Book Review

Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective

Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective

Paul Martineau

J. Paul Getty Museum, Oct 2020, 256 pages

Art: photography retrospective, Biography

Provided by Pub via NetGalley


The cover put me in mind of Georgia O’Keefe. Looking at some of Ms. Cunningham’s photographs will do that. The same type of organic form caught at the height of its beauty in such a close-up as to almost change its identity. Nowadays we see this sort of macro shot a lot, but at this time it was groundbreaking.

I found the text to be quite good in the beginning and end, but the middle got a bit draggy. Cunningham’s work got to be outstanding toward the later part of her life, more experimental, looser, more organic. Definitely art photography, not just portrait work: Triangles, Man Ray, Torso, Two Sisters, and Two Callas. Some truly stunning work. Her husband was a jerk, but typical of his time. His attitude of there was only room for one artist in their home was what drove her to such lengths and eventually drove them apart. This was a very nice presentation of her prints. Recommended

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