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Aline and Eliot Porter
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Scheinbaum & Russek, Ltd.

9/9/2017 to 10/28/2017
When: Saturday, September 9, 2017
Where: Scheinbaum & Russek, Ltd.
United States

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The history of art, music and literature is filled with passionate love affairs between creative spirits. In understanding relationships for artistic couples, hints may be found in their work. Such is the premise behind this exhibit of Aline and Eliot Porter’s work, both artists in their own right while also influencing and supporting each other’s work. This exhibition honors the artistic visions of Aline and Eliot Porter, partners in life and art.


In December of 1938 Alfred Stieglitz presented an exhibit of Porter's black & white photographs at An American Place. After the exhibit Stieglitz wrote,"My dear Eliot Porter: Still I must thank you for having given me the opportunity to live with your spirit in the form of those photographs that for three weeks were on our walls. - And "our" includes yours. - Some of your photographs are the first I have ever seen which made me feel "there is my own spirit" - quite an unbelievable experience for one like myself."


The exhibit was a turning point in Porter's life. He left a profession in scientific research at Harvard, relocated to Santa Fe, and devoted the rest of his life to photography. The importance of Eliot and Aline’s relationship in life and art can be read in this reflection from
Eliot, "In retrospect, from my experience it appears highly desirable to order one's life in accord with inner yearnings no matter how impractical they may seem and not to be bound to an unfitting vocation by practical considerations. Nevertheless I would not have been able to make the change, regardless of how urgent the need, had I not had the support of a sympathetic wife, who, being an artist herself, understood my concerns."


We can look at Eliot Porter’s work and life and realize that Porter, with quiet determination, and sometimes being the lone voice, represents the long struggle for color photography to be recognized and accepted as an art form. While he produced full bodies of work in both black and white and color until the late 1950s, he began to see the world more in color than in black and white. His commitment to color was furthered by his relationship with his brother, the painter and art critic, Fairfield Porter and his wife, Aline. She suggested to him
that his photographs of the natural world made her think of Thoreau’s writings. Eliot began an in depth project putting his images together with Thoreau’s words. In 1962 the Sierra Club published In Wildness is the Preservation of the World, their first book of color photography. The book and Porter’s vision changed our way of seeing the world forever. It also was a shocking revelation for the photography world – it was an art book of color photography.


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