Imogen Cunningham at the Bowers Museum


Tom Gramegna and Meg Partridge at the Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA
Site of Imogen Cunningham, Seen and Unseen through February 26
Photo by Claire Insalata Poulos, Leica D-Lux Typ 109

I’ve long revered the catalog and always included Imogen Cunningham in my list of the greatest artists of the 20th Century. Along with Ansel Adams, her work captivated this teenager’s imagination early and her work has remained evergreen. After experiencing “Seen and Unseen”, a brilliantly curated show made possible through a collaboration with the Imogen Cunningham Trust and Cunningham scholar Celina Lunsford, I’m further convinced that the scope of her influence was singular! 

The selection of sixty prints, most in toned silver gelatin and a few platinums, (most made by noted photographer Rondal Partridge, her son) span the entirety of her career, and are divided among both well known icons and those never seen before. And what a revelation it is to see these mingled on the walls the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, especially those seeing the first light of day publicly!

Some of these unknown masterpieces from her prolific 75 year career further cement Imogen as one of a handful of photographers whose obvious and overwhelming influence on her peers and the generation to follow( like Mapplethorpe, Sherman, Mann) is still reverberating with yet another generation in the contemporary photography scene today!

In walking this show, one is continually struck by the timeless nature, ingenious creativity and modernity of what Imogen captured, right from her earliest work! Special thanks to Meg and Craig from the Cunningham Trust for their personally guided tour through the wonderland that is Seen and Unseen,
a show that will stay with me forever. See it at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana through 2/26!