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Calla Leaves, 1920s (printed 1971)

Imogen Cunningham

American, 1883-1976
Gelatin silver print
Image: 9-1/2 x 7-3/8 in. (24.1 x 18.7 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist to the Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
PH.1971.150
© 2008 Imogen Cunningham Trust

Not on view

Imogen Cunningham made seemingly simple photographs from elements in the vicinity of her home environment. During the 1920s and 1930s, informed by the straight photography ethos that inspired Edward Weston and other members of Group f/64, of which she was a charter member, Cunningham created stark, geometrically styled close-ups of plants that are visually arresting. The photographer’s earlier allegiance to soft-focus portraits and allegorical woodland themes are nowhere evident in these sharply observed plant forms, which are truly modern. The beautifully orchestrated prints reveal Cunningham’s desire to apprehend the essence of each plant’s form. And, like a portrait, the isolation and context-free presentation allows the artist to capture the plants’ personalities and distinguishing characteristics.


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