). Road Trip . San Francisco: The Friends of Photography.

Siskind, A. (2003). Aaron Siskind 100 . New York: power House Books.

SMITH, W. EUGENE (1918–1978) American

Smith’s extended photo-essays in LIFE magazine (1939–1955), Man of Mercy (on Albert Schweitzer), Country Doctor, Spanish Village, and Nurse Midwife helped define a new style of magazine photojournalism in America. Forming an ideology of social responsibility and humanism during his years as a WWII photographer in the Pacific, Smith returned from the war to produce picture stories for Life that resonate with depth, optimism, and belief in the human spirit. His moral and visual standards have had a lasting impact on today’s photographers. “My principle concern is for honesty, above all honesty with myself …” He eventually left the constraints of magazine work to pursue personal projects of greater depth and scope (in Pittsburgh and New York), defining himself as an artist and producing prints of outstanding tonal richness and beauty. His final work, Minamata (1975), produced in collaboration with his second wife, is an essay in photographs and words of the tragic effect of mercury pollution on this small fishing village in Japan. He taught at New York’s New School for Social Research, and served as president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers.


Hughes, J. W. (1989). Eugene Smith, Shadow & Substance . New York: McGraw-Hill.

Maddow, B. (1985). Let Truth Be the Prejudice, W. Eugene Smith, His Life and Photographs . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Smith, W. E. and Smith, A. M. (1975). Minamata . New York: Alskog-Sensorium Book.

SOMMER, FREDERICK (1905–1999) American

Known for his black and white contact prints of exceptional tonal beauty and his probing philosophical approach, he explored a wide range of visual expressions that merged painting, drawing, music, and the photographic image. Influenced by Alfred Steiglitz and Edward Weston, he began making photographs in 1935. His idiosyncratic choices of still life objects steeped in putrescence have a formal elegance, their structure and associations laden with psychological depth. His photographs of cut paper constructions, assemblages and lens-less images of smoke on glass are a fantastical counterpoint to his horizon-less depictions of the southwest landscape. Sommer worked in relative isolation in Arizona for more than fifty years, his prominence coming late in his career.


Conkelton, S. (ed.) (1995). Frederick Sommer: Selected Texts and Bibliography . New York: G. K. Hall.

Sommer, F. (1980). Frederick Sommer at Seventy-Five . Long Beach: The Art Museum and Galleries, California State University.

STEICHEN, EDWARD JEAN (1879–1973) American

A pivotal figure in the growth of creative photography in America, Steichen was one of the founders, with Steiglitz, of the Photo-Secession (1902) and The Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession (known as 291) in New York. Introducing the modernist work of Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, and Rodin to America with debut exhibits at 291, he was also a frequent contributor to Stieglitz’ Camera Work magazine. He produced images of rich tonal depth and romantic sensibility; his early pictorialist use of manipulated gum and pigment printing processes were abandoned for a more precise, pragmatic style. His stylized fashion and celebrity images of the 1920s, published frequently in Vanity Fair and Vogue , were notable for their simple, theatrical settings; dramatic lighting and architectonic backdrops; and had an aura of impersonal cosmopolitan elegance. Shaped by his entrepreneurial spirit and his infatuation with celebrity and prestige, Steichen’s career flourished as Director of Photography for Condé Nast publications (1923–1938). His career, twice punctuated with army and navy combat photographic service during both world wars, eventually led to the museum world. One of his most celebrated achievements came as Director of the Photography Department, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1947–1962) with his marketing of large themed exhibitions of photography, including the hugely popular The Family of Man (1955).


Niven, P. (1997). Steichen: A Biography . New York: Clarkson Potter.

Smith, J. (1999). Edward Steichen: The Early Years . Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Steichen, J. (ed.) (2000). Steichen’s Legacy: Photographs, 1895–1973 . New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

STEINER, RALPH (1899–1986) American

Known as a modernist photographer and filmmaker, Steiner was a founding member of the New York Film and Photo League. His sharp focus, carefully composed photographs portray quotidian America, their exquisite detail and textures presented with a modernist’s eye for meaning in form. A successful career in magazine and advertising photography supported his passion for art photography and avant-garde film. In 1929 he produced his first film, H 2 O . Steiner’s artistry in documentary filmmaking led to his collaboration with photographer Paul Strand as cameraman on Pare Lorentz’ documentary film, The Plow that Broke the Plains , and in 1938 with Willard Van Dyke, on The City , a critically acclaimed film about New York.


Steiner, R. (1978). A Point of View . Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

Steiner, R. (1985). In Pursuit of Clouds: Images and Metaphors . Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Steiner, R. (1986). In Spite of Everything, Yes . Albuquerque: Harwood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, University of New Mexico Press.

STEINERT, OTTO (1915–1978) German

One of the most important post-war German photographers and founder of the Subjective Photography movement in postwar Germany, Steinert was also curator of the international exhibition Subjektive Fotografie in 1951, 1954, and 1958 in Saarbrücken. Steinert’s view of photography as an expression of an individual’s inner state advocated dialog with plastic qualities, graphic manipulations, and concern for form associated with experimental Bauhaus photography of the 1920s. From 1959 until his death he was an influential teacher at the Folkwang School in Essen.


Steinert, O. (1999). Der Fotograf Otto Steinert/Herausgegeben von Ute Eskildsen, Museum Folkwang Essen . Göttingen: Steidl.

Steinert, O. (1952). Subjektive Fotografie; ein Bildband moderner europaïscher Fotografie. A collection of modern European photography . Bonn: Brüder Auer.

STIEGLITZ, ALFRED (1864–1946) American

The 20th century’s greatest champion of photography as an art form. Editor of Camera Notes , the journal of the Camera Club of New York, Stieglitz soon became leader of the Pictorialist movement in New York, co-founder of the Photo-Secession in 1902, and editor and publisher of the masterful periodical Camera Work from 1903 to 1917. With Steichen’s assistance, his Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, later called 291, then The Intimate Gallery (1925–1929), and An American Place (1929–1946) first showcased in America the new modern art from Europe by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Cézanne, Brancusi, and Rodin and introduced American painters O’Keeffe, Marin, Hartley, and Dove. Exhibiting painting with photography, his gallery showed photographers Clarence White, Coburn, Strand, Steichen, Adams, and Porter. Abandoning the soft-focus aesthetic of Pictorialism by World War I, Stieglitz became a staunch advocate of straight photography, adopting less self-conscious methods to depict the fast-paced cacophony that defined modern life, and simplifying his compositions to clarify light and form. His highly regarded images using a hand-held camera of the streets of New York City, portraits of his wife, the painter Georgia O’Keeffe, and his “equivalents” series of cloud studies that were analogs for emotional experience, helped realize the profoundly metaphorical possibilities of the medium.


Greenough, S. and Hamilton, J. (1983). Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings . Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.

Lowe, S. D. (1983). Stieglitz: A Memoir/Biography . New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Whelan, R. (1995). Alfred Stieglitz: A Biography . Boston: Little, Brown.

STRAND, PAUL (1890–1976) American

Strand believed in the redemptive power of art that is rooted in the reality of everyday life, and was an articulate advocate for a “pure” aesthetic in creative photography. Believing in the “absolute unqualified objectivity” of photography, Strand created tightly structured compositions printed in rich chiaroscuro, innovative for their authenticity and dynamism. His early subjects included street people of New York, nudes of his wife Rebecca, still lifes, landscapes of New Mexico, and experiments with abstraction and movement. By 1916 his work was championed by Steiglitz with solo exhibitions at 291 and publication in Camera Work ‘s final issues, devoted exclusively to his photographs. An active filmmaker through the 1920s and 1930s, Strand returned to his interest in portraiture by the mid-1940s when his primary goal was to reveal the essential character of his subject with its physical and psychological ties to the larger world. Motivated by his ideology and influenced by his experience in film, he created a series of cultural portraits, exploring both the portfolio and book form: Photographs of Mexico (1940), Time in New England (1950), Un Paese (1955), Tir a’Mhurain: Outer Hebrides (1968), Living Egypt (1969), and Ghana: An African Portrait (1976). He emigrated to France in 1950 in response to the growing oppression of McCarthyism.


Greenough, S. (1990). Paul Strand, An American Vision . Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.

Stange, M. (ed.) (1991). Paul Strand, Essays on His Life and Work . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Strand, P. (1976). Paul Strand: Sixty Years of Photographs . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

STRUTH, THOMAS (1954) German

Studied with Gerhard Richter and Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, Germany, where a new generation of photographers emerged in the 1980s and were noted for the cool intellectual detachment and epic scale of their color photographic work. The conceptual underpinnings of Struth’s training find form in psychological landscapes of contemporary urban malaise. With precise detail, saturated color, and grand scope, he pictures such public spaces as church and museum interiors with a contemplative detachment that can also be found in his earlier black and white images of city streets. He has exhibited internationally since the late 1980s, and has numerous monographs published of his work. He lives in Düsseldorf.


Struth, T. (1993). Museum Photographs , Munich: Schirmer/Mosel.

Struth, T., Lingwood, J., and Teitelbaum, M., eds. (1994). Thomas Struth: Strangers and Friends: Photographs 1986–1992 , Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Essay by Dieter Schwarz. (2001). Thomas Struth: Dandelion Room , NY.: DAP/Shirmer/Mosel.

Struth, T. (2001). Still , New York: The Monacelli Press.

Essays by Norman Bryson, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, and Thomas Weski. (2001). Thomas Struth: Portraits , Munich: P Schirmer/Mosel.

Essays by Ingo Hartmann and Hans Rudolf Reust. (2002). Thomas Struth: New Pictures from Paradise , Munich: Schirmer/Mosel.

STRYKER, ROY EMERSON (1893–1975) American

Director of the most extensive documentary photography project undertaken by the U.S. Government, for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) (1935–1943). Selecting such photographers as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, and Ben Shahn, the FSA under Stryker’s leadership produced a massive document of 250,000 negatives, archived in the Library of Congress, that captured the broad face of rural America as it weathered the Great Depression.


Stryker, R. E. (1973). In This Proud Land . With Nancy Wood. New York: Galahad Books.

SUDEK, JOSEF (1896–1976) Czechoslovakian

Working in Prague all his life, Sudek devoted himself to creating a portrait of his city, with mystical panoramic views of its streets and buildings, poetic still life images taken from his studio window and atmospheric depictions of his garden. His magical orchestration of rich, dark tones and the ethereal luminescence of his highlights render Sudek’s world in a spiritual and dream-like tone, where light is substance. The difficulties in Sudek’s life, the loss of his right arm during World War I and the hardships suffered during the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Prague, color his evocative and emotional work. Despite his handicap, he used large view cameras, including a 12 × 20 panoramic format that he wielded both horizontally and vertically, photographing without the help of an assistant. He compiled seven books of Prague photographs, working in the streets until old age and his physical limitations made it too difficult to haul his cameras around.


Bullaty, S. (1986). Sudek . New York: Clarkson N. Potter.

Farova, A. and Sudek, J. (1990). Josef Sudek: Poet of Prague, A Photographer’s Life . Millerton, NY: Aperture Books.

SUGIMOTO, HIROSHI (1948) American, Japanese born

Sugimoto’s extended-time images of the interiors of movie theaters, atmospheric seascapes, dioramas, and waxworks probe the wonders of perception, time, transience, and memory. He first came to public attention with his images of the interiors of movie theaters, their delicate details rendered by the movie’s cumulative illumination; the shutter was timed for the duration of each movie. His series of seascapes that divide the frame horizontally into sky and sea render in exquisite tonalities, the endless variations of atmosphere, tone, and light. Like reverberating echoes, his images are mesmerizing, evocative, and enigmatic. With simultaneous simplicity and depth, they give substance to the passage of time. Born in Tokyo, Sugimoto left Japan to study at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. In 1974 he moved to New York City and now lives in both New York and Tokyo.


Bashkoff, T. and Spector, N. (2000). Sugimoto Portraits . New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications.

Kellein, T. (1995). Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Exposed . New York: Thames & Hudson.

Schneider, E. (ed.) (2002). Hiroshi Sugimoto: Architecture of Time . Cologne: W. König, New York: DAP (outside Europe).


Following Edward Steichen as the Director of the Department of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Szarkowski was instrumental in shaping America’s view of photography: MoMA produced 160 photo exhibitions during his tenure (1962–1991), many directed by Szarkowski. His role as critic, educator, and curator found form in a stream of books and critical writings, many associated with his exhibitions at MoMA. With a keen eye and thoughtful pen, he was a significant force in the careers of numerous contemporary photographers, championing the work of young photographers such as Arbus, Friedlander, Eggleston, and Winogrand, and paying homage to 20th century masters Adams, Callahan, Steiglitz, Penn, Kertesz, Atget, and more. Having achieved success as a photographer in his own right early in his career, he returned to photographic practice after his retirement from MoMA and in 2005 mounted his first retrospective.


Phillips, S. S. (2005). John Szarkowski: Photographs . New York: Bulfinch Press.

Szarkowski, J. (1973). Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Museum of Modern Art . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

Szarkowski, J. (1978). Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960 . New York: Museum of Modern Art; Boston: distributed by New York Graphic Society.

Szarkowski, J. (1989). Photography Until Now . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

TOMATSU, SHOMEI (1930) Japanese

Japan’s premier post-war photographer, Tomatsu chronicles the complex cultural changes from Japan’s traditional pre-war society through the ravages of World War II, American occupation, and its ambivalent struggle with Western influences. His historic documentation of the lives of atomic bomb survivors in Nagasaki is distinguished for its metaphorical depth and intimacy. Co-founder of the VIVO cooperative agency in 1959, he advocated a new social landscape of photography in Japan, influenced by the humanist subjectivity and surrealism of Europe and America. Initially black and white, characterized by graphic minimalism and dramatic composition, his later works embrace color. His portraits of bohemian nightlife in Tokyo’s countercultural Shinjuku, his elegies to traditional life remaining in remote islands of Japan, and his ironic depictions of the collision of Western and Eastern cultures are powerful documents that simultaneously mourn and celebrate.


Jeffrey, I. (2001). Shomei Tomatsu . London: Phaidon.

Rubinfien, L., Phillips, S. S., and Dower, J. W. (2004). Shomei, Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation . Preface by Daido Moriyama. San Francisco: Museum of Modern Art in association with New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Tomatsu, S. (2000). Tomatsu Shomei 1951–1960 . Tokyo, Japan: Sakinsha.

Tomatsu, S. (1998). Visions of Japan, Tomatsu Shomei . Korinsha Press, Distributed Art Publishers, New York.

UELSMANN, JERRY N. (1934) American

Creator of enigmatic, surreal images, Uelsmann was first known for his mastery of complex, multiple negative darkroom printing techniques and for his philosophy of post-visualization of the image. He creates composite images from his personal vocabulary of image fragments, with psychological association and metaphor at the heart of his work. In transitioning to digital production methods, he continues to create magically convincing paradoxes of time and space. An influential professor at the University of Florida, he is now retired.


Enyeart, J. L. (1982). Jerry N. Uelsmann, Twenty-Five Years: A Retrospective . Boston: Little, Brown.

Uelsmann, J. N. (2000). Approaching the Shadow . Tucson, AZ: Nazraeli Press.

Uelsmann, J. N. (2005). Other Realities . New York: Bulfinch Press.

ULMANN, DORIS (1882–1934) American

Studied with Clarence White. Her photographs provide a respectful portrait of the rural culture and craftspeople of the southern highlands of the Appalachian Mountains and the Gullahs of the Sea Islands of South Carolina. Bringing pictorialist techniques to documentary work, she used a view camera and made platinum prints based on her annual “folklore and photographic expeditions.” Her images provide an important ethnographic and historical record.


Featherstone, D. (1985). Doris Ulmann, American Portraits . Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Peterkin, J. and Ulmann, D. (1933). Roll, Jordan, Roll . New York: Robert O. Ballou.

Ulmann, D. (1974). The Darkness and the Light: Photographs by Doris Ulmann . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

VAN DER ZEE, JAMES (1886–1993)

Chronicler of the Harlem Renaissance. Self-taught, he opened his Guarantee Photo Studio on famed 125th street in Harlem in 1917 making artistic studio portraits that celebrate Harlem’s emergent black middle class. He used ornate furniture, painted backdrops, and props to stage his portraits, posing each sitter “… in such a way that the picture would tell a story.” His signature style often included retouching the final image with color and the use of photomontage. The official photographer to Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association, he photographed church functions, parades, and funerals, providing a valuable document of the vibrant life of African Americans in Harlem. After the war, Van Der Zee struggled to make a living and it was only in 1967, when The Metropolitan Museum of Art mounted the controversial exhibit Harlem on My Mind, that renewed interest in his work refueled his career.


Van Der Zee, J. (1968). Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America, 1900–1968 . Edited by Allon Schoener. Preface by Thomas P. F. Hoving. Introduction by Candice Van Ellison. Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition. New York: Random House.

Van Der Zee, J. (1978). The Harlem Book of the Dead: James Van Der Zee, Owen Dodson, Camille Billops . Foreword by Toni Morrison. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Morgan & Morgan.

VISHNIAC, ROMAN (1897–1990) Russian-American

Produced a heroic photographic record of the final hours of pre-holocaust Jewish life in Eastern Europe in the late 1930s. At great personal risk, traveled through Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Latvia, compiling over 16,000 images (of which 2000 remain) of Jewish village life soon to be eradicated by Hitler. His poetic images, bravely captured with a hidden camera, are a most poignant reminder of photography’s gift of memory. He emigrated to the United States in 1940, where he pursued a remarkable career in the biological sciences and was a renowned pioneer in photomicrography and time-lapse cinematography.


Vishniac, R. (1969). A Vanished World . New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

WARHOL, ANDY (WARHOLA, ANDREW) (1928–1987) American

The most famous Pop artist of America, Warhol came onto the art scene in the early 1960s with his Campbell’s Soup Cans, a campy image of a product he loved elevated to iconic status. His affect-less images of mass-produced American products and his Pop Culture portraits used images appropriated from mass media as their source; with stylish simplicity he transformed photographic information, using garishly bright silk-screened colors and flat painted forms to raise banality to monumental status. Aiming for robot-like authorship, Warhol’s work was itself often mass-produced, with assistants creating repetitive, multiple-image silk-screened pieces. Moving fluidly from one medium to another, his prolific output also included the publication of his magazine Interview and over 60 films produced from 1963 to 1968.


McShine, K. (ed.) (1989). Andy Warhol, A Retrospective . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

Warhol, A. (1999). About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits . Essays by Baume, Nicholas, Crimp, Douglas, Meyer, and Richard. Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Atheneum and Pittsburgh: Andy Warhol Museum, Cambridge, MA: Distributed by MIT Press.

Warhol, A. (1989). Andy Warhol, Photobooth Pictures . New York: Robert Miller Gallery.

Warhol, A. (1988). Andy Warhol: Death and Disasters . Houston, TX: Menil Collection: Houston Fine Art Press.

WEEGEE (ARTHUR H. FELLIG) (1899–1968) American

Born in Lvov, Ukraine, Weegee was a photojournalist who rose to celebrity status for his on-the-spot photos of daily news events in New York City. Taking the name Weegee (Ouija) from his ability to be at the scene within moments, he actually had a police radio in his car and hook-in to police alarms near his bed. He used on-camera flash with a 4 × 5 Speed Graphic to photograph crime scenes, urban disasters, celebrities, and everyday street life, famous for his strategic, confrontational approach and sardonic sensibilities. His first exhibit, Weegee: Murder is My Business, opened at the Photo League in 1941, and his first book, Naked City , was published in 1945 to be followed by a series of books, museum exhibitions, and freelance projects.


Weegee (1975). Naked City . New York: Da Capo.

Weegee (1978, 1997). Weegee . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Weegee (1975). Weegee by Weegee: An Autobiography . New York: Da Capo.

WEEMS, CARRIE MAE (1953) American

Weems is notable for her works that fuse words and image to create psychologically and politically charged explorations of identity and wrestle with complex issues of gender, race, age, and ethnicity. Whether focusing on personal narrative or larger cultural histories of the African American experience and the issues of Diaspora, her works delve deeply into prejudice, politics, history, folklore, and the human condition. She often groups images with words, using folkloric constructs of language and storytelling, or creates installation works with audio. Her notable series, Family Pictures and Stories, Colored People, Kitchen Table, Sea Islands, and Landed in Africa have been important contributions to our collective visual and social history.


Piche, T., Golden, T., Weems, C. M., and Everson Museum of Art. (2003). Carrie Mae Weems: Recent Work . George Braziller.

Willis, D., Zeidler, J., Weems, C. M., and Johnston, F. B. (2001). Carrie Mae Weems: The Hampton Project , Millerton, N.Y.: Aperture.

Kirsh, A., and Sterling, S. F. (1993). Carrie Mae Weems , The National Museum of Women in the Arts.

WESTON, EDWARD (1886–1958) American

Renouncing his early commitment to a soft-focus pictorialism, Weston became one of the most influential advocates of straight photography in America. His images of the ARMCO Steelworks in Ohio, made in 1922, soon after meeting Steiglitz, Strand, and Sheeler, marked a radical shift toward a straight, unpretentious realism in photography. While in Mexico, where he lived for several years with photographer Tina Modotti (his assistant) and befriended artists of the Mexican Renaissance, Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco, his aesthetic matured. Upon returning to California in 1927, he began his remarkable close-up photographs of shells and vegetables, including the famous Pepper, No. 30. His studio in Carmel was the site of his lifelong project to photograph the cypress trees, rocks, and beaches of Point Lobos. Working with an 8 × 10 view camera, he made silver and platinum contact prints with exquisite attention to light and form, photographing natural forms, the landscape, and nudes, including a series of his second wife, Charis Wilson. In 1932 he was a founding member of the Group f/64, along with Adams, Van Dyke, Cunningham, and Noskowiak who were proponents of straight photography. The first photographer to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937 and 1938, he produced California and the West (1940). Increasingly incapacitated by Parkinson’s disease, Weston made his last photographs in 1948, and supervised the printing of his life’s work by his sons, Brett and Cole.


Maddow, B. (1979). Edward Weston: Fifty Years . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

Newhall, B. (1986). Supreme Instants: The Photography of Edward Weston . Boston: New York Graphic Society.

Newhall, N. (ed.) (1990). The Daybooks of Edward Weston, Two Volumes in One . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

WHITE, CLARENCE HUDSON (1871–1925) American

A self-taught photographer of soft-focus images of family life in rural Ohio, White joined with Steiglitz in 1902 to help form the Photo-Secession. The first teacher of photography at Columbia University, New York in 1907, he founded the Clarence White School of Photography in 1914. An influential teacher, whose students included Bourke-White, Gilpin, Lange, Outerbridge, Steiner, and Ulmann, he became the first president of the Pictorial Photographers of America in 1916 in reaction against Stiegliz’ shift to straight photography.


Bunnell, P. C. (1986). Clarence H. White: The Reverence for Beauty . Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.

White, M. P., Jr. (1979). Clarence H. White . Millerton, NY: Aperture.

WHITE, MINOR (1908–1976) American

Photographer, poet, and influential teacher. Drawing from Steiglitz’ ideas of the photograph as an equivalent for human emotion, White’s photographic philosophy emphasized the image as metaphor and as spiritual experience. He combined Eastern philosophy, meditation, Gestalt psychology, and the teachings of Gurdjieff as avenues to access creative expression, and focused on the meaningful interaction of images in series. His own exquisitely printed black and white images reflect his spiritual journey. In 1952 White helped found Aperture magazine, serving as its editor until 1975. He was a curator at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, an influential teacher at Rochester Institute of Technology, San Francisco Art Institute, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A guru-like presence, many students lived with and studied under his mystical tutelage.


Bunnell, P. C. (1989). Minor White, The Eye that Shapes . Princeton, NJ: Art Museum, Princeton University; Boston in association with Bulfinch Press.

White, M. (1992). Minor White: Rites & Passages . Millerton, NY: Aperture [reissue edition].

White, M. (1982). Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations: Minor White . Millerton, NY: Aperture; distributed in the U.S. by Viking Penguin.

WINOGRAND, GARRY (1928–1984) American

Winogrand’s new brand of documentary photography—raw, spontaneous, inclusive, and irreverent—helped define the 1960s. The controlled turbulence of his images, with their ironic juxtapositions, grainy energy, and complex content, reveal a voracious curiosity and obsession with photography. Influenced by the American photographs of Walker Evans and Robert Frank, Winogrand wandered the streets with his hand held 35 mm Leica, moving in fast and close to shoot wide-angle views of people and places with tilted framing. He was championed by Szarkowski, Director of the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and had his first major exhibition there in 1963. His books, including The Animals (1969), Women Are Beautiful (1975), Public Relations (1977), and Stock Photographs: Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo (1980), only hint at his prolific output; at his untimely death from cancer he left thousands of undeveloped and unproofed rolls of film.


Friedlander, L. and Harris, A. (eds.) (2002). Arrivals & Departures: The Airport Pictures of Garry Winogrand . New York: Distributed Art Publishers.

Szarkowski, J. (1988). Winogrand, Figments from the Real World . New York: Museum of Modern Art.

Winogrand, G. (1999). The Man in the Crowd: The Uneasy Streets of Garry Winogrand . Introduction by Fran Lebowitz. Essay by Ben Lifson. San Francisco: Fraenkel Gallery and DAP.

WITKIN, JOEL PETER (1939) American

Witkin’s dark, shocking tableaux portray beauty in the grotesque and give form to photography’s power to confront taboos. Populated by deformed people, hermaphrodites, dwarfs, corpses, and body parts collected and combined to make psychologically charged, highly controversial images, Witkin’s images “reflect the insanity of life.” Drawing from the history of art and his personal spirituality, Witkin conjures a darkly mythological imagery, compelling and provoking us with his exquisitely beautiful grotesqueries. His black and white prints, toned, bleached, and containing scratches and scars made to the negative, are coated with wax overlays on the print’s rich surface. Active as an exhibiting artist since the 1970s, Witkin lives in New Mexico.


Celant, G. (1995). Witkin . Zurich; New York: Scale, distributed in North America by DAP.

Witkin, J. P. (1998). The Bone House . Santa Fe, NM: Twin Palms Publishers.

WOLCOTT, MARION POST (1910–1990) American

A courageous social documentarian, Post Wolcott’s short photographic career is highlighted by her three years photographing for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Strand and Steiner, friends from the New York Photo League, introduced her to Roy Stryker, Director of the FSA’s photography project who hired her to join the project from 1938 through 1941. Her growing social awareness was fueled by her encounters with race and class inequality in the pre-war rural South; with humor and pathos, her photographs often explore the politics of poverty.


Alinder, J. (ed.), Wolcott, M. P., and Stein, S. (1983). Marion Post Wolcott: FSA Photographs . San Francisco: Friends of Photography.

Hurley, F. J. (1989). Marion Post Wolcott, A Photographic Journey . Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.

Wolcott, M. P. Looking for Light . New York: Random House. Out of print.

Biological Photography - Introduction and History, Subject Handling, Aquatic Subjects, Backgrounds, Photography in the Field [next] [back] Biographies of Jazz Leaders and Legends

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