Group F.64

Group F.64

Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography

Book - 2014
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Group f .64 is perhaps the most famous movement in the history of photography, counting among its members Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Willard Van Dyke, and Edward Weston. Revolutionary in their day, Group f .64 was one of the first modern art movements equally defined by women. From the San Francisco Bay Area, its influence extended internationally, contributing significantly to the recognition of photography as a fine art.

The group-first identified as such in a 1932 exhibition-was comprised of strongly individualist artists, brought together by a common philosophy, and held together in a tangle of dynamic relationships. They shared a conviction that photography must emphasize its unique capabilities-those that distinguished it from other arts-in order to establish the medium's identity. Their name, f .64, they took from a very small lens aperture used with their large format cameras, a pinprick that allowed them to capture the greatest possible depth of field in their lustrous, sharply detailed prints. In today's digital world, these "straight" photography champions are increasingly revered.

Mary Alinder is uniquely positioned to write this first group biography. A former assistant to Ansel Adams, she knew most of the artists featured. Just as importantly, she understands the art. Featuring fifty photographs by and of its members, Group f.64 details a transformative period in art with narrative flair.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, 2014
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781620405550
Characteristics: xvi, 399 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm


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IndyPL_MikeW Apr 07, 2019

Written by Ansel Adams' Executive Assistant and Editor of his acclaimed Autobiography, and author of Ansel Adams A Biography, Mary Street Alinder knew the artists of Group f.64 as well as anyone of her generation could. After completing her work as Adams' biographer she turned her skills and attention toward the broader group of artists who championed photography as an art form in the early decades of the 20th Century. This group, some of whom are easily recognized names like Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, and Edward Weston, while others such as Sonya Noskowiak and Henry Swift are far less well known. This book seeks to rectify that omission in the history of photography and shed light on all of the members of Group f.64 whom many would credit with shepherding the emergence of "pure" photography as a modern art form entirely separate from painting and other graphic arts.

Dec 01, 2015

As a practicing film photographer, I loved this book!

May 06, 2015

This isn't a perfect book, but it seems to be the only one available on this important and intriguing subject. There are so many participants that the narrative often gets diffuse or devolves into a list of which photographers participated in which exhibitions. And of course there aren't nearly enough images reproduced with the text. But she gives a strong idea of the personalities of f.64's main protagonists - I love the image of Imogen Cunningham chewing out Edward Weston for his serial infidelities. And I enjoyed being introduced to photographers like Consuelo Kanaga and Alma Lavenson who were unfamiliar to me.

mikelindq Feb 10, 2015

A good introductory overview for those unfamiliar with these photographers or their work, this book is minutely researched yet far from scholarly. The author's chatty tone (the photographers are consistently referred to by their first names) seems to diminish the narrative; at times it seems like a longish Reader's Digest piece. The details of the actual formation of the group f.64 are quite interesting, but otherwise there's little new if the reader is even moderately familiar with the lives and output of these artists and the social, artistic, and political currents of the era.


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