Minor White Essay, Research Paper
Minor White was one of the most influential photographers since WWII (Encarta). Throughout his 68 years he taught thousands about the intricacies of photography, none more important then himself.
White was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 9th, 1908. He lived there until he attended college in New York some years later. It was in New York and later Portland, Oregon that White taught himself about photography and its art representations. He went on to work with famous photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Nancy Newhall and to teach at prestigious universities.
Minor combined his photographs with his poetry frequently to offer explanations of his work. His work has been displayed in over 34 exhibitions with at least 7 coming after his death in Boston in 1976.
Teaching at 5 different institutions including MIT and RIT as well as being editor of 3 renowned magazines gives Mr. White enough evidence as to the credibility of his work. His influence has not stopped because of his death but lives on in his books, either written by himself or written about him.
Minor White’s style was to use realistic natural images in an abstract way as to make the viewer think about and try to “read” the photograph. Often, Minor compared his work to religious or spiritual events that have happened throughout history. Sometimes he would express his thoughts in his poetry and publish the poem along with the photograph and display them together.
Being proclaimed as one of the most creative photographers of our time would not be far off. Every photograph he took was supposed to inspire thought. He wanting for this was inspired by George Guerdjiff, who wanted to energize the 3 centers of being; intellectual, emotional, and spiritual; in every picture. Guerdjiff was in a time period before White but this makes sense as Guerdjiff’s era was beginning as White was learning the art of photography.
The focus of most of White’s work is on a spiritual and moral level. He often refers to religious events and events in his life when describing his work. A lot of his work is based upon symbols White would pick out in his own work. Since these symbols were in Whites own mind relating to his own experiences, it was never questioned as to the validity of his symbols, it was just accepted by his pupils. It also left the pupil and viewer to draw their own conclusions and pick out their own symbols.
Personally, I find his work to be very interesting. His photographs and sequences of photographs offer no answer as to the meaning and leaves me thinking insatiably for an answer. Anything that can keep my interest and make me think, is something I like. I also like how he just used simple natural subjects. Some examples are patterns of snowfall, a miner digging, and even a rock formation on a beach. It only added to my quest for an answer.
His work is currently shown through every book and article written by or about him. There are literally hundreds of books containing his photographs and all are good examples of what Minor White wanted to show his audience.
Throughout Minor’s life, he worked to shoe people how to create a full and pure photograph. Through his articles, his classes, and workshops he influenced many to create the same. For the rest of civilization, his creativeness will be looked up to and expanded upon. There is only one word to describe Minor White, creative.