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Barbara Morgan (1900-1992)

Pre-visualizing is the first essential of dance photography. The ecstatic gesture happens swiftly and is gone; unless the photographer previsions in order to fuse dance action, light and space simultaneously, there can be no significant dance picture.
-Barbara Morgan

Barbara Brooks Morgan, born in 1900, trained as a painter at the University of California in Los Angeles. Upon seeing an exhibit by Edward Weston, she became attracted to photography as an art form. Though familiar with photography, Morgan never realized that photographs could move beyond realistic records to “essential symbols”. In 1930, Morgan moved from California to New York where she experimented with photomontage and other photographic forms. Earning a reputation as both an Expressionist and a Modernist, most of Morgan’s work involves city themes, dance, children, photomontage, or light drawings. She spent the next five years in the studio photographing Martha Graham's dance company. Morgan's book of those images received the American Institute of Graphic Arts Trade Book Clinic Award. Photographing her subjects in only black and white, many of her best known images are portraits of dancers, children, and montages. Among the dancers she has photographed are Jose Limon, Erick Hawkins, Anna Sokolow and Merce Cunningham.

References:

Photography Temple

Haggerty Museum of Art


A Gallery For Fine Photography

Recollections, Ten Women of Photography, by Margaretta K. Mitchell (180)


     
     

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