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The Life and Photography of Doris Ulmann 
 
  
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Product Details 
  
 
Hardcover 
328 pages 
University Press of Kentucky 
Published 2001 
  
From Booklist 
  
Photographer Ulmann (1882-1934) was highly respected during her all too brief career, earning the praise of such luminaries as Eleanor Roosevelt, but she soon sank from sight, due in part to the lack of a loved one committed to protecting her legacy. Jacobs' success in tracking down Ulmann's scattered letters and photographic archives, and in creating this incisive, well-illustrated biography, is therefore cause for celebration. He describes Ulmann's New York City German Jewish childhood as "highly affluent and sophisticated" and chronicles the evolution of her profoundly egalitarian values and strong aesthetic sense. She studied with Clarence White, married a successful doctor, and hit her stride instantly as a professional urban portraitist, but the marriage didn't last, and Ulmann unexpectedly discovered her true subject while traveling in the South. Independently wealthy but in chronically poor health, the frail but intrepid Ulmann photographed Appalachians and rural African Americans at work and at worship--people living traditional lives that were soon to be overrun by all that industrialization has wrought--with respect, insight, and grace. Not only did Ulmann capture now-vanished worlds, she transcended time and cultural divides with images that embody the beauty and mystery of the human experience. Donna Seaman 
  
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved  
  
 
  
Loyal Jones, former director of the Berea College Appalachian Center 
  
"Shows her deep attraction to the common people she photographed and how generous she was to them and others."  
  
 
  
Book Description 
  
Doris Ulmann (1882-1934), one of the foremost photographers of the early part of the twentieth century, had a deep and lasting love affair with the dignity and complexity of the human condition. Born into a New York Jewish family with a tradition of service, Ulmann sought to portray and document individuals from various groups that she feared would change or vanish altogether from American life.  
  
 
  
Inspired by the paintings of the European old masters and by the photographs of Hill and Adamson and Clarence White, Ulmann produced unique and substantial portrait studies of writers, educators, and society figures from her Park Avenue studio. Later, she traveled throughout the middle Atlantic, Appalachia, and the deep South. Using an old-fashioned view front camera, she sought to document the beauty, mystery, and diversity of the American people. Her subjects included Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, African American basket weavers from South Carolina, Shakers, and Kentucky mountain musicians.  
  
 
  
Ulmann's photographs, particularly her portraits, have been compared to Rembrandt's work, especially in their use of light. Even when she worked as a photographic documentarian in recording a young African American woman packing asparagus, Ulmann still approached her subject from the perspective of a painter. She strove to create dignified and respectful photographic renderings of people often dishonored or ignored. To this end, Ulmann created over 10,000 photographs and illustrated five books, including Roll, Jordan, Roll and Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands.  
  
 
  
In this first full biography of a fascinating, gifted artist, Philip Jacobs examines newly discovered letters, documents, and photographs-many published here for the first time-to bring his subject to life. He profiles Ulmann's intimate relationships with writer Julia Peterkin and folk song collector (and paramour) John Jacob Niles. Including a catalog of her photographs, this richly illustrated work secures Ulmann's rightful place in the history of American photography.
 
  
 
  

This photographer...

 
  
The Life and Photography of Doris Ulmann 
  
Philip Walker Jacobs
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Documenting a Myth: The South As Seen by Three Women Photographers, Chansonetta Stanley Emmons, Doris Ulmann, Bayard Wootten 1910-1940 
  
Naomi Rosenblum; & Susan Fillin-Yeh
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Doris Ulmann: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (In Focus) 
  
Doris Ulmann; & Judith Keller
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