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Constructing Visibility: Esther Born’s Photography beyond the Archives

Derrick R. Cartwright ; Odjel za umjetnost, arhitekturu i povijest umjetnosti, Sveučilište u San Diegu, Kalifornija, SAD

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 342 Kb

str. 96-105

preuzimanja: 94



Esther Baum Born was an American photographer who worked in both the United States and Mexico. Beginning in the 1920s, she exhibited her work regularly in New York galleries and saw her photographs published in a broad spectrum of architectural journals. Born’s book, The New Architecture in Mexico (1937), stands as an undisputed monument to her creative insights and a respected source for cutting-edge ideas about modern building. Less well known to the scholarly community are the sensitive portraits that Born took of her own artistic milieu: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Frank Lloyd Wright, to name only a few, appeared before her camera. The author argues that these images represent an area for future research. In any event, Born’s creative flourishing was largely eclipsed once she joined the highly successful architectural practice of her husband, Ernest Born. She gave up photography entirely in the 1940s to support his work.
The legacy of both Borns remains fairly well-known to students of Bay Area architecture, who have admired their contributions to public transportation (designing train stations), urban renewal (developing master planning documents), and book design (such as the Plan of St. Gall, co-authored with art historian, Walter Horn). Much of the couple’s joint career is documented in established archives throughout the United States and Canada, although it needs to be said that Ernest Born is typically given top billing for the work. Esther Born’s early efforts as a photographer sit in these archives, too. A full assessment of her legacy as a photographer waits to be written. This paper attempts to give greater visibility to her ambitions as well as to the lasting consequence of her work’s placement within the many archival situations where it can be found today.

Ključne riječi

visual artists’ estates; art collections’ archives; preand post-acquisition biography; photographic objects; museum photography; non-collection photography

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