Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Serenity –‘Young Girl in Profile’ (From Tennessee Series), 1948 –Photographed by Consuelo Kanaga

My little man and I went to Tate Modern the other day –and as you do, ended a fabulous day in their yummy bookstore –and bought the above postcard. I love this photo [it’s sitting on my desk in one of those funky clips that hold post-it notes], –it’s soo beautiful and serene! I googled the details on the back of the postcard and found the following insightful info about the photographer behind it, Consuelo Kanaga -on the NYTimes website:

A Pioneer Of Realism
Consuelo Kanaga (1894-1978) was one of America's most important photographers. Yet largely because she disdained wealth, fame and self-promotion, her transcendent images have never received the acclaim they deserve.
Born in Astoria, Ore., Kanaga was hired in 1915 as a reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle but quickly became more interested in the work of the paper's photographers. She took a job in the darkroom and was eventually named a staff photographer.

Inspired by the images in Alfred Stieglitz's magazine, Camera Work, she left the newspaper and moved to New York in 1922. She soon became closely associated with such photographers as Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange and Louise Dahl. In 1932, Miss Kanaga was represented in the landmark "f.64" exhibition in San Francisco, the first major photography show that stressed realism over romanticism.

Her talent was rooted in an almost mystical belief that photography was a sacred trust -- she felt obligated to capture the true essence of her subject. Her drive to fulfill this trust helped Kanaga, who was white, to understand the lives of blacks and to produce some of the most moving works ever done in African-American portraiture. She was equally talented in still-life and landscape photography, and her feeling for urban architecture was stimulated by her involvement with the socially committed New York Photo League during the 1930's.

She continued to work into her 70's, despite suffering from emphysema and cancer, which were probably caused by the chemicals used in creating her prints. Her body of work, though comparatively small, is consistently exceptional. Consuelo Kanaga died virtually unknown in 1978, but her talent endures. -- BARBARA HEAD MILLSTEIN, associate curator of painting and sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum.

Photos: The Bowery, New York, 1935. Girl with double-heart ring, Tennessee, 1948. Child on tenement fire escape, New York, mid-1930's. Mother with children, New York, 1922-24. Young girl in profile, Tennessee, 1948. Man with rooster, New York, mid-1930's.

***P.s you can visit the following link to see more of Consuelo Kanaga’s work:

1 comment:

  1. Kanaga was a wonderful artist. There is no exhibition planned at the Brooklyn Museum, however. Don't know where that info came from.