Group f.64: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography.
Alinder, Mary Street (Author)
Nov 2014. 400 p. Bloomsbury, hardcover, $35. (9781620405550). 770.92.
The zealot California photographers who fought the good fight in the depths of the Great Depression, no less, to establish photography as an art form—including such masters as Ansel Adams, Imogen
Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, and Edward Weston, cleverly called themselves Group f.64. Because f.64, an extremely small lens aperture, or f-stop, produces a “sharply focused, finely detailed” image, the group’s name boldly proclaimed their avid opposition to the then prevailing style of “pictorialism,” in which soft focus was used to imitate the allegedly finer art of painting. These brash Westerners were also challenging the reign of New Yorker Alfred Stieglitz over the nascent art of photography.Alinder pulls together a treasury of assiduously assembled facts and her own personal memories, especially of Adams, for whom she worked as chief assistant, later becoming his biographer. Alinder is particularly revelatory in her coverage of tough and wily Cunningham, the lesser-known but no less intriguing trailblazers Willard Van Dyke, Sonya Noskowiak, and Consuelo Kanaga, and the bold museum directors and collectors who supported the group. As she chronicles the photographers’ friendships, tempestuous love lives, epic parties, scrambles to survive, passionate manifestos, heated public debates, social and environmental concerns, and hard-won exhibitions, Alinder achieves an f.64 degree of crisp and commanding detail in this landmark group portrait of the visionary photographers who succeeded in “forever changing our way of seeing.”
— Donna Seaman