Official Site for the Imogen Cunningham Trust


Oral History





Solo Exhibition History

Group Exhibition History

About the Trust


1901 Acquires a 4-by-5-inch format camera with a rapid rectilinear lens and instructions from a mail-order correspondence school.

1903-1907 Takes first photographs on University of Washington campus, including a nude self-portrait out-of-doors.

1907 Writes thesis, "The Scientific Development of Photography." After seeing the photographs of Gertrude Käsebier in The Craftsman, she decides to pursue photography as a career.

1909 Awarded a fellowship by her university sorority, Pi Beta Phi, to study abroad. Travels to Dresden to study photographic chemistry with Robert Luther at the Technische Hochschule.
Takes a new 5x7 view camera and a small Kodak given to her by a friend at the Curtis Studio. Visits the International Photographic Exposition in Dresden.

1910 Publishes her research on substituting lead salts for platinum in photographic printing paper in Photographische Rundschau und Photographisches Centralblatt.

1913 Publishes "Photography as a Profession for Women" in Pi Beta Phi's journal, The Arrow. Corresponds with Alvin Langdon Coburn and Clarence White.

1914 One-person exhibitions at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences and at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon. Included in the International Exhibition of Pictorial Photography, New York. Illustrated review of her work published in Wilson's Photographic Magazine. Two nude male and female studies, Reflections and Eve Repentant, reproduced in the Christmas issue of The Town Crier.

1915 Exhibits at Fine Arts Society, Seattle, with Roi Partridge, John Butler, and Clare Shepard. Included in Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, Pittsburgh Salon of National Photographic Art, and Philadelphia Salon.

1916 Nude study of Roi Partridge, The Bather, published in the Christmas issue of The Town Crier, causes sensation.

1921 Resumes commercial portrait business. Photographs Adolph Bolm Ballet Intime. Creates first sharp-focus nature studies at Point Lobos and begins to photograph plant forms.

1922 Joins the Pictorial Photographers of America.

1923 Photographs light abstractions and begins series of magnolia studies. Also makes first double-exposure photograph around this time.

1927 Creates the negative image Snake

1931 Photographs Martha Graham in Santa Barbara and Frida Kahlo in San Francisco.Vanity Fair Magazine produces two of her Graham studies and hires her to photograph Hollywood personalities. One-person exhibition at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco. Also exhibits at Julien Levy Gallery, New York.

1932 Continues portrait and botanical photography with a growing interest in industrial still lifes and documentary photography.

1934 Photographs Alfred Stieglitz and begins documentary street photography. Works with Dorothea Lange and Paul Taylor on documentary project in Oroville, California.

1935 Photographs Gertrude Stein in San Francisco. Photographs for Cornish School catalogue in Seattle. Her Group f.64 statement published in Camera Craft.

1938 Begins photographing with 2 1/4-by-2 1/4-inch format cameras. 1940 Begins photographing in color for Sunset magazine around this time.

1946 Begins using a Rolleiflex camera. Meets Lisette Model.

1952 KRON-TV, San Francisco, produces documentary on Cunningham photographing blind children. 1955 Interviewed by Herm Lenz, along with Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, in U. S. Camera article, "Interview with Three Greats."

1960 International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, acquires large collection of photographs.

1964 Becomes honorary member of American Society of Magazine Photographers. Experiments with Polaroid film. The Library of Congress acquires a large collection of her photographs.

1967 Elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 1968 Receives honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts. Oakland, California.

1970 Receives a Guggenheim Fellowship to print early negatives. The Smithsonian Institution purchases a major collection of works.

1973 San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto proclaims November 12 "Imogen Cunningham Day." Declared as "Artist of the Year" by the San Francisco Art Commission. Receives University of Washington's Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus award. Donates selected papers to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

1975 Cunningham creates the Imogen Cunningham Trust to continue the preservation, exhibition, and promotion of her work. Receives honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Mills College. Oakland, California.

1976 On June 23rd, Imogen dies in San Francisco.