Quote of the Week by Gertrude Käsebier


Photograph/Adolf de Meyer

“The key to artistic photography is to work out your own thoughts, by yourselves. Imitation leads to certain disaster.” —Gertrude Käsebier (1852–1934)

As one of the most prominent American photographers of her day, Gertrude Käsebier played an important role in the acceptance of photography as fine art. Born in Fort Des Moines, Iowa, Gertrude Käsebier married and brought up three children before she devoted herself to art. In 1897, following several apprenticeships with a chemist and a portrait photographer, she opened her own studio, and also published her work in journals such as Camera Notes, The Craftsman, and The Photographic Times. Käsebier work also appeared in the first two issues of Stieglitz’s Camera Work. Until her retirement in 1927, she continued to support the Pictorialist movement, participating in exhibitions worldwide, as well as co-founded the Pictorial Photographers of America with Clarence H. White and Alvin Langdon Coburn. Furthermore, her portrayal of motherhood and related themes proved photography’s capacity for telling moving narratives, which also supported its artistic ambition. Her leadership in the Women’s Federation of the Professional Photographers Association of America and other organisations allowed her to disseminate such ideas to a wider audience.