Imogen CUNNINGHAM, Magnolia Blossom Enlarge 1 /1


United States of America 1883 – 1976

Magnolia Blossom 1925 Creation Notes: printed 1976
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: printed image 17.1 h x 34.6 w cm mount 38.2 h x 50.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1978
Accession No: NGA 78.163

During the 1920s, raising three young sons, Cunningham began to focus on her immediate surroundings. This restricted environment encouraged Cunningham to develop a new way of working, as she began to place her camera closer to the subject: to zebras on a trip to the zoo, to snakes brought to her by her sons, and perhaps most famously to the magnolia blossoms and calla lilies she grew in her garden. Observing what she termed the ‘paradox of expansion via reduction’, the intensity and focus attendant to this way of seeing flooded her work with sensuality and reductive power.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra