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Martha Graham, Letter to the World (Kick)Enlarge image

Martha Graham, Letter to the World (Kick), 1940

Barbara Morgan
American, 1900 - 1992
gelatin silver print
38.6 x 48.2 cm
Purchased 2008
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42338)
Photo © NGC

Barbara Morgan's photographs of the celebrated dancer and choreographer Martha Graham have survived the test of time. Capturing gesture, volume and line, Morgan creates a permanent and timeless image from an essentially ephemeral experience. Based on an Emily Dickinson poem, Graham's choreography and Morgan's photograph illustrate the poet as both messenger to the world and recluse. The dancer extends into space, yet holds her head downward, in an introspective, melancholic pose. This is my letter to the world, That never wrote to me, The simple news that Nature told, With tender majesty. Her message is committed To hands I cannot see; For love of her, sweet countrymen, Judge tenderly of me! -Emily Dickenson

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