(1905 - 2006)
Born in Berlin and studied at the Berlin Academy of Art. In 1927 she moved to New York to pursue a photographic career.
After working as a darkroom assistant for the New York magazine, The Delineator, she left to take up commercial portrait photography.
In 1935 she met Edward Weston, which had a profound effect on her. It transformed her ideas on creative photography and the artistry involved.
“I was unprepared for the experience of seeing his pictures for the first time. It was overwhelming. It was lightning in the darkness...” - Ruth Bernhard.
The realisation that photography could be art opened up her creative side. She moved to Carmel on the West Coast to work with him.
While making a living as a commercial photographer, Ruth devoted time and energy to her personal projects, most notably; her female art nudes. Her visions of the female form are classical in origin and sensual in form. She reduced the female nude to pure essence that showed the naked woman in a positive light to counteract possible negative male viewpoints. Her female art nudes are some of the most highly regarded, and created several of the most iconic images of the female form, most notably ‘In the Box, Horizontal’ (1962).
“My nudes are ideals of my own feelings about being a woman, not an expression of erotic power, or a love object” - Ruth Bernhard.
In 1986 she published ‘The Eternal Body: a collection of fifty female nudes’. This book brought together images that had been created since the 1930’s. This represented her life long study of the female art nude in its many forms. The book was reprinted in 2011.
“After all these years, it is still the quality, the mood, the radiance of light which motivates me to work passionately, almost like an obsession” - Ruth Bernhard.
For further information, click on the following link: Ruth Bernhard.
Knowledge is never a waste.
Online: April 2014 (updated 2017)