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This trip was not only my first visit to the Museum of Modern Art but also my first true introduction to photography.  During the gallery talk, I had realized I missed the biggest photograph of the entire museum: the photo of a collection of still shots taken by Yoko Ono of people’s behinds. I also began to understand that photography can have many uses of which I was previously unaware.

The first photograph that gained my attention was “Leaf Pattern” by Imogen Cunningham, taken in 1928. The subject of the photo is very simple: a leaf. However, the way in which the leaf was photographed made me appreciative of such a simple item. The leaf is made intricate through the use of lighting and camera angle. At first glance, my eyes began to wonder. The shadow of the leaf resembled another leaf and so my eyes were trying to distinguish the real from the imaginary. As I kept looking, however, the photo gained more unity because everything seemed to eventually connect to the center of the leaf. The use of shadows in this photograph also made the shape of the leaf more defined. The edges were made distinct and their shape was emphasized.

After having gone to the museum I went home and looked up Imogen Cunningham online. I browsed through some of her other photographs and read an excerpt about her life. I found many other photos that caught my attention. The main subjects of her work include botanicals, nudes and industry. After our classroom discussion of photography I became even more intrigued by her work, especially after Darien’s passionate commentary about another photograph done by Imogen Cunningham. Professor Jablonka ended the class with several photographs of different flowers, which to me were very reminiscent of the work of Imogen Cunningham. This got me thinking that my final project will either focus on just Imogen Cunningham or botanical photographs in general.

As I continued my walk through the museum, I found another photograph whose beauty drew me in. This is a photograph by Martha Graham entitled “Letter to the World.” Again, there are many aspects of this photo that I began to appreciate. The subject of the photograph is a woman. She is a dancer and the photographer captured one of the steps of her performance. At the instance the photo was taken the woman has her leg raised and her dress creates a curtain covering both her legs. What caught my attention was the perfection of the dress. Her legs are hidden and barely outlined within the wrinkles of the dress; it’s as if they don’t exist. The skills of the dancer enticed me as much as the professionally taken photograph. The woman aligns her body parallel to the floor, making a 180-degree line with her body. The expression of the woman’s face also catches the eye. She has her palm to her forehead indicating that the dance she is performing accompanies a somber mood.

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