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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Sonya Noskowiak

Dates:  1900 (incorrectly as 1905 Getty ULAN) - 1975
Born:  Germany, Leipzig
Active:  US
 
  
Member of the F64 group.

Preparing biographies

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Supplemental information

 

Sonya Noskowiak
German-born American, 1900-1975

Sonya Noskowiak began a career in photography in 1929 working first in the Los Angeles studio of Johan Hagemeyer and then for Edward Weston. She learned to print from Weston and printed his commercial work for him and began to develop her own clientele for portraiture.
 
Weston was a leader in breaking away from the artistic style of softly focused pictorial photography that had held sway since 1900. Weston, along with Noskowiak, Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham used large format cameras that were stopped down to the smallest aperture of f-64 to give the sharpest focus and the most precise detail. Their photographs were black and white and high contrast compared to the softly printed photographs made by the pictorialist. Their compositions were modern and often used abstractions of nature or architecture. Weston's influence on Noskowiak is clear, but she quickly found her own way in photography and made many photographs that rival the master's.
 
Noskowiak lived and worked with Weston from 1929 through 1934 and exhibited her photographs at the first exhibition of Group f-64 at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in 1933. In the following years she had several one woman shows at the Ansel Adams Gallery, Denny-Watrous Gallery in Carmel and Willard Van Dyke's 683 Gallery in Carmel. She also exhibited in a number of group exhibitions in the Bay area where she frequently won the praise of the San Francisco Chronicle's critic, Alfred Frankenstein. By 1935 she had established her own studio in San Francisco where she worked until 1965. A large archive of her work is held at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. In 1992 The Oakland Museum published a book entitled, Seeing Straight Group f.64 which gives more information about Noskowiak and others in the group.
 
[Contributed by Lee Gallery]  
  
 

Internet biographies

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Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA has a biography on this photographer. [Scroll down the page on this website as the biography may not be immediately visible.]Show on this siteGo to website
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
  
• Heyman, Theres Thau 1992 Seeing Straight: Group f.64 (California: The Oakland Museum) p.153 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Lahs-Gonzales, Olivia & Lippard, Lucy 1997 Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century. Selections from the Helen Kornblum Collection (Saint Louis Art Museum, D.A.P.) [Sonya Noskowiak is included in this overview of women photographers.] 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
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