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Article

Catherine M. Grant

(b Santa Monica, CA, 1949).

American photographer. He studied at the California State University (BA 1971) and then continued his studies at the University of California (MFA 1974). His series of black and white photographs, Vandalism (1974) were taken in abandoned houses in which Divola spray painted his own grafitti then photographed it. Vandalism lead to the series Zuma (1977–8), in which he photographed a derelict house on Zuma Beach on the Pacific Coast, which was continally altered by acts of vandalism, and by being set on fire for exercises by the local fire brigade. These colour photographs, taken at dawn and dusk, contrast the beautiful landscape outside with the eroding interior, as in Zuma #20 (1978; see 1998 exh. cat., p. 10). In the 1980s, Divola began to make photographic diptychs, with the links between the two chosen images not always clearly understandable, as in Untitled (...

Article

Mary Panzer

(b Cambridge, MA, April 26, 1937).

American photographer and writer. After attending university in the Boston area, she worked in New York at Grove Press, arranging readings for poets such as Robert Creeley and Allen Ginsberg. Dorfman eventually settled in Cambridge, MA, a centre of intellectual alternative culture, where her friend George Cope taught her to use a camera in 1965. She began making portraits of literary figures with a 35mm camera and black-and-white film, supporting herself as a freelance editor. In 1973–4, as a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College, she produced a memoir with photographs titled Elsa’s Housebook, now considered a feminist classic.

In 1980 the Polaroid Corporation gave Dorfman and a number of other artists access to the experimental 20×24 instant camera, named for the size of the image it produced (in inches). Beginning in 1987 Dorfman rented a 20×24 from Polaroid and worked in colour. Over the next two and half decades Dorfman developed a style that combined the camera’s formal characteristics with her own ability as a writer and an artist to identify universal qualities in the most personal stories. She photographed some families more than once, and produced extended portraits of Allen Ginsberg, her husband, her son and his friends, and herself. In the 1990s she became one of the first photographers to establish a website, using it as exhibition space and archive for her photographs, books, essays, films, and reviews of her work. After the Polaroid Corporation collapsed in the early 21st century, she helped lead a movement to establish an independent company to support the 20×24 instant camera....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Vancouver, 1960).

Canadian photographer and film maker, lives and works in Vancouver. After studying at the Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver (1979–82), he began making films and videos that reflect on issues of culture and technology and on the relationship between popular representations of history and subjectivity. In 1988 long-term research culminated in an essay and exhibition that gathered together Samuel Beckett’s eight works for film and television. Samuel Beckett: Teleplays, which toured Canada, America and Europe for four years, touches on themes of alienation, displacement and the collapse of subjectivity that Douglas explores in his film and video installations. For his slide installation Onomatopoeia, (1985–6), lasting six minutes in each rotation, Douglas projected 154 black-and-white images of an empty textile factory on to a screen hanging over an 88-noteplayer-piano that played bars from Beethoven’s C Minor Sonata, Opus 11; the selected refrain sounded uncannily like a ragtime piece. By isolating this phenomenon Douglas pointed to the difficulties of interpreting history from an unbiased perspective. The questioning of habit and criticism of popular contemporary media was continued in ...

Article

Elizabeth Johns

(Cowperthwaite)

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 25, 1844; d Philadelphia, June 25, 1916).

American painter, sculptor and photographer. He was a portrait painter who chose most of his sitters and represented them in powerful but often unflattering physical and psychological terms. Although unsuccessful throughout much of his career, since the 1930s he has been regarded as one of the greatest American painters of his era.

His father Benjamin Eakins (1818–99), the son of a Scottish–Irish immigrant weaver, was a writing master and amateur artist who encouraged Thomas Eakins’s developing talent. Eakins attended the Central High School in Philadelphia, which stressed skills in drawing as well as a democratic respect for disciplined achievement. He developed an interest in human anatomy and began visiting anatomical clinics. After studying from 1862 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where instruction was minimal, Eakins went to Paris to enrol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme. From 1866 to the end of ...

Article

Brian Coe

(b Waterville, NY, July 12, 1854; d Rochester, NY, March 14, 1932).

American inventor and photographer. He took up photography in 1877, and in 1878, dissatisfied with the cumbersome wet collodion process, he started making the new gelatin dry plates (see Photography §I). He decided to manufacture them commercially and invented a machine to end the need to hand-coat the glass. In January 1881 he founded the Eastman Dry Plate Company.

Eastman’s desire to bring photography to more people, and to satisfy the needs of the growing number of amateur photographers, led him to develop many new products. In 1885 his roll-holder adaptor allowed the heavy and fragile glass plates to be replaced by a roll of sensitive paper; the success of this device inspired him to design a new camera with the roll-holder built in. The result was the Kodak camera (1888), for which Eastman chose the name; it was designed for the general public, who had only to point it in the right direction and release the shutter. When the 100-exposure roll provided with the camera had been exposed, the whole apparatus was returned to Eastman’s factory, where the paper rollfilm was developed and printed, the camera reloaded and returned to the customer; ‘You press the button, we do the rest’ was his slogan....

Article

Mary Christian

(b Freemont, NE, April 6, 1903; d Jan 10, 1990).

American photographer. He learnt photography as a boy and studied electrical engineering at the University of Nebraska. After graduation in 1925, he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, where he received his doctorate and remained as a member of the Electrical Engineering Faculty. From the early 1930s he conducted pioneering research in stroboscopic photography, which permitted him to freeze exceedingly fast movement and make exposures between 1/10,000 and 1/1,000,000 of a second. The famous photographs that resulted revealed to the world for the first time some of the lost mysteries of everyday motion, including a falling drop of milk refracting into a coronet and bullets rupturing such objects as an apple, a balloon, a lightbulb and a tank of water. These exposures, too fast for any camera shutter to capture, were created with an ordinary 35mm camera and Edgerton’s electrical control of an absolutely instantaneous flash of light in a dark room, which exposed the film to bright light well within any possible shutter speed....

Article

Mary Christian

(b Memphis, TN, July 27, 1939).

American photographer. Eggleston first became interested in photography in 1962 when he was introduced to the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. By 1966 he had begun to photograph almost exclusively in colour. Eggleston is regarded as a pioneer among contemporary photographers in the exploration of the artistic potential of colour photography, which had been out of favour because of the impermanence of its tones and its supposed incompatibility with the formal interests of artistic photography. His work came to public attention in the 1970s when it was featured in several exhibitions, notably in 1976 when his one-man show William Eggleston’s Guide was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Eggleston’s large-format prints of snapshot-like subject-matter create icons out of images from everyday life in the south-east United States. Demonstrating his sensitivity to combinations of highly saturated secondary and tertiary colour, they explore the television-like, superreal intensity normally achieved through dye-transfer prints. These prints monumentalize ordinary scenes of his native south, such as a wisteria-shrouded pick-up truck, a table set for dinner, or the lavender and aquamarine tiles surrounding a Memphis bathtub, and focus upon the environments of cultural heroes of the south. For his series ...

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

(b Dierschau, West Prussia [now Poland], Dec 6, 1898; d Aug 23, 1995).

American photographer of German birth. He attended Berlin University from 1913 to 1916 and served in the army (1916–18). He survived the world economic crisis after the war as a belt and button salesman for a Berlin firm. He was a self-taught photographer, though a friend taught him enlargement techniques in 1926. In 1927 he began to work for the Berliner Tageblatt, which led him to photograph in smaller format; he was soon also acting as a freelance photographer for the Weltspiegel, producing work for the Pacific and Atlantic Picture Agency, Associated Press and the Berliner illustrierte Zeitung from 1929 until 1935. He photographed Marlene Dietrich in Berlin in 1928, while she was filming Der blaue Engel (see Eisenstaedt, 1969, p. 103), and this picture of a woman in a man’s black smoking jacket became one of Eisenstaedt’s most famous photographs.

In 1935 he emigrated to the USA, where he was naturalized, and worked for ...

Article

John Fuller

(b Cuba, May 13, 1856; d Falmouth, Cornwall, May 12, 1936).

English photographer. He lived in Cuba and the USA until his widowed English mother took her two sons to England in 1869. He studied medicine at King’s College Hospital, London (1879), and later received a BA (1883) and a Bachelor of Medicine degree (1885) from Cambridge University. While at Cambridge he studied photography, and after a brief medical practice he left the profession in 1886 for photography and writing. After becoming a member of the Photographic Society of Great Britain in 1883, he achieved recognition writing for such journals as Amateur Photographer.

In East Anglia Emerson used his nautical skills and knowledge of natural history while photographing the fen country and its people. The results were albums such as Life and Landscape on the Norfolk Broads (London, 1886; see fig.), which he co-authored with the English painter Thomas F. Goodall (1856–1944), ...

Article

Alexandra Noble

(b Paris, July 26, 1928).

American photographer and film maker. He studied film at the New School for Social Research, New York, from 1948 to 1950. From 1951 to 1953 he worked as a photographic assistant for the US Army Signal Corps and under Roy Stryker (1882–1975) at the Standard Oil Company, New Jersey, from 1950 to 1952. From 1953 he was a freelance photographer and film maker and a member of the Magnum photographic agency. Although he was highly successful in the field of advertising, his international reputation was based on his personal work. His street photographs, wry and quirky narratives, concentrated on the vagaries of human existence. They often relied heavily on visual puns. Unrelated and sometimes bizarre events, for example the small dog captured in mid-air in Ballycotton, Ireland (1968; see Photographs and Anti-photographs, p. 48), are held together within the 35 mm frame by strong graphic and formal compositions. Erwitt’s films include ...

Article

Terence Pitts

(b New York, Sept 19, 1865; d Munich, Dec 16, 1936).

American photographer and teacher, active also in Germany. After attending the Bayerische Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich (from 1886), he began exhibiting his photography in New York. Around 1899 he came to the attention of Alfred Stieglitz and was praised by the critic Sadakichi Hartmann for the intelligent combination of painterly and photographic effects in his work. He became a member of the influential transatlantic photographic society, the Linked Ring, Brotherhood of the (1900), and was a founder-member of Stieglitz’s Photo-Secession.

Around 1901 he moved permanently to Germany, where he became a lecturer at the Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Photographie und Reproduktionstechnik, Munich. When Stieglitz visited him in 1907, the two made some of the first artistic experiments in colour photography with the newly developed autochrome process (see Photography, §I). In 1913 Eugene was appointed to the chair in Pictorial photography at the Akademie für Graphische Künste, Leipzig. Two years later, he renounced his American citizenship and became a German citizen....

Article

Constance W. Glenn

(b Saint Louis, MO, Nov 3, 1903; d New Haven, CT, April 10, 1975).

American photographer and writer. He grew up in Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago, but moved to New York with his mother after his parents separated. Primarily interested in literature, he sat in on lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris (1926–7), visited museums and bookshops, and thought of becoming a writer. In 1928 he acquired a camera and, out of frustration over his inability to find work and develop a literary means of expression, he decided to become a photographer (see fig.). Intermittent assignments instigated by friends such as Lincoln Kirstein made it possible for him to live a bohemian life in Greenwich Village, where he met the writers Hart Crane (1899–1932) and James Agee (1909–55) and the artist Ben Shahn, with whom he worked and shared a house for a short time. Within this circle he found his early influences (see fig....

Article

Eric Gottesman

(b Detroit, MI, June 28, 1951).

American photographer and educator. She grew up in Detroit, received a BA from Antioch College in 1974 and studied photography with Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In eastern Kentucky from 1976 to 1980, she taught photography at the Appalshop media cooperative. In her book Portraits and Dreams (1985), her photographs mingled with those made by her subjects, rural Appalachian children. The book both borrowed from and challenged the documentary tradition (see Documentary photography) and in the process invented a new form of portraying people and communities. This publication later spawned a field known as ‘participatory’ or ‘pluralist’ photography, where the photographer and subject share in photographic production. Ewald went on to complete projects around the world—in Colombia, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Mexico, Tanzania, Labrador, Israel, and the United States—that questioned photographic authority and blurred the lines between photographer and subject, art and education....

Article

Reena Jana

(b Cologne, Germany, 1969).

American mixed-media artist of German birth and Asian descent. Ezawa studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1990–94) before moving to San Francisco in 1994. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1995) and an MFA from Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA (2003). Ezawa is not a photographer, but his work centers around photography; he has used a variety of media, from digital animations to paper collages and aquatint prints, to revisit some of the world’s most familiar, infamous and historically significant news photographs, television broadcasts and motion-picture stills (see The Simpson Verdict). All of Ezawa’s work utilizes the artist’s signature style of flat, simple renderings that are cartoonlike and also suggest the streamlined and colorful style of Pop artist Katz, Alex.

Ezawa’s project, The History of Photography Remix (2004–6), exemplifies his approach to exploring the power of photographs as a mirror of reality and yet also a force that can manipulate memories of events and people. The project consists of images appropriated from art history textbooks, such as American photographer Cindy Sherman’s ...

Article

Eliza A. Butler

(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 28, 1916; d New York, March 2, 2001).

American photographer. Faurer studied design at the School of Commercial Art and Lettering in Philadelphia in the late 1930s and subsequently worked as a civilian photographic technician for the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II. He was hired by Lillian Bassman for a photography position at Junior Bazaar magazine where he met and began a close friendship with American photographer Robert Frank. Faurer moved to New York permanently in 1947 and attended Alexey Brodovitch’s Design Laboratory sporadically between 1947 and 1951. Splitting his time between New York and Europe, he continued to work for Harper’s Bazaar through to the 1960s and early 1970s. His work was also featured in the magazines Flair, Glamour, Look, Seventeen, and Vogue.

Faurer’s editorial work was prolific and well received; however, it was his independent art photography for which he became best known. In the 1950s and 1960s he exhibited in a handful of New York galleries and received important exposure from the Museum of Modern Art. Influenced by ...

Article

Mary Christian

[Laurence]

(b New York, March 11, 1941).

American photographer. He studied photography privately with Lisette Model and with Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971). In 1974 he began to photograph the élite at benefit galas and fashionable nightclubs in New York, for example Benefit, the Museum of Modern Art, June 1977 (see Fink, 1984, p. 23). After he moved to rural Martin’s Creek, PA, in 1980, his photography of social celebrations focused on the unmannered directness of his neighbours at family parties, such as Pat Sabatine’s Twelfth Birthday Party, May 1981 (see Fink, 1984, pp. 76–7, 79), and county fairs. His use of a hand-held flash sharply lit the faces of his subjects, and, with the high contrast that he favoured in his developing, the fleeting animation of his subjects’ gestures and expressions was intensified.

Fink, Larry Social Graces (Millerton, 1984; 2/New York, 2001)...

Article

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

(b Santa Maria, CA, Sept 19, 1967).

Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander

American social practice artist.

He was awarded a BFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990 and an MFA from California College of the Arts in 1994. Not confined to any particular media, his work is characterized by its collaborative, socially engaged, and interdisciplinary nature; the thematic focus of his art ranges from exploring personal narratives to engaging with larger global conflicts. In addition to his formal artistic training he also received a certification in Ecological Horticulture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied organic farming. His interest in agriculture is a reflection of his larger involvement with communities and food systems, and has manifested in his work as both an artist and a pedagogue through the establishment of an outdoor classroom at an organic farm with his students at Portland State University, where he established the second MFA programme in social practice in the USA. His work often challenges notions of the ‘passive viewer’ or ‘singular artist’, by creating projects that are generated primarily by viewer/artist interaction. Fletcher instead acts as a kind of facilitator; for example, for ...

Article

Tom Williams

(b Wooster, OH, March 11, 1936; d Buffalo, NY, March 30, 1984).

American photographer, filmmaker, teacher and theoretician. He attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA (1951–4), and he went on to study at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland, OH, before moving to New York City in 1958. In his early years in New York, he worked as a photographer, but during the 1960s, he increasingly embraced filmmaking over photography, and he became widely known as a key exemplar of structuralist film for his experiments in non-narrative filmmaking. Beginning in the late 1960s, he taught film, photography and design at Hunter College (1969–73) and in the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1973–84). He also taught film history at Cooper Union (1970–73) and the School of Visual Arts (1970–71). He died in 1984 from lung cancer after a short illness....

Article

Constance W. Glenn

(b Zurich, Nov 9, 1924).

American photographer and film maker of Swiss birth. He emigrated to New York City in 1947, having worked in the studios of various Swiss photographers and film makers, including that of Michael Wolgensinger (1913–90). The small, handmade book, 40 Fotos (artist’s col.) prompted Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971) of Harper’s Bazaar to hire the young, unknown photographer. The book included examples of a wide variety of his work and provided evidence of his early skill at juxtaposing images and creating photographic sequences.

Until 1951 Frank remained a regular contributor to Harper’s Bazaar, where he met the photographer Louis Faurer (b 1916), but he also did freelance work for magazines such as Look, Life and Fortune; for his own pleasure he recorded New York with a newcomer’s vision, creating images of uncanny insight and poetic spareness. These qualities would remain hallmarks of later work that critics found to be a harsh and unpalatable judgement of prosperous, post-war America. ...

Article

Virginia Dodier

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 23, 1929).

American photographer and film maker. He was mainly self-taught in photography but studied briefly under Alexey Brodovitch (1898–1971). In 1958 he became a freelance photojournalist, working for such publications as the Sunday Times Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Der Stern and Geo. Freed worked primarily in 35 mm black and white in the tradition of ‘concerned photography’, typical of the Magnum agency, which he joined in 1970. Through such images as Harlem, New York (1967; see 1985 exh. cat., p. 124) he showed his interest in social groups, for example Black and Jewish communities. His works have been published in a number of collections (see photographic publications). Freed’s films explore similar themes, for example Dansende vromen (‘Dance of the pious’; 1963) about Hasidic Jews, and The Negro in America (1966), both made for Netherlands Television.

Freed, Leonard Black and White America (New York, 1968)...