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IMOGEN CUNNINGHAM
[1883 - 1976] American photographer. Best known for her botanical photography.
Once a woman who does street work said to me, 'I've never photographed anyone I haven't asked first.' I said to her, 'Suppose Cartier-Bresson asked the man who jumped the puddle to do it again - it never would have been the same. Start stealing!' - Imogen Cunningham, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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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. - Imogen Cunningham - Wilson’s Photographic Magazine in March, 1914.
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Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow. - Imogen Cunningham, Interviews With Master Photographers : Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Cornell Capa, Elliott Erwitt, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold Newman, Lord Snowdon, Brett Weston by James Danziger
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So many people dislike themselves so thoroughly that they never see any reproduction of themselves that suits. None of us is born with the right face. It’s a tough job being a portrait photographer. - Imogen Cunningham
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The thing that’s fascinating about portraiture is that nobody is alike. - Imogen Cunningham, Dialogue With Photography by Paul Hill , ISBN: 0948797665 , Page: 240
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Ansel [Adams] once said to somebody that I [Cunningham] was versatile, but what he really meant was that I jump around. I’m never satisfied staying in one spot very long, I couldn’t stay with the mountains and I couldn’t stay with the trees and I couldn’t stay with the rivers. But I can always stay with people, because they really are different. - Imogen Cunningham, Dialogue With Photography by Paul Hill , ISBN: 0948797665 , Page: 240
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…There are too many people studying it [photography] now who are never going to make it. You can’t give them a formula for making it. You have to have it in you first, you don’t learn it. The seeing eye is the important thing. - Imogen Cunningham, Dialogue With Photography by Paul Hill , ISBN: 0948797665 , Page: 240
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...I can't recreate my feelings about how I happened to do this or that, because a lot of my stuff was done without any motivation, more than just what I call having a good time fooling around. - Imogen Cunningham

I photograph anything that can be exposed to light. The reason during the twenties that I photographed plants was that I had three children under the age of four to take care of so I was cooped up. I had a garden available and I photographed them indoors. Later when I was free I did other things. - Imogen Cunningham

I don't think there's any such thing as teaching people photography, other than influencing them a little. People have to be their own learners. They have to have a certain talent. - Imogen Cunningham

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