Imogen Cunningham educated herself about plants and flowers after she began to photograph cacti and other succulents in her backyard in Oakland, California.
“Her Magnolia Blossom is great, but she made a hundred magnolias—literally 100 negatives of magnolias—that she threw away,” says her son Rondal Partridge. “When we were kids we used to throw her rejected negatives into the fireplace—the nitrates would explode—hundreds, thousands. God, how I wish we hadn’t.
“For a long time I did not think my mother was a very good photographer. She was just a photographer. She did portraits and kids, She assumed her job every day was to make a photograph, but she photographed for the pure joy. She considered it not her work—it was her occupation to make people see and be happy.”
John Loengard, Celebrating the Negative is available to museums as a touring exhibition from Curatorial Assistance.
Celebrating the Negative by John Loengard
Release in 1994. Published by Arcade Publishing