Barbara Morgan

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Barbara Morgan is known for her innovative and influential work in dance photography, which sought to capture the fluid, dynamic movements of dancers in performance. Morgan was a member of the modern dance community in New York City, and her photographs often incorporated elements of Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism. She experimented with multiple exposures, photomontage and other techniques to create abstract, expressive images that explored themes such as nature, the human form, and the passage of time.

Barbara Morgan Prints

Artist Biography

Barbara Morgan (1900-1992) was born in Buffalo, Kansas in 1900 and grew up in California. She initially studied painting at the University of California, Los Angeles, but became interested in photography while studying with the photographer Edward Weston in the 1920s.

In the following decade, Morgan began photographing modern dancers such as Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, and Charles Weidman, using innovative techniques such as double and long exposures to capture the movement and energy of their performances. Her photographs were noted for their ability to capture the emotion and expressiveness of the dancers, and they played a major role in the popularisation of modern dance as an art form.

She was a co-founder of the photography magazine Aperture, along with Ansel Adams, Beaumont Newhall, Dorothea Lange, and others. Her photographs have been exhibited widely, including in Edward Steichen’s important exhibition the Family of Man and two solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Today her archive can be found at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. In addition to her work as a photographer, Morgan was also a teacher and a writer. She taught photography at various institutions, including the New School for Social Research in New York, and she wrote several books on photography and the creative process.

© Estate of Barbara Morgan, Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery


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