Yesterday we went to two photo exhibitions at Kulturhuset, Stockholm. One presented selected works by American photographer Imogen Cunningham.
She was born in Portland, Oregon in 1883. Her father, Isaac Burns Cunningham, named Imogen after the heroine of Shakespeare's Cymberline. He encouraged her to read before she entered school and paid for art lessons every summer.
She graduated in chemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle, but her interest was already towards photography, as the subject of her thesis shows: “Modern Processes of Photography.” In 1909 she was awarded a grant to study photography in Dresden, Germany,and 5 years after her first one-person exhibition was held at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.
Imogen Cunningham married Seattle etcher, Roi Partridge. They had a son, and shortly after two twins were born. In the time when she was home taking care of her children, she took a lot of photos of flowers and plants, as she explained:
The reason during the twenties that I photographed plants was that I had three children under the age of four to take care of so I was cooped up. I had a garden available and I photographed them indoors. Later when I was free I did other things
She continued to take photos all her life, almost until her death in 1976, aged 93.
She took many kinds of photos, from portraits to nude pictures, from plants close-ups to street life photographing.
Street life photos are my favorite among her works.
Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow. - Imogen Cunningham