Doris Humphrey, Shakers, 1938
by Barbara Morgan
Barbara Morgan grew up in Southern California, and studied painting and printmaking at the University of California, Los Angeles. She married Willard Morgan, a photographer and publisher, in 1925.
Not long after their marriage, Morgan took up photography for herself, finding a new artistic outlet. Morgan worked in portraiture, still-lifes, photomontage, light drawings and dance photography, and wrote several essays in the 1930s championing experimental photography. (At left: Barbara Morgan, Samahdi, 1940.)
One of her most extensive projects involved dance photography, creating documents and explanations of a new art form. Morgan, herself a true Modernist, was able to capture the true character of modern dance. Throughout her career she would photograph 32 dancer / choreographers, including Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, Jose Limon, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman and others. Some of Morgan's best known works were taken of the Martha Graham Dance Company, which commissioned her in 1936.
Over the People 1938-39