37¢ Masters of American Photography
Issue Date: June 13, 2002
City: San Diego, CA
Printed By: American Packaging Corporation for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.5 x 10.75
The Masters of American Photography pane marks the end of the Classic Collection Series that began in 1994 with the Legends of the West. Works by twenty renowned American photographers are displayed on this pane in chronological order. The selvage shows a photo taken by William Henry Jackson or by one of his assistants. These artists combined daring, craftsmanship, and creativity to enlarge our view of America and the American people.
Albert Sands Southworth (1811-94) and Josiah Johnson Hawes (1808-1901) were daguerreotypists. (A daguerreotype records images on a metal surface.) Their mirror-like pictures had beautiful effects of light, shade, and depth. In 1999, 240 of their daguerreotypes sold at auction for a total of more than three million dollars.
Timothy O’Sullivan (1840-82) was known for his documentary Civil War pictures and western landscapes. O’Sullivan converted a war ambulance into a traveling darkroom to develop his exposed negatives.
Carleton Watkins (1829-1916) was famous for panoramic Western landscapes of superb quality. His mammoth camera made 18- by 22-inch negatives. His photographs helped persuade Abraham Lincoln to declare Yosemite a national preserve in 1864.
Gertrude Käsebier (1852-1934) was a founder of the Photo-Secession movement. Käsebier worked in the soft-focus, pictorialist style characteristic of that movement. Her best-known pictures are of mothers and children.
Lewis Hine (1874-1940) took photographs of immigrants and labor conditions that inspired stricter child labor laws and set the standard for social documentary photography.
Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882-1966) lived and worked in England most of his life. His soft-focus views of London and New York established him as the finest photographer of urban landscapes of his time.
Edward Steichen (1879-1973) was chief photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines from 1923 to 1938. At one point, he was the highest-paid photographer in the world.
Albert Stieglitz (1864-1946) started the Photo-Secession group of soft-focus pictorialist photographers, but later turned to sharp-focus, “straight” photography. His work and the work of artists he exhibited in his galleries had a strong effect on 20th-century American art and culture.
Man Ray (1890-1976) used photography as an artistic medium. He made “cameraless” prints, called “Rayographs,” placing objects directly on photographic paper and exposing them to light.
Edward Weston (1886-1958) favored the sharp-focused realism of “straight” photography to capture sculptural forms found in nature. His stark, brilliantly printed images are considered among the finest of 20th century photography.
James VanDerZee (1886-1983) took thousands of photos of ordinary people and community groups, recording the emerging Harlem middle class.
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) was best known for her compelling pictures of victims of the Great Depression. Her images of dislocated farm families in California moved the state to provide relief for the migrants.
Known for his 1930s pictures of sharecroppers, Walker Evans (1903-75) documented the poverty and desolation of Southern rural life.
W. Eugene Smith (1918-78) photographed for magazines in the Pacific theater of World War II. True to his intention, Smith’s images stand as a powerful visual indictment against war.
Paul Strand (1890-1976) learned photography from Lewis Hine. He influenced a generation of photographers to practice realistic, “straight” photography.
Ansel Adams (1902-84) championed the U.S. conservation movement. He received the 1980 Presidential Medal of Freedom for efforts “to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both on film and on earth.”
Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) joined with Edward Weston and others to form a group called “f/64” (f/64 is the camera lens setting which produces the sharpest image). Group f/64 introduced a style of highly focused photography.
In a career that lasted over 73 years, Andre Kertész (1894-1985) pioneered in small-format photography and demonstrated the artistic possibilities of the hand-held camera.
Garry Winogrand (1928-84) used a wide-angle lens on a small-format, 35mm camera, which allowed him to move about freely. He focused on odd combinations of people and objects and often tilted the frame.
Minor White (1908-76) set out to capture and convey his deep, personal feelings on film. His photography was part of a lifelong spiritual journey. He is recognized as a major figure in the expressive movement of art photography.