Doris Ulmann

Portrait of a Girl

c. 1930
Doris Ulmann's soft focus, gentle lighting, and platinum and photogravure printing methods situate her solidly in the Pictorialist school. Her use of light allowed her to express the tenderness that she felt towards her subjects. This portrait was possibly taken on the South Carolina plantation owned by her friend, the writer Julia Peterkin. As conventional as its Pictorialist attributes might be, this picture uses light and its absence in a radical way. The shadow down the middle of the girl's body obscures her features, inviting us to look more attentively, adding tension between intimations of portent and protectiveness.
Artist
Title
Portrait of a Girl
Date
c. 1930
Medium
Photograph
Materials
platinum print
Dimensions
21.4 x 16.4 cm; image: 20.6 x 15.6 cm
Nationality
American
Credit line
Purchased 1998
Accession number
39163