Gelatin silver print
9.4 x 7 cm (3 11/16 x 2 13/16 inches)
Museum purchase with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts 73.172
Abstraction was a major path for American artists working in the 1920s, as they followed the examples of avant-garde European art that were increasingly visible in the United States. Among painters and photographers there was a strong emphasis on reducing compositions to simplified, elemental forms. During this period, Cunningham embraced a modernist approach to photography. She explored patterns of light and shadow through sharp-focused, close-up views of plants and figures. This celebrated image, an intricate composition of triangles, was the result of her concentration on pose, framing, and lighting.