Ruth Bernhard

Thursday, March 16th 2023

Ruth Bernhard (1905-2006) was a German-born American photographer known for her elegant, sensual black and white images of the human form and natural objects. She was a master of the photographic nude, and her images explored the beauty and complexity of the human body.

Bernhard was born in Berlin in 1905, and began taking photographs at a young age. She moved to the United States in 1927, where she studied at the renowned Art Center School in Los Angeles. She later worked as an assistant to the photographer Edward Weston, and was strongly influenced by his approach to photography.

In the 1930s, Bernhard began to develop her own style of photography, which focused on the human form and natural objects. She produced a series of iconic images of shells, fruits, and flowers, which demonstrated her mastery of light and form. In the 1940s and 1950s, she turned her attention to the photographic nude, and produced a series of images that are now considered some of the most important and influential examples of the genre.

Bernhard's most significant work includes her images of the human form, which are characterized by their simplicity, elegance, and sensitivity. Her photographs of nudes, such as "Two Forms, San Francisco, 1952," "In the Box, 1957," and "Horizontal Nude, 1967," are notable for their subtle exploration of the human body and their emotional depth.

Bernhard's work has been exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She was also the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's Caucus for Art in 1994.

Overall, Bernhard's work is significant because it represents a unique and deeply personal exploration of the human form and natural objects. Her photographs are characterized by their simplicity, elegance, and emotional depth, and her legacy continues to influence photographers around the world.