Chronology

 1883          Born on April 12 in Portland, Oregon, to Isaac and Susan Cunningham.

ca. 1889     Moves to Seattle, Washington, with her family. Lives at 505 Ward Street until 1909.

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

1903-07     Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, majoring in chemistry. Pays her lab fees working as her major professor's secretary and making lantern slides for botany classes. 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. Graduates from University of Washington.

1907-09     Works in Seattle portrait studio of Edward S. Curtis. Learns to retouch negatives and print with platinum paper.

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 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. Visits Paris and London and meets Alvin Langdon Coburn. In New York, visits Alfred Stieglitz's gallery "291" and meets Gertrude Käsebier. Returns to Seattle and opens her portrait studio at 1117 Terry Avenue.

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.

1915          Marries Roi Partridge on February 11. Son, Gryffyd, born December 18. Two nude male and female studies, Reflections and Eve Repentant, reproduced in the Christmas issue of The Town Crier. 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          Her nude study of Roi Partridge, The Bather, published in the Christmas issue of The Town Crier, causes sensation.

1917          Moves to San Francisco. Twin sons, Rondal and Padraic, born September 4. Family resides at 42 Lower Terrace.

1918          Works in San Francisco studio of Francis Bruguière. Meets Maynard Dixon and Dorothea Lange.

1920          Moves to 4540 Harbor View Drive, Oakland when Roi begins teaching at Mills College. Meets Edward Weston and Johan Hagemeyer.

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.

ca. 1923     Makes first double-exposure photograph.

1927           Creates the negative image Snake.

1928          Included in Pictorial Photographic Society exhibition, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco.

1929          Exhibits at Berkeley Art Museum. Ten of her photographs included in Film und Foto exhibition, Stuttgart.

1931          Photographs Martha Graham in Santa Barbara and Frida Kahlo in San Francisco. Vanity Fair reproduces 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. Exhibits at Julien Levy Gallery, New York.

1932          Exhibits at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, with Group f.64, a group of friends who have been getting together to discuss photography. Also included in A Showing of Hands at the de Young. One-person exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum. Continues portrait and botanical photography with a growing interest in industrial still lifes and documentary photography.

1933          One-person exhibition at The Forum, Hotel Oakland, Oakland.

1934          Included in Leading American Photographers exhibition, Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland. Marriage to Roi Partridge ends in divorce in June. Travels to New York for Vanity Fair. Photographs Alfred Stieglitz and begins documentary street photography. Works with Dorothea Lange and Paul Taylor on documentary project in Oroville, California.

1935          One-person exhibition at the Dallas Art Museum. Photographs Gertrude Stein in San Francisco. Photographs for Cornish School catalogue in Seattle. Her Group f.64 statement published in Camera Craft.

1936          One-person exhibition at the E. B. Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, California.

1937          Beaumont Newhall includes her in Photography 1839 - 1937 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

1938          Begins photographing with 2 1/4-by-2 1/4-inch format cameras.

1940          Included in A Pageant of Photography, Golden Gate International Exposition, Treasure Island, San Francisco.

ca. 1940     Begins photographing in color for Sunset magazine.

1941          Included in Photographers Exhibition at Mills College, Oakland.

1943          Moves to 6454 Colby Street, Berkeley, and uses Roger Sturtevant's photographic studio on Montgomery Street in San Francisco.

1946          Begins using a Rolleiflex camera. Meets Lisette Model.

1947          Moves to 1331 Green Street, San Francisco, where she builds a darkroom and offers portrait sittings.

1947-50     Teaches at California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco.

1951          One-person exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Art.

1952          KRON-TV, San Francisco, produces documentary on Cunningham photographing blind children.

1953          One-person exhibition at Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland.

1954          Included in inaugural exhibition at Limelight Gallery, New York, and Perceptions at San Francisco Museum of Art.

1955          Included in Bay Area Photographers San Francisco Weekend exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Art. Interviewed by Herm Lenz, along with Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams, in U. S. Camera article, "Interview with Three Greats."

1956          One-person exhibitions at Cincinnati Art Museum and at Limelight Gallery, New York. Photographs extensively in New York.

1957          One-person exhibition at Oakland Art Museum.

1959          Included in Photography at Mid-Century, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; group exhibition at Oakland Public Museum; and The Photograph as Poetry, Pasadena Art Museum. Edna Tartaul Daniel interviews her for the Regional Oral History Project of the University of California, Berkeley.

1960          International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, acquires large collection of her photographs. Travels to Berlin, Munich, Paris, and London. Meets August Sander and Paul Strand.

1961          Travels to Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, and Paris. Meets Man Ray. One-person exhibition at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York.

1964          One-person exhibitions at Chicago Art Institute and San Francisco Museum of Art. Becomes honorary member of American Society of Magazine Photographers. Experiments with Polaroid film. Aperture devotes its winter issue to her work. The Library of Congress acquires a large collection of her photographs.

1965          One-person exhibition at Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Included in Six Photographers 1965 at the College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana.

1965-67     Teaches at San Francisco Art Institute.

1966          Featured in Fred Padula film, Two Photographers: Imogen Cunningham and Wynn Bullock.

1967          Elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. One-person exhibition at Stanford Art Gallery, Stanford University, California. Appears in James Broughton's film, The Bed.

1968          Receives honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland. One-person exhibitions at Museum of History and Technology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Carl Siembab Gallery, Boston; and California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland. Included in North Beach and the Haight-Ashbury exhibition, Focus Gallery, San Francisco. Teaches summer session at Humboldt State College.

1970          One-person exhibitions at M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, and Witkin Gallery, New York. Receives a Guggenheim Fellowship to print her early negatives. Imogen Cunningham: Photographer filmed by John Korty. University of Washington Press publishes Imogen Cunningham: Photographs. The Smithsonian Institution purchases a major collection of her work. San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto proclaims November 12 "Imogen Cunningham Day." Album magazine publishes a portfolio of her images.

1971          One-person exhibitions at Atholl McBean Gallery of the San Francisco Art Institute; 831 Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan; and Seattle Art Museum. Creative Camera publishes a portfolio of her images.

1972          Included in Group f.64 exhibition at University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. One-person exhibition at Ohio Silver Gallery, Los Angeles.

1973          Teaches at San Francisco Art Institute. San Francisco Art Commission declares her "Artist of the Year." One-person exhibitions at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Witkin Gallery, New York; and San Francisco Art Commission "Capricorn Asunder" Gallery. Included in International Exhibition of Photography, Arles, France. Images of Imogen exhibition at Focus Gallery, San Francisco. The film Never Give Up: Imogen Cunningham completed by Ann Hershey. Begins portraits for After Ninety, a book on old age. Receives University of Washington's Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus award. Donates selected papers to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

1974          Receives University of Washington's Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus award. University of Washington Press publishes Imogen! Cunningham donates selected papers to the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. One-person exhibitions at Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, and Oakland Museum. Profiled on KRON-TV "30 Minutes Assignment Four" program.

1975          Creates the Imogen Cunningham Trust on February 14 to continue the preservation, exhibition, and promotion of her work. Camera magazine issues "Homage to Imogen" in October. One-person exhibitions at John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco; Chevron Gallery, San Francisco; and Occidental Center Gallery, Los Angeles. Included in Women of Photography exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Art. Receives honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Mills College, Oakland.

1976          Appears on Tonight television show with Johnny Carson and is profiled in CBS documentary. One-person exhibitions at Stanford Art Gallery, Stanford University; Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco; and Grapestake Gallery, San Francisco. Photographes the last 12 people for her book After Ninety (published in 1977 by the University of Washington Press). Dies on June 23 in San Francisco.