Gertrude Käsebier

"My children and their children have been my closest thought, but from the first days of dawning individuality, I have longed unceasingly to make pictures of make likenesses that are biographies, to bring out in each photograph the essential personality." Gertrude Käsebier

Käsebier's career in art followed from her first career as a mother. After studying painting at Pratt Institute and opening a portrait studio in New York in 1897, she switched to photography, displaying the influence of her painting training in her Pictorialist style. Her family and friends posed for her most celebrated series of photographs on the subject of motherhood.

Käsebier exhibited her photographs in the Philadelphia Photographic Society exhibitions, and Alfred Stieglitz reproduced five of her images in his journa lCamera Notes in 1899. The following year, along with Anne Brigman, Käsebier was one of the first two women to be elected to the British Linked Ring; two years later she became a founding member of Stieglitz's Photo-Secession group. Stieglitz continued to champion her by devoting the first issue of his second journal, Camera Work, to her images. Käsebier broke with Stieglitz and the Photo-Secession in 1912 but continued to photograph until she closed her studio in 1929.

American photography has many fathers, like Mathew Brady and Alfred Stieglitz, but there was just one woman who was its mother, Gertrude Käsebier. Not only was she one of the first American women to have a successful career as a photographer, but she was one of the first photographers anywhere to focus on the family.
...In 1900, Käsebier was called by Steiglitz “the foremost professional photographer in the United States.” Her work inspired other women like Imogen Cunningham and Laura Gilpin to become photographers, and she helped guide photography...
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First Collected by

Jaak Mortelmans


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