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(American, 1905–2006) Ruth Bernhard was a German-born American photographer. She studied at the Berlin Academy of Art from 1925-1927, before joining her father, designer and typographer Lucian Bernhard, in New York, NY. She took on commercial jobs, including an internship working under Ralph Steiner to cover expenses of acquiring her own photographic equipment. In 1935, she met Edward Weston, and became deeply inspired by his work. He became her mentor, under whom she studied for years.
Bernhard primarily photographed in her studio and in black and white, making compositions of still lifes and dramatically lit nude figures. Although she is most often recognized for her photographs of nude women, her main aspirations revolved around the formal discipline of creating abstract shapes and sculptural masses using composition, light, and shadow.
Ruth Bernhard lectured and taught master classes at universities throughout the United States, and published several books of her work. Ruth Bernhard’s photographs are in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX; and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK; among others.