Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Minor White studied/assisted under other major mid-century photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams. His own distinctive style did not develop until after 1945, when he moved to New York after serving in military intelligence, and took a course at Columbia University. In New York, he became involved with a circle of influential photographers; hearing Stieglitz's theory of equivalents, from the master himself, was crucial to the direction of White's mature post-war work.
White co-founded the influential magazine Aperture with fellow photographers Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, and Barbara Morgan; writer/curator Nancy Newhall and her husband, historian Beaumont Newhall . White edited the magazine until 1975.
White was bisexual and felt tormented by his then socially-unacceptable feelings for young men. Much of this erotic turmoil expressed itself in his post-war subject matter and style, and in his spiritual search for peace and simplicity. His first major exhibition was in 1948 at the San Francisco Museum of Art .
For four years he worked as a Curator at George Eastman House and also edited their magazine Image. He taught at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 1956 to 1964. White spent the last ten years of his life teaching at MIT where, among others, he taught Raymond Moore. In 1970 he was given a Guggenheim Fellowship.
On his death White was hailed as one of America's greatest photographers. But, as academic and curatorial tastes changed in the 1980s & 90s, his poetic style of work went out of fashion. If he is remembered at all today, it is mainly for his ideas about the spiritual in photography.
- Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations: Photographs and Writings 1938-1968 (Aperture monograph, 1969)
- Rites & Passages (Aperture monograph, 1978)
- Minor White; The Eye That Shapes (1989) (295 photos & biography. For the first time, his male nudes are made public)
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