Image: 20.3 x 15.3 cm (8 x 6 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1987.129
Ulmann had the luxury of photographing for personal pleasure rather than for the need to earn money, and thus could choose her own subjects. She focused on communities where modern, industrialized life had not yet left its mark. In the 1920s and 1930s, she photographed Mennonite and Shaker communities in the Northeast, rural Appalachian populations, and African Americans living in the South Carolina coastal plain. Trained as a fine art photographer in the Pictorialist style, she retained its affection for soft focus and platinum prints, while most of her colleagues shifted to modernism’s preference for sharp focus and gelatin silver prints.
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