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Article

Kyla Mackenzie

(b Nelson, 1949).

New Zealand photographer. Aberhart became a leading photographer in New Zealand from the 1970s with his distinctive 8×10 inch black-and-white photographs, taken with a 19th-century large format Field Camera. He is particularly well known for his images of disappearing cultural history, often melancholic in tone, in New Zealand.

Aberhart’s use of an ‘outmoded’ process for picturing subjects in apparent decay or decline paradoxically re-invigorated them. He was inspired by the documenting traditions of New Zealand’s itinerant 19th-century photographers. His generally provincial subjects included vacant architectural interiors and exteriors, such as domestic houses, Masonic lodges, churches, Maori meeting-houses, and cemeteries, war memorials, museum exhibits, landscapes, and horizons (see A Distant View of Taranaki, 14 February 2009, Auckland, A.G.). Aberhart also produced several compelling portraits, especially those from the late 1970s and early 1980s of his daughters (e.g. Kamala and Charlotte in the Grounds of the Lodge, Tawera, Oxford, 1981; Christchurch, NZ, A.G.)....

Article

Janet Bishop

(b San Francisco, CA, May 14, 1932).

American painter. Native of the San Francisco Bay Area, known for careful observation and explicit use of snapshot-like photographic source material for paintings of family, cars, and residential neighborhoods. The artist rose to national and international prominence in early 1970s as part of the Photorealist movement (see Photorealism).

From the 1960s, Bechtle pursued a quiet realism based on the things he knew best, translating what seem to be ordinary scenes of middle-class American life into paintings. Following an early childhood in the Bay Area and Sacramento, his family settled in 1942 in Alameda, an island suburb adjacent to Oakland where his mother would occupy the same house for almost 60 years. The neighborhood appears in many of Bechtle’s paintings.

Bechtle earned both his BFA (1954) and his MFA (1958) at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied graphic design and then painting. During his student years and into the 1960s, Bechtle was influenced by Pop art’s precedent for the use of commercial subject matter and techniques. He was likewise interested in Bay Area figuration, especially the subjects and structure of paintings by ...

Article

Judith Zilczer

Journal devoted to photography that was published from 1903 to 1917. Camera Work evolved from a quarterly journal of photography to become one of the most ground-breaking and influential periodicals in American cultural history. Founded in January 1903 by photographer Alfred Stieglitz as the official publication of the Photo-Secession, the journal originally promoted the cause of photography as a fine art. As Stieglitz, its editor and publisher, expanded the journal’s scope to include essays on aesthetics, literature, criticism and modern art, Camera Work fueled intellectual discourse in early 20th-century America.

Camera Work mirrored the aesthetic philosophy of its founder Alfred Stieglitz. The journal resulted from his decade-long campaign to broaden and professionalize American photography. Serving for three years as editor of American Amateur Photographer (1893–6), Stieglitz championed the expressive potential of photography and advocated expanded exhibition opportunities comparable to those available in European photographic salons. In 1897, when the Society of Amateur Photographers merged with the New York Camera Club, Stieglitz convinced the enlarged organization to replace their modest leaflet with a more substantial quarterly journal, Camera Notes, which he edited until ...

Article

Miwako Tezuka

(b Kien Giang, Vietnam, Oct 9, 1977).

American photographer of Vietnamese birth. Danh’s family fled Vietnam as refugees when he was two years old and eventually immigrated to the USA in the early 1980s. In 2004 he received Master of Fine Arts from Stanford University, California. Danh worked with photography to excavate, revive, and preserve forgotten stories in history, particularly those of manmade atrocities such as the Vietnam War.

Photographic images of disasters, tragedies and figures associated with them have also been the focus of works by such artists as Andy Warhol and Christian Boltanski. Both of these artists use the power of photography to arrest the moment that triggers affective interpretation of pain and sorrow of the subjects of their work. However, Danh’s scientific experiments regarding the process of photography led him to develop a technique that he called “chlorophyll printing.” Danh took photographs found in old magazines and historical archives, created negatives out of them, placed them over still-growing plant leaves and then exposed them to sunlight (for several days or weeks) in order to activate photosynthesis. As the leaf gradually changes color, parts that are not blocked from the sunlight by the overlying negatives remain leafy green, causing an image to emerge in shapes of what had been captured in the original photographs. The leaf can then be encased in resin to preserve the image. For example, in his series ...

Article

Donna Stein

(b Hollywood, CA, June 21, 1941).

American photographer, educator, and author. She attended the University of California Los Angeles (1959–62), where she studied drawing and painting. She completed her education at San Francisco State University (BA 1963, MA 1966) where she studied with Jack Welpott (1923–2007), whom she married (1971–7). Dater’s perceptive portraits of women and men and challenging photographs of the nude secured her international reputation.

Her earliest self-portraits date from 1963, using her own image to consider issues of gender, sexuality and the female role in society as well as the hidden side of herself. In 1980, she took the first of 10 trips throughout the Southwest, creating a series of black-and-white self-portraits in the landscape. She also photographed herself in color creating staged tableaus, not unlike Cindy Sherman’s fictional archetypes that satirize iconic roles thrust upon women by society.

Dater has explored the interpretive portrait genre from the beginning of her career to the present. Living and working in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco during the 1960s, she was stimulated by feminism and other counter-culture movements (...

Article

Nancy E. Green

(b Ipswich, MA, April 6, 1857; d New York, NY, Dec 13, 1922).

American painter, printmaker, photographer, writer and teacher. Dow took art classes in the Boston studio of James M. Stone, where he met Frank Duveneck, who would remain a lifelong friend. He went to Paris in 1884 to study at the Académie Julian with Jules(-Joseph) Lefebvre and Gustave(-Clarence-Rodolphe) Boulanger. Dow also took evening classes at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, where the American artist Francis D. Millet (1846–1912) offered critiques of the students’ work. Dow then spent some time in Pont-Aven, where he met Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard, and in Concarneau where he sought out the advice of American painter Alexander Harrison (1853–1930). Dow’s painting Au Soir won an honorable mention at the Universal Exposition in 1889 and two of his paintings were accepted that same year for the Paris Salon and were hung on the line (i.e. at eye-level).

Dow returned to Boston where he began independent studies at the Boston Public Library that led him to the work of Japanese artists ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931).

American inventor, entrepreneur, film producer and businessman. Edison invented numerous electrically based technologies. His father, Samuel Edison (1804–96), and mother, Nancy Matthews Elliot (1810–71), lived very modestly. Home schooled after he performed poorly in school, his formal educational experience lasted only three months. A shrewd businessman his instinctive abilities combined with his innovative inventions furthered his extensive research. He famously “invented” the first practical incandescent light bulb. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” he established the first large American industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ.

Credited with developing predominant technical designs and electrically powered mechanisms for numerous devices, his inventions were instrumental toward the arts. Some principal imaginative, mechanical creations are the phonograph, electrically powered generators, individual home electricity, motion picture cameras and audio recordings. Edison patented his first motion picture camera, the “kinetograph,” and began his foray into film. In 1891 his kinetoscope, which allowed individuals to view short films through a peephole at the top of a cabinet, became highly lucrative. In ...

Article

Oldest and largest photography museum in the United States, located in Rochester, NY. Since it opened its doors to the public in November 1949, George Eastman House has played a pivotal role in shaping and expanding the field of American photography. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, never knew his home would become a museum; he bequeathed the mansion where he lived from 1905 until 1932 to the University of Rochester to serve as the residence of its president. In 1946 a board of trustees was formed to establish George Eastman House as an independent, non-profit museum, a memorial to Eastman and his advancements in photographic technology.

Working under director Oscar Solbert, a retired US Army general and former Kodak executive, was the museum’s first curator, Beaumont Newhall. Newhall transformed the museum from one primarily concerned with the technical applications of photography to one emphasizing its artistic development. The museum became an international centre of scholarship, and in ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Buffalo, NY, 1950).

Tuscarora artist, writer, educator, and museum director. Hill studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1968–70), and was awarded a Master of Arts degree from SUNY, Buffalo, NY (1980).

Intrigued with Seneca General Ely Parker (General Grant’s Military Secretary), Hill investigated Parker’s life, which took him to Washington, DC, for two years. Hill began to identify with Parker’s experience and realized he would devote himself to enlightening others about Native American arts, knowledge, education, and culture.

Hill was skilled in painting, photography, carving, beading, and basket weaving, and many of these works are located at the Canadian Museum of Civilizations, Quebec; the Woodland Indian Cultural Center, Brantford, Ontario; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, DC; and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca, NY. He taught at McMaster University, Mohawk College, Six Nations Polytechnic, and SUNY at Buffalo. Hill developed a culturally based Seneca Language curriculum and training models for teaching....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b San Francisco, CA, Oct 5, 1937).

Native American (Maidu–Wintu) painter, printmaker, photographer, writer, educator, traditional dancer and poet. LaPena, also known as Tauhindauli, spent time with the Nomtipom Wintu and other regional neighboring elders to conserve and regain traditional cultural practices. He was taught traditional tribal songs, dances and ceremonial rituals of Northern California Native American culture that inspired his interest in reviving and preserving Northern California tribal culture and accompanying performance arts. His work, along with Frank Day (1902–76), a late Maidu elder and painter, aided the founding of the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists, a group dedicated to carrying out traditional cultural forms and social practices. Earning his bachelor’s degree from California State University (CSU), Chico (1965), and an Anthropology Masters of Arts degree from CSU, Sacramento (1978), he taught for the next 30 years in the CSU, Sacramento American Indian Studies program.

For LaPena, his art was a spiritual act, which empowers the maker with an opportunity to achieve a stronger sense of understanding life. Inspired by prehistoric rock painting, some painted images are depicted in total abstraction, while others illustrate a narrative theme. His strong consciousness of his Californian Native American heritage is distinctive and many themes in his compositions provide a powerful commentary in their depiction of the struggles of Northern California Native Americans; “To let the world know what happened in California, and to the indigenous populations points out that survival issues are still of great concern.” His paintings and prints reached a popular acceptance. LaPena exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at the Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe, NM, the Chicago Art Institute, the San Francisco Museum, the Linder Museum, Stuttgart, the American Arts Gallery, New York, the George G. Heye Center of the Smithsonian, New York, and numerous galleries. In ...

Article

Reena Jana

(b Saigon, Vietnam, 1960).

Vietnamese-American photographer. In 1975, as the Vietnam War was ending, Lê came to the United States as a teenage refugee. She had lived through the war, which was photographed and filmed by the mainstream American news media and seen in all of its frank brutality by everyday citizens in magazines and on television. Lê’s work deals with the depiction and public perception of battle, but her images feature views of reenactments or training exercises, rather than actual combat violence. In these images, there is no bloodshed. Yet because they are captured on film, the photographs provoke the viewer to first read them as documentary images of war.

Her series Small Wars (1999–2002) features images of male volunteers who gather on weekends in Virginia to re-create battles from the Vietnam War. Some are Vietnam veterans, others civilians. They wear soldiers’ uniforms and use props—military tents, planes—that look authentic, but close observation reveals that the pine trees and other landscape details suggest the backdrop is in the United States—far removed from the jungles and rice paddies of Southeast Asia....

Article

Reena Jana

[Lee Seung-Hee]

(b Kye-Chang, Korea, 1970).

Korean photographer and filmmaker. Lee is known for her self-portraits, in which she presents herself in various ethnic and societal roles, from a middle-aged, low-income Hispanic party hostess to a young, wealthy Asian businesswoman. Lee received her BFA from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1996, and an MA in Photography, New York University, 1999. For her Projects series (1997–2001), Lee immersed herself in various American communities for extended time, from a clique of teenage skateboarders to executives who work in midtown Manhattan, informing group members of her status as an artist while assuming the wardrobe, hairstyle and mannerisms of a fictional character she sought to portray. She then asked members of these social groups to photograph her using everyday cameras and no enhanced lighting or backgrounds. The result is a series of snapshot-like images depicting the artist taking on a multitude of temporary personalities. When seen together, the photographs suggest a mosaic of American experiences....

Article

Sandra Sider

(b Waterbury, CT, Oct 2, 1949).

American photographer. Born Anna-Lou Leibovitz, she was one of six siblings in a family that traveled extensively because her father was an officer in the US Air Force. Her mother, who taught modern dance, encouraged her daughter to pursue a career in the arts. While a student at the San Francisco Art Institute, Leibovitz at first focused on painting, but then she took a photography class that captivated her. After spending a brief period on a kibbutz in Israel, she earned her BFA in 1971. Leibovitz landed a job as a staff photographer with the new magazine Rolling Stone and began to document the rock music scene. For ten years Leibovitz was the publication’s chief photographer. In 1983 she began to work for Vanity Fair, photographing celebrities for numerous covers and feature articles and her work has been published in many other magazines. From the 1980s Leibovitz began working on advertising campaigns, for which she won a CLIO award in ...

Article

Anne Blecksmith

(b Kiev, Sept 4, 1919; d Miami, FL, Nov 19, 1999).

American painter, photographer and publishing executive of Ukrainian birth. Raised in England and France, he received a degree in philosophy and mathematics from the Sorbonne in 1930. Connected to the Russian exile community in Paris, he was introduced to artists Aleksandr Yakovlev and Marc Chagall. In 1931, he studied painting with André Lhote and enrolled at the Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture, where he was a student of Auguste Perret. Later that year, he transferred to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. While studying architecture, he was apprenticed to graphic artist Cassandre through whom he found work at the newsweekly Vu, where he created photomontage covers with Russian Constructivist sensibilities and later rose to art director. At Vu he worked with imagery by pioneers of 35 mm photography Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï and Erich Salomon. A prolific photographer since childhood, he enthusiastically identified with the candid documentary style of the 35 mm camera.

Arriving in New York in ...

Article

Michal Raz-Russo

Gallery in New York dedicated to photography founded in 1971. It was the first commercial gallery in New York City devoted exclusively to exhibiting the contemporary work of living photographers. LIGHT Gallery was the brainchild of Tennyson Schad, a consultant attorney whose wife, Fern Schad, was a former picture editor at Life magazine. Schad enlisted Harold Jones, then a curator at the George Eastman House, as LIGHT’s influential first director. The gallery opened at a momentous time when a viable market for photographs was developing, museums were acquiring and exhibiting photography at an unprecedented pace, and a range of artists brought photography into the mainstream of contemporary art.

In the formative years of 1971 to 1976, LIGHT Gallery occupied the third floor of 1018 Madison Avenue in New York City, sharing the building with several other notable galleries. At its opening, the gallery’s stable of artists included Thomas Barrow (...

Article

Donna Stein

(b Los Angeles, CA, July 11, 1949).

American photographer and writer. Misrach studied psychology at the University of California, Berkeley (1971), however, the political climate of the late 1960s; the West Coast photographic tradition of Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock and Dorothea Lange; and more particularly, a small exhibit of Roger Minick’s photographs stimulated Misrach to his “calling”. He purchased a Hasselblad camera and, essentially self-taught, embarked on a career as a fine art photographer.

Misrach is renowned for his epic works in which light, color and form convey an environmental message. Through different photographic strategies he has consistently addressed political and social issues. His earliest pictures record the riots, tear gassing and street people in Berkeley. By 1975, Misrach began his desert landscapes, creating a unique split-toning process for his night images. His monumental lifetime project, The Desert Cantos, is inspired by Ezra Pound’s poems, each theme named for its location or subject and numbered upon completion. With more than 28 different groupings (e.g. The Fires, The War [Bravo 20], Desert Seas, Clouds [Non-Equivalents], Las Vegas) that vary in focus, time span and the number of works, Misrach has photographed the deserts of California, Arizona and the Middle East, illustrating man’s impact on nature....

Article

Jessica S. McDonald

(b Lynn, MA, June 22, 1908; d Santa Fe, NM, Feb 26, 1993).

American art historian, curator, museum director, educator, and photographer. In his unprecedented seven-decade career as the preeminent historian of photography in the United States, Newhall established the medium’s vital role in art history and advanced its status as an independent art. Born into a prosperous family in Lynn, MA, Newhall studied art history at Harvard University, finishing his undergraduate studies in the spring of 1930 and returning in the fall as a graduate student. He enrolled in Paul J(oseph) Sachs’s course ‘Museum Work and Museum Problems’, the first such course offered in the United States. When Newhall completed his master’s degree in 1931, Sachs helped him obtain short-term employment at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art (now the Philadelphia Museum of Art), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, before recommending him for the position of librarian at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, in 1935...

Article

H. Alexander Rich

(b Philadelphia, PA, March 25, 1905; d New York, NY, April 12, 1997).

American photographer, writer, social advocate and patron of the arts. Best known for her professional and personal relationship with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, Norman was a lifelong lover and producer of art, whose interest in advancing the work of her fellow artists was rivaled only by her broader desire to effect social change. Born into an upper-class Philadelphia family, Norman (née Stecker) enjoyed the advantages of a childhood steeped in culture, from attending theater and the opera to visiting local art collections. Despite her own life of relative privilege, from an early age Norman exhibited a precocious awareness of social inequity and an eagerness to expand her horizons. As a young girl attending public school, she sensed the disparities between the opportunities afforded by her own upbringing and those available to others around her.

Frustrated by the fate of some of her fellow Philadelphians and feeling suffocated by the city itself, Norman believed that Philadelphia was too restrictive and longed to see the world beyond her native city. This perception was further bolstered when, as a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Norman took a course in modern art at the Barnes Foundation. The course was a transformative experience for Norman, igniting in her a true passion for art and a desire to immerse herself in the contemporary art world....

Article

Margo Machida

(b Saigon [now Ho Chi Minh City], Vietnam, March 23, 1954).

Vietnamese photographer and installation artist. Raised in Saigon, Pham joined the exodus of South Vietnamese refugees that began soon after the 1975 communist victory in her homeland. Settling in southern California, Pham studied art at California State University in Fullerton, ultimately receiving an MFA in photography (1986). She was appointed as a special faculty/visiting artist at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (1989–92), and as a Rockefeller Fellow and instructor at the University of California in Los Angeles (1992–3). Her photographs have been widely exhibited at venues such as: Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan, the Asia Society Galleries in New York, Artists Space in New York, San Francisco Art Institute, Whatcom Museum of History and Art in Bellingham, WA, Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, DC, Photographic Resources Center at Boston University, Temple University in Philadelphia and university art galleries across California....

Article

John B. Turner

The pattern of development in photography in New Zealand was similar to other colonies in the Victorian era. Progress was slow because of the country’s geographical remoteness and small population. Difficulties of overseas supply and local demand—the very traffic of equipment, materials, ideas, and pictures—have shaped all levels of achievement. Pioneer photographers were participant-observers in the process of nation building who could not but see the world according to the values of their upbringing. For instance, after the wars over land ceased in the 1880s, defeated Maori were imagined as a dying race and their culture was studied with fresh urgency. Maori subjects were common among photographers; the treatments ranging from nostalgic romanticism to abject realism.

Pictorial photography, photography’s first international art movement, dominated the camera club movement throughout the first half of the 20th century, and effectively muted the radical social precepts of modernism to the point of portraying it as an essentially anti-Pictorialist movement. In a society where art practice tends more towards the experiential than cerebral, the influence of Post-modernism, generally perceived as an anti-modernist movement, in its turn seems largely academic....