Imogen Cunningham (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Cunningham demonstrated that an unqualified humanistic approach to using the camera could celebrate the individual subject as well as the art form.
Imogen Cunningham was the fifth child of ten in the family of Isaac Burns Cunningham and Susan E. Johnson Cunningham. The family was poor, and Isaac took on various jobs over the years in order to support his large family. He was an extremely independent and strong-minded man—qualities that his daughter absorbed in order to sustain her art throughout her life. At the time Imogen was born, he operated a small wood and coal business in Seattle, Washington. Imogen was close to her father, who recognized her intelligence and appreciated her desire for an education. She did not begin school, however, until she was eight because the family home was somewhat remote from town. From that time on and with her father’s encouragement, she took art lessons on the weekends and during school vacations.
Imogen Cunningham eventually attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where she could live at home and work as a secretary to pay for her education. She had already decided by her second year of college that she wanted to become a photographer, and a faculty member suggested that she major in chemistry in order to achieve that goal. The following year, she bought her first camera from the American School of Art and Photography in...
(The entire section is 2033 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!