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My Memories of Imogen Cunningham

by Patty Shadden
(Hayward, California)

In the late 1960's and early 1970's, I had the pleasure of taking photographic classes from Judy Dater at U.C. Berkeley's extension in San Francisco. I did not realize at that time that I would soon have an opportunity to meet a legend.

Judy was a friend of Imogen Cunningham and it was through that friendship that Imogen agreed to come to speak to our class. The first time that I saw Imogen she was wearing a hat topped with some artificial fruit and flowers. Right then I thought that she looked a bit like the actress Carmen Miranda, but with white hair and sparkling eyes.

During those years, I was able to meet Imogen many times. As one of Dater's students, I became one of Imogen's young photo friends. Many times we went together to coffee, lunch, photo taking walks, and to visit her home in San Francisco. My memories of those times will make me smile for the rest of my life. Her stories of her life and the people that she had met were fascinating and usually funny. She was a dear person with an open personality, willing to share friendship, her keen "eye", her vast knowledge, and an eagerness to capture the beauty of life through the lens of a camera.

Even though I felt that my skills were very poor, she helped me to understand that there is an artist in all of us. She said that you do not need striking scenery to take great photographs. The simplest things around us can be beautiful in the right light and viewed with the love of all things. Those are my memories of Imogen Cunningham.

DPTips Central Reply:
Hello Patty,

And thank you for sharing your experience with us! It such a blessing to have had the chance to personally interact with Imogen Cunningham . We admit we felt slightly bit jealous here at DPTips-Central after reading your story ;o)

I am sure through this interaction your prospective on life and your photography has been richer for it...

All the best,

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