Women have long been active participants in American photography. Gertrude Kasebier, Imogen Cunningham, and Dorthea Lange are three photographers that have made significant contributions to the development of photography as an art form in America.
Gertrude Kasebier (1852-1934) was a pictorialist photographer who primarily took pictures of domestic scenes of mothers with their children. Kasebier also created portrait photographs of major literary and artistic figures. She helped create the group of photographers known as the Photo-Secession, which worked to have photography considered an actual art form.
Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976) was a prominent modernist photographer during the 1920’s. Cunningham is best known for her realistic black and white photographs of scenes from nature, but she also photographed for Vanity Fair during the 1930’s. Cunningham was also part of the group of prominent photographers that referred to themselves as f.64. This group contained artists such as Ansel Adams, and felt that photographs should contain more focused images.
Dorthea Lange (1895-1965) was a documentary photographer that took photographs of impoverished people during the Great Depression. In order to increase public sympathy for those most affected by the depression, in 1935 the Farm Security Administration hired Lange to take photos of migrant workers and out of work farmers. This commission resulted in one of her most famous works, the "Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California," that depicted a migrant mother with her two children.
These three women’s stamps were designed by Derry Noyes for the Masters of American Photography Issue. The ceremony for the stamps was held in San Diego, California at the Museum of Photographic Art. The Gertrude Kasebier stamp displays her 1895 work, "Blessed Art Thou Among Women." The Imogene Cunningham stamp features her 1958 photograph, "Age and Its Symbols: a Portrait of Ida C. Pabst." And the Dorthea Lange stamp shows her 1935 photograph entitled, "Ditched, Stalled, and Stranded, San Joaquin Valley, California."