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Jeff Wall (b. 1946). Canadian artist, who in the 1970s, began to take staged scenes of everyday life, often in large scale prints that were modeled on famous images in art history. Wall’s staged tableaux appear literal, but feature some excess or improbability that undermines the realism of the scene and pushes it into theatricality. Since the 1990s he has used digital technology to create blended photo-montages that juxtapose images at different scales.

Andy Warhol (1928–1987). As one of the leading cultural innovators of the late twentieth century, Warhol worked in a variety of media—from painting and silk screen to sculpture and cinema. Found photographs—from news media or celebrity portraits—were often the foundation of his work. As photographer, Warhol most notably took Polaroid images that presented the facades of his personality—vapidity, innocence, defiance, and morbidity.

Augustus Washington (1820/21–1875). Early African American photographer, born in Trenton, NJ, Washington left Dartmouth University in debt and opened a Daguerreotype studio in Hartford, CT. His portrait of John Brown, revolutionary abolitionist (1847), raising hand, is his most celebrated work. Washington settled in Liberia in 1852.

Carleton Watkins (1829–1916). Operated a San Francisco studio in the 1860s and 1870s. Watkins produced some of the earliest photographs of Yosemite in large format (“mammoth” size). He also photographed the construction of the Central Pacific railroad line.

Weegee (b. Arthur Fellig, 1899–1968). Born in Ukraine, Fellig emigrated to the United States in 1909. He worked for Acme Newspictures and in 1935, he began his career as a news photographer specializing in scenes of urban violence, fires, accidents, and anything of human interest. Fellig created his professional identity as Weegee, the quintessential photojournalist, master of the hard-boiled yet emotionally wrought sensationalism so popular in tabloid journalism of the 1930s and 1940s.

Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953). Weems came into photography from a background in modern dance, music, and fine arts. Her work became known in the 1980s and used staged scenes to depict black family life with an edge of humor and irony that played off of racial stereotypes. Her later work has explored African American culture through memory, historical narrative, and storytelling. A major retrospective of Weems was held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2014).

Edward Weston (1886–1958). Fascinated by photography at an early age, Weston left Chicago and moved to California, set up a studio, and achieved success as portrait artist in soft-focus Pictorialist mode. Seeing the new work by Stieglitz, he traveled East, abandoned Pictorialism for hard-focus, won Stieglitz’s approval, and moved to Mexico. He lived in Mexico from 1923 to 1927, amidst the ferment of the political and cultural avant-garde. Weston returned to California (Carmel) in 1927. Taken with a large view camera, his portraits, nudes, seascapes, and still-lives have a sensuous quality and formal elegance, together with extreme rendering of surface texture.

Clarence White (1871–1925). Coming from Ohio, White became intrigued by photography at the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition, becoming an early master of Pictorialist photography and creating luminous prints with subjects drawn from family life, the parlor, small town life, and gentle pastoral scenes. He moved to New York in 1906 and joined the circle around Alfred Stieglitz. He came to reject Stieglitz’s narrower view of aesthetic photography and broke with Stieglitz in 1912. He eventually opened a photography school in 1914, the first such school in the United States, alumni include Paul Outerbridge and Anton Bruehl. White also attracted and encouraged a great many women photographers, including Doris Ullman and Margaret Bourke-White. White was famously undogmatic, encouraging a wide range of practice among his photographers, including commercial photography and photojournalism. In 1916, White founded, along with Gertrude Käsebier and Karl Struss, the Pictorial Photographers of America, which advocated a range of practices through exhibitions, journals, and educational programs.

Minor White (1908–1976). Born in Minnesota and aspiring to poetry as an English major at the University of Minnesota, White moved to Portland, Oregon, where he took up photography. He later studied with art historian Meyer Schapiro at Columbia University. Stieglitz’s idea of “equivalents” influenced him to see photographs as visible embodiments of emotional states, and White began photographing landscapes, clouds, trees, water, rocks, peeling walls, fog, and frost with an intense attention to texture, looking for the mystic meaning of things and sometimes using infrared film to reach for an even grander sense of mystery. White was a master of black-and-white printing, and he cofounded Aperture magazine in 1952, along with Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and historians Beaumont Newhall and Nancy Newhall.

Garry Winogrand (1928–1984). Growing up in the Bronx, Winogrand studied painting and photography in New York and began working as a commercial photographer in the 1950s. During the 1960s, he was in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the George Eastman House in Rochester. Winogrand shot everything in the social landscape, from city streets to sporting events to agricultural fairs, catching movement and people in action in a style that seemed spontaneous. He used a wide-angle lens that allowed him to load the frame with information and distraction, achieving a balance between chaos and order that gave his work the distinctive feel of the 1960s and 1970s. Winogrand may have shot more pictures than any other photographer in the predigital age—about 300, 000 frames.

Joel-Peter Witkin (b. 1939). Born in Brooklyn, Witkin photographed the Vietnam War in the early 1960s and studied sculpture and fine arts at Cooper Union, Columbia University, and the University of New Mexico. Based in Albuquerque, Witkin developed a style that was inspired by Daguerreotype and ambrotypes, with his subjects typically centered, and the print given an antique finish. His large-scale images feature human deformity, corpses, contortion, prosthetic devices, body parts, and hermaphrodite nude portraits. He uses a variety of props that include torture instruments, medical implements, religious paraphernalia, and sadomasochistic accoutrements. Claiming a religious motivation, Witkin’s shocking photographs attempt to uncover fears and desires. His work is both celebrated and contemned, repelling many and attracting many.

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