Orange County Register, by Antonie Boessenkool, November 24, 2016.
Photographer Imogen Cunningham’s career spanned most of the 20th Century. She took photos of celebrities such as Cary Grant for Vanity Fair, but her own interests led her to focus on plants and flowers, dancers, nudes and street scenes that showed a changing California in the 1960s.
At the Bowers Museum, 60 of her black-and-white photographs are on display until Feb. 26 in “Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham.” Many, especially those Cunningham made in the early 1900s, seem much more modern than the time period in which they were created. Photographs of plants are closely cropped and have an almost abstract character. Multiple-exposure prints show her interest in surrealism.
Cunningham was born in Portland, Ore., and grew up in Seattle. As a photographer, she pursued significant exhibitions, sales and portraiture work just like her male contemporaries. Her father’s attitude had a lot to do with the strides she made in photography, said Meg Partridge, Cunningham’s granddaughter. Partridge directs the Imogen Cunningham Trust, which sells and exhibits Cunningham’s work at museums.