Photographers of Note

last updated 27 January 2001 at 6:18 pm

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Ansel Adams by Leah Edwards

Ansel Adams became interested in photography in 1916 when his family took a trip to Yosemite National Park. The photographer who is famous for his sharply focused images started his life in photography with soft focus photographs that were popular at the time. He started taking sharp focus photographs in 1930, which is the same year he took up photography as a full time career. In his career, although his photographs are breathtaking and indisputably some of the best ever taken of the American West, Adams photographs are perhaps not as influential as the way in which he produced his images. Adams used a view camera and developed the zone system to produce sharp images with incredible contrast. He then wrote a series of technical manuals starting with Making a Photograph so other people could learn his techniques. This is not his greatest accomplishment for photography, however. He helped found the photography department in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which was the first of its kind. He also helped start the first academic department for photography at the School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. He also held workshops for photography until 1981. Ansel Adams was an amazing photographer but his most amazing accomplishment was making photography art and enabling the public to see it as art through his hard work and dedication.

Jennings, Kate F. Ansel Adams. Barnes and Noble Books New York; New York: 1997

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Margaret Bourke-White by Jamison Haile (revised)

Margaret Bourke-White was born in Bronx, NY on June 14, 1904. She studied Herpetology (the study of reptiles) at Columbia University of but began to form a hobby of photography. Among her many accomplishments, Bourke-White was the first woman photojournalist, the first photographer for Fortune magazine and in 1930 was the first Westerner photographer that was allowed into the Soviet Union. Bourke-White was a woman of many firsts: the first female war correspondent, the first to be allowed to work in combat zones during WW II, and one of the first photographers that was allowed to enter and document the concentration camps.

Bourke-White then moved on to work for Life magazine where one of her photographs was the first to be published on the cover. She always managed to be at the right place at the right moment: an example being her interview with Mohandas K. Gandhi just a few hours before his assassination. Alfred Eisenstaedt who was a friend and colleague said, "She was great because there was no assignment, no picture that was unimportant to her."

She began to be first recognized by her industrial photography. After being discovered by Henry Luce, she was brought to New York to work on the magazine Fortune. Bourke-White had many strong beliefs that inspired her to photograph. She had an interest in racial inequality and social awareness of the underlining issues in the world. Most of her photographer however was documentary on wars and social issues. In her own opinion her best photograph was taken of a soldier and his mother who were meeting after the mother had thought her son to be dead for several months during the war. Bourke-White wasn't solely concerned about getting the effects of time on film but the reactions of the people of that time as well. In 1957, she stopped photographing and two years later was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. For eight years, Bourke-White wrote her bibliography before she died in Darien, Connecticut, on August 27, 1971. From Bourke-White's studies, I learned the importance of merely being at the right place at the right time as well as capturing the significant events of history.


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Annie Leibovitz from Emma Manning.

Annie Leibovitz was born in Westport, Connecticut in 1949. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied journalism before turning to photography. She graduated in 1971 with a degree in fine arts. During her career at the Art Institute, Leibovitz traveled to Israel, where she was able to be involved in an archaeological dig of King Solomon's temple.

She began her first job as a freelance photographer for the Rolling Stone Magazine before she graduated. After several years of working there she became their chief photographer. In 1975, she also worked as the concert photographer for the Rolling Stones band. During her time at the magazine, she photographed mostly rock stars and became quite famous through her work. One photograph from this time in her life that became very famous is that of John Lennon lying next to his wife, Yoko Ono, which was the last photograph taken of the couple before Lennon's murder. In the early 1980's, Leibovitz switched jobs to be the chief photographer for Vanity Fair Magazine. There she continued to work with mostly famous people and also began taking photography jobs with large corporations on the side.
In 1996, Leibovitz switched genres from famous rock stars, politicians, and actors to athletes. She went to Atlanta where she photographed the athletes of the summer Olympics. From her photographs there, she compiled one of her four books. Her newest book out is Annie Leibovitz: Women. In this book, Leibovitz shows photographs of the wide variety of American women in today's world. Not only has Leibovitz published four books, she has also had several exhibitions, which have toured the United States and Europe.

From her exhibitions, books, and commercial ads, Leibovitz has become one of the most renowned women photographers in the world. She has won many awards, which recognize her work in this way. Some of these awards are, "American Society of Magazine Photographers (ASMP) Photographer of the Year (1984); the ASMP Innovation in Photography Award (1987); the Clio Award and the Campaign of the Decade Award from Advertising Age Magazine (1987); and the Infinity Award for applied photography from the International Center for Photography (1990)."( Even after winning all of these awards, Annie Leibovitz continues to be recognized for her great work as a photographer.

Works Cited
Anonymous. "Annie Leibovitz: Women." Seattle Art Museum. September 20, 2001. Seattle Museum of Art. January 21, 2002.

Turner, Ron. "Annie Leibovitz (1949- )." Encarta. January 20, 2002. as sited at

Weich, Dave. "Annie Leibovitz Puts Down Camera, Talks." November 23, 1999. January 22, 2002.

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W. Eugene Smith by Jennifer Vaughn (revised)

W. Eugene Smith, renowned for his work in the field of photography, was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1918. He became interested in aeronautical photography when he was fourteen and photographed for local newspapers through high school. Smith's inspiration to pursue photojournalism began after the newspaper altered the true story of his father's death. After high school he was awarded a scholarship for his work to attend Notre Dame, where be became well known for his creative photographic ability. He attended college for only one year, then left and began work as a freelance photographer. He submitted his works to Newsweek and Life Magazine. He used a 35mm for most of his work and developed a technique using an innovative flash. This new device enabled him to create indoor pictures with the appearance of natural light. He worked for Life as a war correspondent covering the Pacific during World War II. He is most famous for capturing images on the line with those fighting the war. Smith was injured in Okinawa photographing "A Day in the Life of a Front Line Soldier," when a missile struck him in the head, which severely wounded him. After Smith recuperated, he continued to work for Life until 1954. In 1955, he became a member of Magnum Photo Agency and continued on his work as a freelance photographer. His photoessays were submitted to Life, Sports Illustrated, and Popular Photography. In 1963, he began work in Japan where he documented the effects of mercury poisoning on the residents of Minamata. This Japanese village is where his famous picture "Minamata" was taken and Smith is known to have captured some very moving images. W. Eugene Smith died in 1978 following his loss of sight in 1974, which was a result from being brutally beaten in Japan.

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Galen Rowell by Gordon Lay (revised)

Galen Rowell has become one of the world's most prominent nature photographers. Son of a college professor and concert cellist, Galen was born in 1940 in Berkeley, California. Even as a youth Galen had a passion for the outdoors and nature.

Before 1972, Galen worked as a car dealer and enjoyed photography as a personal hobby. Galen has never viewed photography as a job. Photography comes naturally to him, wanting to capture the beauty of the outdoors. After selling the car dealership, Galen received a job photographing for National Geographic.

Information on Galen's equipment was difficult to research, but he often uses a 500mm telephoto lens, 2x teleconverter, and a Nikon F100 camera. Today, Galen spends his time working for Life, National Geographic, and Outdoor Photographer. Rowell's work is contained in more than sixteen photography books.

The utter beauty of nature inspired Rowell's photography. In Rowell's photographs it becomes possible to see examples and understand that photographs do not need to contain extensive scenes instead simplicity often shows it best. My favorite of Rowell's images are of colorful sunsets accented by a single silhouetted tree. He displays the importance of shooting a photo from unconventional angles to make it aesthetically pleasing.

Galen Rowell has been awarded the Ansel Adams Award and the National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Grant. Among some of the appealing locations Rowell has photographed include: Nepal, India, Pakistan, China, Tibet, Africa, Antarctica, Alaska, Canada, Siberia, New Zealand, Norway, and Patagonia. According to Galen, his motivation for photography is, "A continuing pursuit in which the art becomes the adventure and vice versa." (Mountain Light)


1. Muir, John and Rowell, Galen. The Yosemite. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1989.
2. Rowell, Galen. In the Throne Room of the Mountain Gods. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1977.
3. Mountain Light Photography. 19-20 Jan. 2002

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Robert Capa by Kelly Trout

Originally named Endre (Andre) Freidman, Robert Capa was born on October 22, 1913 in Budapest, Hungary to a prominent Jewish family. At the age of 18 he left Budapest for Berlin to attend journalism school. After a year in journalism school, Capa dropped out and began working as an assistant in the darkroom of Simon Guttman, the father of modern photojournalism. Guttman took notice of Capa and gave him his first real break when he sent Capa to photograph Leon Trotsky.

In 1933, due to mounting pressure from the Nazis, Capa fled Berlin and moved to Paris. After arriving in Paris, Capa and fiancée Gerda Taro created the character of Robert Capa, a wealthy, famous, and talented American photographer. Taro was supposedly Capa's secretary and Freidman was his darkroom assistant. Taro pawned Freidman's photographs off as Capa's and earned three times as much for them. Eventually there game was discovered by an editor of a French paper. Impressed with Capa's work, the editor sent Capa and Taro to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War. It was during this time that Capa shot one of his most famous pictures, "Death of a Loyalist Soldier." Capa returned to Paris, but Taro remained in Spain to continue covering the war. It was there that she died after being hit by a tank.

After his success and then crushing loss in Spain, Capa went on assignment in China. At the onset of World War II, Capa immigrated to America, where he began covering the war for Collier's and then Life magazine. Capa captured the fighting in Africa, Sicily, and Italy, but is most noted for photographing D-Day from Omaha Beach. Unfortunately, of the four rolls of film that Capa shot that day only eleven could be salvaged after the majority of the shots were ruined because of faulty developing equipment. That is why the pictures from the Normandy invasion are extremely blurry.
In 1947, Capa, along with Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour, George Rodger and William Vandivert, started the photo agency Magnum Photos. Magnum photos was meant to be a cooperative of free-lance photographers. Capa believed that photographers should own the copyright of their photos. He spent the next several years working with his new business. In 1947, Capa traveled with John Steinbeck to Russia and the following year he went to Israel to cover the first Arab-Israeli War. Capa died on May 25, 1954 in Thai-Binh, Indochina. He was covering the French Indochina War for Life when he stepped on a landmine. He was found still clutching his camera.

Capa is most noted for photographing five major wars: Spanish Civil War, Sino-Japanese War, World War II, first Arab-Israeli War, French Indochina War, but he also did portrait work of many of his friends. His portraits included one of an elderly Matisse painting in Nice, and another of Pablo Picasso and Francoise Gilot in Golfe-Juan. He also did photographs of Ernest Hemingway, Gary Cooper, and Ingrid Bergman. Capa's personal motto towards photography was "If you're pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." Capa gained fame by taking his camera where no other photographer would and getting up close and personal pictures. He also had an uncanny ability to take his pictures at the decisive moments.. Capa was not a man who loved war or held political opinions. He simply wanted to show the hardships and bitterness associated with war. Capa's camera was a simple, light weight, 35 mm, at that time a brand new product.


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Dorothea Lange by Courtney Bartie

Many say Dorothea Lange was much more of a photographer than a sentimental mother or wife. Photography was her love and compassion. Born in Hoboken, NJ in 1895, her childhood was ordinary until she picked up her first camera in high school. She was almost completely self-taught except for a short course taught by Clarence White. At the age of 18, she and a friend decided to leave their homes and travel across the country, leaving with a minimal $140 to split between the two of them. Unfortunately, the two were forced to take jobs in San Francisco when they were robbed of everything but $5. This lead to Dorothea's beginning as photo processing. A year later she opened her own portrait studio, taking photographs of the affluent California society. Over time; however, she came to loathe the meaningless photos of the rich dressed in their finest clothes. She preferred to go into the streets and photograph people, later to be known symbols of the Great Depression.

In the studio, she used an 8x10 camera. When she traveled, she used a 3 ¼ x 4 ¼ Graflex and, more frequently, a Rolleiflex. Lange photographed with panchromatic film processed on matte or semi-matte paper, with absolutely no re-touching. She is said to have shot with a shutter speed of 1/100 or faster.
Most of her work is of the miserable, troubled, and anguished. However, it is easy to see that she has great respect for all her subjects. She shot migratory agriculture workers, which lead to the creation of the Farm Security Administration.

Her most famous work, the Migrant Mother, has been used over time, some re-touched, others as the original appeared. The variations include eliminating the children, turning the heads of the children toward the camera, and a Black Panther ad where the subjects all have black features. However, it has been said that it is ironic that this is the picture she is noted for. While she traveled, she would farm out her own children to friends and relatives. Also important, her own childhood in which she had no strong connection with her family. Her strong connection was with her camera, which is evident in her quote: "You put your camera around your neck in the morning, along with putting on your shoes, and there it is, an appendage of the body that shares your life with you."
She died at the age of 70 of esophagus cancer.

Meltzer, Milton. Dorothea Lange: A Photographer's Life. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1978.

Partridge, Elizabeth. Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.

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Imogen Cunningham by Kymm Brown

Imogen Cunningham started taking photographs during the year 1901. At this time, she was a college student at the University of Washington. The works of Gertrude Kasebier, a famous photographer, inspired her. She began working part time at Edward S. Curtis's studio in Seattle. Eventually she received a scholarship for foreign study and left the United States to take photographic courses in Germany.

After returning home from studying in Germany, she opened her own studio in Seattle. She received national recognition for her portraits and pictorial work. She stated in Wilson's Photographic Magazine that her philosophy is that, "One must be able to gain an understanding at short notice and close range of the beauties of character, intellect, and spirit so as to be able to draw out the best qualities and make them show in the outer aspect of the sitter. To do this one must not have a too pronounced notion of what constitutes beauty in the external and, above all, must not worship it. To worship beauty for its own sake is narrow, and one surely cannot derive from it that esthetic pleasure which comes from finding beauty in the commonest things."

She married an etcher named Roi Partridge and had three sons. During the mid-thirties, she was divorced from Roi and lived in Oakland until 1947 when she moved to her home in San Francisco. She became friends with the famous photographer Edward Weston after moving to San Francisco. Weston nominated eight of Cunningham's works in the Deutsche Werkbund's great international exhibition, "Film and Foto", in 1929. Later she joined the group that became known as "Group f/64". Other members in the group included Ansel Adams and Willard Van Dyke.

She took numerous types of photographs. She worked for magazines, ran a portrait studio, and taught at the California School of Fine Arts. In 1917, she gave up the soft focus pictures that she was known to take and began to take photos that were sharply defined. She photographed many celebrities such as James Cagney, Cary Grant, and Joan Blondell. She said to her friend, famous photographer Dorothea Lange that, "…I've tried my best to sell people on the idea that I photograph anything that can be exposed to light." She was not tied to one particular type of photography although many people remember her photographs of plant forms. She was also the first female to photograph the male form nude. She took many nude photographs including some of her.

Imogen Cunningham was a brilliant photographer who shared her photographs and time among many of the other famous photographers. She cannot be categorized as one type of photographer and did not want to be. She enjoyed finding beauty in everything.


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Lewis Wickes Hine by Jamie Martin (revised)

Lewis Hine was born in Oshkosh Wisconsin on September 26, 1874. In 1892, shortly after he graduated from high school his father was killed in an accident. This event caused Hine to enter the work force as a hauler in a furniture factory. This job helped to support his mother and his sister. He then went on to hold several other jobs including a janitor, at a department store, and also at a water filter company. Hine had decided that he did not want to continue in these dead end jobs and took the steps to head back to school.

In 1900, Hine enrolled at the University of Chicago. By the encouragement of a good friend, Frank Manny, Hine went on to become a teacher. After, completing his degree, Hine moved to New York City with Manny. At this point in his career, Hine was teaching nature and Geography. He was also asked to take pictures of the children in their scholastic activities. This was his first photographical assignment. He then began to incorporate his pictures into his classroom instruction methods.
In 1904, Manny and Hine teamed up for the "Ellis Island" Project. Together they used photography to demonstrate to the public that immigrants were people too. These pictures were to help decrease the negative feelings that most Americans had about the influx of immigrants that were entering the United States. While teaching and enjoying photography, Hine continued his education and soon completed his Master's degree in education at New York University in 1905. As Hine progressed in his teaching career, he found that photography proved to be a valuable teaching tool. He then began publishing articles in various magazines to illustrate its importance in education. In addition to his teaching job, Hine began to work as a sociological photographer. Soon after the National Child Labor Committee hired him.

In 1908, Hine officially gave up teaching to pursue a full time career in photography. His equipment was rather simple and very heavy. He lugged around almost fifty pounds of equipment. His camera was a 5x7 view camera; a bulb shutter, glass plate negatives, and magnesium flash powder to create light. He used an old wooden tripod to create stability. For some pictures he hand held the camera and used a wide-angle lens. This lens allowed him to show his subjects sharply and have an out of focus background. He approached his subjects directly and placed them in the center of most of his pictures.

From 1908 until 1917, Hine traveled around the United States taking pictures of children as they worked in terrible conditions. He took pictures of children in mills, factories, and mines. In these pictures Hine wanted to show America how employers were taking advantage of child labor. These pictures illustrated the ages of the kids, the conditions they worked in, the kind of labor they were performing, and the lack of safety measures that were taken to protect them while they worked. Many times factory owners would not allow Hine to enter the work areas. To overcome this impediment, he claimed to be of another profession. An example is a bible sales man or sometimes he said he was there to photograph the machines and the products that were being produced. After he finished taking and developing the pictures, he then created pamphlets to distribute to the public. He also sent them to magazines to be published. He also began traveling around giving lectures on child labor. These actions he took to publicize his pictures allowed the public and the lawmakers to become aware of this growing problem. There were in fact laws against child labor but they were not enforced. These photographs helped to pressure governmental officials to begin enforcing these child labor laws.

In 1918, as the First World War was taking place, Hine took a job with the American Red Cross. In this job he used his photographic skills to illustrate how war is and does affect civilian populations. He then came back to the States and resumed his job with the National Child Labor Committee. He began to have a difficulty making a living as a photographer. In 1930, he took on the job to follow the construction of the Empire State Building. With this project he produced more than one hundred photos. After this project he worked for several other agencies, compiled portfolios, and took on several smaller assignments. As the years went by Hine could not find much work and was rejected by the Carnegie Corporation and the Guggenheim Foundation to receive grants. In this decade of the 1930's the general public was no longer interested in Hines type of photography. He then went on and held several exhibitions, which led to several more jobs, yet not enough to rise out of the poverty he had found himself in. In 1940, he died after an operation.

Lewis Hine was motivated to stop child labor and allow kids to be kids. He was also motivated by his own experience from working in the furniture factory. He saw first hand the cruelties of the illegal use of child labor. With his photographs he was able to teach the public about child labor and bring awareness to this growing abuse of children.

He used cumbersome and heavy equipment but was able to demonstrate the realities of the lives of these children. The fact that he used simple, non-technical equipment also demonstrates that a photographer does not need expensive equipment to take great photographs. In his pictures, he focused on the subject directly but left enough of the background in focus to illustrate the harsh environments that they worked in. He captured the emotions and expressions of these kids. Not only was Hine a teacher of nature and Geography but he also used his photographic skills to teach as well.


Freedman, Russell. Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor. Clarion Books: New York, 1994. Ed. Peter Marshall. 21 Jan. 2002

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Alfred Eisenstaedt by Mike Johnson (revised)

Alfred Eisenstaedt was born December 6, 1898 in Dirschau, West Prussia, which is now part of Poland. He grew up one of three brothers and his father worked as a merchant. When Eisie, as his friends called him, was eight he and his family moved to Berlin, Germany. Six years later his uncle gave him his first camera, an Eastman Kodak No. 3 folding camera. At this stage in his life, Eisie did not have much of an interest in photography, nor did he have much time to develop one. Only three years after receiving his first camera at age 17, Eisie was drafted into the German Army to serve during World War I. He served three years until a shrapnel injury to his legs removed him from the front. He was the lone survivor of his battery. Not until his recovery time at home did his interest in photography begin to blossom. During the year he was bound to a wheelchair, Eisie visited the local museums to study light and composition of paintings. (
Once he was able to walk again, Eisie began a job as a salesman for belt and buttons for pants. With the money he earned Eisie fed his appetite for photography. He created a makeshift darkroom in his bathroom, but he had yet to learn that an enlarger existed. Photography remained a hobby for Eisie until 1927. While on vacation in Czechoslovakia he took a photograph of a girl playing tennis with a Zeiss Ideal camera 9x12. A friend then taught Eisie the wonders of an enlarger. He used the enlarger to crop the image into a better composition and then went on to sell his very first photograph to Der Welt Spiegel for $3.00. It now dawned upon Eisie that he could make money by taking pictures. (

Eisie continued working as a salesman for a few more years while taking up freelance photography. He dropped the sales business all together when he received an assignment to shoot the Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm in 1929. Thus began the career of the "Father of Photojournalism". He remained in Germany until Hitler came to power six years later. After immigrating to the U.S., Eisie landed a job as one of the first four photographers for Life Magazine. (

Eisie did not use elaborate equipment; rather he liked to keep it simple. When he began his photojournalism career he used the Leica 35mm. He liked the camera because it was very unobtrusive which allowed him to capture emotions of people without them knowing that they were being photographed. Eisie was good at blending in as it was because he stood barely over five feet tall. Eisie also used a 2 ¼" Rolleiflex. He liked this camera because he did not have to raise it to his eye. People were oblivious to the fact they were being photographed because no camera was ever brought up to his eye. (

The simple equipment he used allowed him to make candid photos, one category that he became widely known for. Eisie was excellent at capturing the essence of an event. He could take one photo that would show the event so well that a written story was not often necessary. He once wrote that the photojournalist's job is "to find and catch the story telling moment". ( This is what Eisie mastered. At his time there was none better at being at the right place at the right time to capture that perfect image. Eisie acknowledged that this skill was not easy and required great patience and perseverance. He said, "I have found that the most important element in my equipment is not an expensive camera or a unique lens but patience, patience, patience. If you don't know how to stand knee-deep in water for hours or sit broiling in the sunshine while mosquitoes buzz around your head, remaining absolutely motionless yet relaxed and alert, you are finished before you start." (

Eisie also had skill in shooting portraits of the famous. His portraits, like his photojournalist work, captured the essence of the person. On assignment, he photographed personalities from Churchill, to Marilyn Monroe, to JFK. All photos convey a sense of who those people were. Eisie's skill in this field arose not from his camera skills but from his people skills. Eisie share his secret to success in this arena by saying, "I never boss people around. Never take a picture they object to. It's more important to click with people than to click the shutter." (

Eisie continued to use these skills until his death in 1995. One of his last assignments was to photograph the Clintons in Martha's Vineyard. As a gift he allowed Bill and Chelsea to choose one of his photos. Bill chose the drum major and Chelsea the ballerinas. Eisie up until his death kept things simple. He was not known as a "visual" photographer, but he could capture the essence of any scene or person. He had no formal training, but created moving images. He gives amateurs the belief that a great image can be captured with the simplest of cameras; one just needs to look at the world "with telephoto eyes, sometimes with wide-angle eyes." (


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Elliot Erwitt by Cricket Kocisko (revised)

Elliott Erwitt, born in Paris in 1928 of Russian parents, is a well-known contemporary photographer. He studied photography and film in the United States from 1942 through 1950, when he befriended other well-known photographers Robert Capa and Roy Stryker. He became an associate in the Magnum Photo Agency in 1953, and continues to be a member. Most of his work is humorous black and white freelance photography, but he has also shot journalistic essays, commercial photography, and movie photography, producing them mainly in 8x10 and 30x40 formats using a T35mm Leica camera. He feels that the essence of photography is noticing your surroundings and so does not limit himself to one type of photography. For Erwitt, being aware of your surroundings means being able to recognize situations in which photographing a scene or emotion would capture that scene or emotion exactly as the he wishes the viewer to see it. He strongly believes that photographic manipulation (digital or otherwise) should not be practiced. Erwitt's works are compiled into books, such as Recent Developments, Personal Exposures, On the Beach, Between the Sexes, and Dogs, Dogs.

References Used:
Erwitt, Elliott. Between the Sexes. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1994

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Paul Caponigro by Ryan Grover (revised)

Paul Caponigro
"As I gaze at theses mirrors of silver light, the constant I experience can be seen from the heart of why I create images in this chosen medium…that being the joy of the work and the expansion of the emotional hear through seeing and allowing beauty, as well as illuminating truths, to pass from that magic mirror into my life"
-- Paul Caponigro (Contemporary Photographers)

Paul Caponigro was born on December 7, 1932 in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended the College of Music at Boston University, and studied photography at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco in 1956, and at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York from 1957-58. Caponigro spent time as a photographer for the United States Military during the Korean War from 1953-55. He has been a freelance photographer since 1955, and has won numerous photographic awards during his lifetime (Contemporary Photographers). He is still alive today and resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His son, John Paul Caponigro, is also a well-known photographer. A discussion between Paul and his son can be found at

Paul Caponigro's style of photography is rather traditionalist: silverprinting. Described by his son as a "technophobe," Caponigro admits to refusing to immediately embrace digital photography. However, Caponigro recognizes that technology causes photographic companies such as Kodak to cease production of some more traditional chemical solutions. He admits he cannot deny that technology may replace the materials he uses in his traditional silverprinting. However, he would embrace digital photography provided it "comes up with the ability to produce just as effective and beautiful and images through new material" ("John Paul Caponigro…").

Caponigro's primary subjects are nature and landscaping, and his work has been described as "epiphanic revelations of the inherent nature of things and being" (Contemporary Photographers). Caponigro claims the most important influence on any artist is "mystery," and that the greatest influence is the sperm and the egg, for the process by which "one becomes a being" is the greatest mystery. Caponigro fails to acknowledge any specific person who has influenced him, claiming that only technique is borrowed, and that each artist has his own basic vision. Caponigro remains vague on the effects of his work on others, for "In New York it will have one effect, in Los Angeles another. If the receiver is actually available, it will have the same effect on them it has on me. Which is to say that mystery unfolds" ("John Paul Caponigro…").

The Andrew Smith Gallery houses Caponigro's latest exposition, "Cornucopia," which features photographs taken in 1999 of a "variety of natural objects from his home and in the fields and woods near his house. Stones, shells, plants, and fruit were chosen for their simple beauty and arranged with painstaking care into mandala-like still lifes" ("Masterpieces of 19th and 20th Century Photography…). The images can be viewed online at

Links to other Caponigro works can be found at

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Edward Weston by Rachel Sheridan (27 Jan)

Edward Weston, who was born on March 24, 1886 in Illinois, is greatly honored and respected today, and put much feeling and emotion into all that he did. Weston began photography as a young man and there was always a sign of his youthfulness by the way he signed the "W" on his negatives. Weston always signed his negatives when he began his work and many people think the reason for this is so that he could get recognition for his work.

Weston met a lovely woman named Flora Chandler through his sister and she became the subject of many photographs that Weston made. Flora can be found in almost any form throughout Weston's collection. She posed for Weston all the time and some of the works that he considers his greatest are of Flora. In January of 1909 Flora married Weston and they began a life together.

Not long after this Weston began his "One Man Studio", which means that he did everything on his own in the studio. Weston would adjust his own lights, add his own props, and even set the timer so he could be in his own photographs from the studio. While shooting these Weston used an 8 x 10 camera to take all of his portraits and any other photographs that he took.
Weston had a wide variety of pictures in his collection. One significant part of his life was during the 1920's because he went through a stage where he did a lot of nude photography. Weston would take a picture of anything with the slightest bit of potential.

On January 1, 1958 Edward Weston died. Weston is still honored today in museums and other places around the world. He was a great photographer and his work is still greatly appreciated today. Weston is popular with all kinds of individuals and his works can still be bought today.


Danly, Susan and Naef, Weston. Edward Weston in Los Angeles. Arizona Board of
Regents, 1986

Newhall, Nancy (ed.). Edward Weston Photographer, Aperture Inc, 1965

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Minor White by Meredith Long (27 Jan)

Minor White was born in the United States in 1918. He attended the University of Minnesota where he earned a degree in botany. He became a teacher at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco. There, for the first time he was able to reach out to people by teaching them to interoperate and appreciate photographs. Minor White photographed in fragments where the actual identity of the subject is lost. Minor White left teaching in 1952 to help found Aperture magazine along with Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and a couple others. For a period of more than twenty years White wrote articles for the magazine. White was a member of the f/64 club with Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. This focused on taking sharp, in focus images. White worked with Adams and Weston to develop the Zone System. The Zone System took the guess work out of photography, and made it easier for people to get the pictures they wanted. Minor often got the pictures he wanted by manipulating the Zone System. Minor was noted for cropping his pictures. He believed in getting only what was fundamental onto the picture. Minor White was noted as being very spiritual and having a high sense of self awareness. He practiced such things as Zen. His photographs often supported spirituality.

Minor White left the magazine in 1965 when he took a job as a professor at MIT. White taught a workshop called "Creative Audience" in which he taught people to see the spiritual and emotional part of photographs that he saw. In the summertime he headed up workshops all over the United States. He was now able to reach out to the public and teach them to intemperate photographs. Minor remained at MIT until his death in 1976.


Bunnell, Peter C. Minor White and Photographic Education.

Coderre, Bill. Dreams with a Memory - Minor White Remembered.

Johnson, William S., & Rice, Mark, & Williams, Carla. Photography rom 1839 to today. © 2000 George Eastman House, Rochester NY.

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Walker Evans by Jill Hearn (27 Jan)

Walker Evans is best known for his documentary photography of America in the1930's and 1940's.Evans was born on November 3, 1903, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was raised in the mid-west and completed his higher education at Andover and Williams College. His interest in photography began in 1928. His first camera was a simple vest-pocket camera. He was frustrated and disgusted by the business world and was looking for a career that provided satisfaction. His first endeavor was in commercial photography, but after two jobs he was very unhappy with it and decided that advertising was not for him.

In college, he studied mainly literature and carried the techniques he developed over to his photography career. He used his camera to take pictures as an author would take a pen to write. Evans was not interested in flashy photography. Instead, he was content with the simplicity of what was presented before him. He liked to shoot exactly what he saw. He enjoyed taking pictures of street signs and gas station signs. He found that this was a true representation of America.
The 1930's began his career in documentary photography. His first job was located in Cuba. He was hired by Carleton Beals to take pictures for his book, The Crimes of Cuba. Evans pictures showed the living conditions and poverty that was daily life in Cuba at the time. It was here that he began taking portraits of the working class. Several years later Evans was contracted to take pictures of the results of the Great Depression. He worked mostly with a tripod-mounted camera and produced strictly black and white prints. These photographs were the beginning of higher awareness in America of the poor. He used a large view camera so that he could encompass every aspect of the lives of these people.

In 1941, he published Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with his best friend, and writer, James Agee. He took the majority of these pictures with his hand held Leica camera, which was very flexible and produced good quality negatives. His photographs in this book are mostly from Hale County, Alabama. It documents the daily lives of sharecroppers and their families. His second book, Many Are Called, was published in 1966. This was a series of subway photographs taken in New York City. The pictures in this book illustrated the simplicity of observing the people around you.
In the last years of his life, Evans continued with photography. He was one of the first professional photographers to purchase Polaroid's new SX-70. This was an instant camera that was self-advancing and automatic color. Evans liked this camera because it allowed him to manipulate scenes to reveal his intent.
Walker Evans died on April 10, 1975, in New Haven, Connecticut.

References: (Encyclopedia Britannica Online)
The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of Photographs by Weston Naef
Walker Evans, published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Many Are Called by Walker Evans

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Steve McCurry by Daniel Bolding (27 Jan)

Steve McCurry was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Pennsylvania State University College of Arts and Architecture. He started as a photographer for a newspaper for a couple of years and then began freelance photography in India. McCurry says that it was here that he "learned to watch and wait on life" (Steve). "If you wait, he realized, people would forget your camera and the soul would drift up into view" (Steve). McCurry's carrier changed in the 1980's when he snuck from Pakistan to Afghanistan dressed in the same dress of the area before the Russians invaded. His pictures were the first ever seen of this conflict, one of which became a "National Geographic Icon" after it was put on the cover of the June 1985 edition. Steve McCurry does not think of himself as a War Photographer even though he has covered many different conflicts, but "rather, he focuses on human reality of war, showing what it impresses on a landscape and, more importantly, the human face" (Steve). McCurry has received many awards for his photographs including the Olivier Rebbot Memorial Award. McCurry says, "Most of my photos are grounded in people and I try to convey what it is like to be that person - a person caught in a broader landscape that I guess you'd call the human condition" (Steve). I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person's face" (National). McCurry's most recent assignments include Bombay, Burma, Sri Lanka and India's fiftieth anniversary of independence, Yemen, Cambodia, and Kashmir.


Steve McCurry, Portraits. <>.
National Geographic Online, Steve McCurry, 200. <>.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson by Sarah Holbrook (27 Jan)

Henri Cartier-Bresson, a street photographer and photojournalist, was born into an artistic family on August 22, 1908, in Chanteloupe, France. His mother was from Normandy, his father a bourgeois Parisian textile entrepreneur, and his uncle a painter. Henri read modern literature as a young child, but as a teenager he began to study painting. He later studied with Andre Lhote, a conservative Montparnase painter, in 1927. Henri was greatly influenced by surrealism when an artist named Rene Crevel introduced him to it. Two artists in particular, Andre Breton and Louis Aragon, further enhanced Henri's interest in photography. In 1929 Henri began to take "serious pictures" with a small cheap camera. He would focus on details found in shop windows or lying in the streets. In 1930 he traveled to Africa where he not only hunted the wildlife there, but photographed it as well. His trip was cut short due to the fact that he acquired black-water fever. However, when he got home, he found that most of his film had been ruined from moisture that had gotten into his camera. Henri bought a Leica camera in 1932, which was considered to be very new and extraordinary because it was small and light and used a role of 35 mm film. This was a huge contrast to the traditional large bulky cameras used during this time that held sheets of film.

Henri roamed from country to country, from Paris to Spain to Italy to Morocco to Mexico, and then to the United States. Later he went on to work for filmmaker, Jean Renior, as an assistant director on many documentary and narrative projects.

At the beginning of World War II, Henri joined the French military service as a photographer and was captured; however, he was later able to escape and return to Paris.

After the war, in 1947, Henri, along with Robert Capa and David Seymore, founded Magnum Photos, which became, and still remains to be, one of the world's leading photography agencies.

Henri recently stated that "My passion has never been for photography 'in itself', but for the possibility-through forgetting yourself-of recording in a fraction of a second the emotion of a subject, the beauty of the form".


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Select a photographer of note for a report to the class and a brief biography to be posted on this website.

Your presentation (and textual synopsis for web publication) should include a time frame, the setting in which your photographer worked, they type of equipment they used, the types of photographs they produced,and the impact and/or importance of those photographs. What motivated your photographer? Have several representative photographs to display to the class. What did you learn technically and artistically by examining your photographers images? A brief synopsis suitable for publication on this website should be submitted by email to Dr. Davis

Deadline: 9:00 pm Tuesday January 22nd.

Your text should be attached as a Word.doc or an .htm file (example: adams.htm) Use proper grammar, punctuation, capitialization, and sentence structure. Your submitted text should require no editorial changes before being posted to the web. Suspicion of plaguarism will be vigorously pursued and prosecuted in Wofford's Judicial Court. Do not plaguarize from websites or other sources. Do list all of your reference materials in a bibliography at the end of your article. If you find websites that are suitable and worthwhile links related to your photographer, include those links in your article.

Hint: The Spartanburg County Library has an impressive collection of photography books. Also, check the photography section of bookstores such as Barnes and Noble.


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