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Gordon Abbott

Gordon Abbot: “Janitzio,” 1946-47

Gordon Abbott was a twentieth century American photographer born in 1882. He spent much of his professional life working in Mexico and Guatemala and died in Mexico City in 1951. More than mere travel photography, his work captures the spirit of the places and scenes he witnessed. Instead of the flashy images suited for tourists’ […]

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William Heick

William Heick: “Hats,” 1951

Though William Heick is best known for his ethnographic photographs and documentary films of Native American cultures, his early work focused on street life in 1940s and 1950s San Francisco. His vibrant portraits capture the dynamic community of the city and the surrounding countryside — the artists, entertainers, industrial workers, cotton pickers, and street people […]

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William Anderson

Silver Gelatin Print on Paper, 16.75 by 12 inches, Gift of Samella Lewis

During his forty-year photographic career, William Anderson documented the everyday lives of impoverished African Americans in the rural South. His pictures reveal their endurance, dignity and humanity in the face of great hardships. Anderson’s photographs look beyond the wretched conditions of poverty to encompass a sense of community, laughter, and even triumph, without erasing or […]

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Eileen Cowin

Eilieen Cowin: “Untitled (Woman in Red Shirt),” 1981

Eileen Cowin’s work in the 1980s explores the depth of narrative that mise en scéne photography can convey to a viewer. Mise en scéne photographers exert a control over their work that is similar to an auteur’s command over a movie-set: they both have total mastery over every detail.

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Arthur Kales

Arthur Kales: “Ruth St. Denis,” c. 1910

Arthur Kales’ portrait of Ruth St Denis gives dimension to a compelling artistic discourse about cultural diversity in America.

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Gregory Crewdson

Gregory Crewdson: “Untitled,” 2005

Contemporary photographer Gregory Crewdson doesn’t take pictures. Instead, he spends several months meticulously planning surreal and elaborately staged scenes of American homes and neighborhoods. Building his stage sets from scratch, his large-scale photographs require a crew of 40 to 50 people to set up the detailed and suspenseful scenes, including lighting, set designers, and even […]

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Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus: “Young Couple on a Bench”, 1965. 15 13/16 x 19½ inches. Edition 8/75. Gift of C. Jane Hurley Wilson ’64 and Michael G. Wilson.

Diane Arbus often established connections between the strangers whose portraits she chose to capture. Visiting their homes and learning about their private lives, Arbus still managed to include a mysterious aspect in all of her photographs that make the viewer wish to engage with the subject in the same manner that Arbus did.

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Jack Delano

Jack Delano: “Commuters, Lowell, MA,” 1941

With his camera, Delano captured valuable historical events, and in doing so, he gave voice to those most affected by tragedy. In 1939, he was commissioned by the Farm Security Administration’s (FSA) photography project, a governmental effort to record and understand the effects of policy reform on small-town America.

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Julia Margaret Cameron

Julia Margaret Cameron: “Portrait of Kate Keown,” 1860s

In 1863, Julia Margaret Cameron, one of Victorian England’s most renowned women photographers, received her first camera at the age of 48. Given her age and gender and the time period she was living in, Cameron was not expected to contribute much to photography as an art form. However, her skill and persistence made her […]

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Samella Lewis

Samella Lewis: “I See You,” 2005

The face in I See You is backed by solid black and defined in white. If one observes the image from a short distance, a stark black/white dichotomy is evident (look, for example, at the whites of the figure’s eyes), but when one looks from farther away, the lines blur, and the face appears to […]

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