Imogen and Twinka at Yosemite
Judy Dater is an American photographer and feminist. She is perhaps best known for her 1974 photograph, Imogen and Twinka, featuring an elderly Imogen Cunningham, one of America's first women photographers, encountering a nymph in the woods of Yosemite. The nymph is the model Twinka Thiebaud.
Dater was born in 1941 in Hollywood and grew up in Los Angeles. Her father owned a movie theater, so movies became the prism through which she viewed the world and they had a profound influence on her photography. She studied art at UCLA for three years before moving to San Francisco and finishing her education at San Francisco State University. It was there she first studied photography with Jack Welpott, whom she later married. In 1975, they published a joint work, titled Women and Other Visions. They were divorced in 1977.
In 1964, Dater met the photographer Imogen Cunningham at a workshop focusing on the life and work of Edward Weston at Big Sur Hot Springs, which later became Esalen Institute. Dater was greatly inspired by Cunningham's life and work. They shared an interest in portraiture and remained friends until Cunningham's death in 1976. Three years later, Dater published Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait, containing interviews with many of Cunningham's photographic contemporaries, friends, and family along with photographs by both Dater and Cunningham. Dater became part of the community of the west coast school of photography, primarily represented by the photographers Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston, Wynn Bullock and Cunningham. Edward Weston was no longer alive, but the others all took an interest in her work and encouraged her to pursue photography as a career.
Dater is also known for her self-portraits. She often creates characters that embody the conscious and unconscious concerns that women have. Her self-portrait series includes titles like "Ms. Cling Free" and "Leopard Woman".
Other books by Dater include Judy Dater: Twenty Years (1986), Body and Soul (1988) and Cycles (Japanese version: 1992, American version: 1994). She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1978. She also received two National Endowment for the Arts individual artist grants in 1976 and 1988.
Judy Dater now lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband Jack B. von Euw. Her career has been long and varied, combining teaching, creating books, traveling abroad and conducting workshops, making prints, videos, and photographing continually.
- Dater, Judy, and James Enyeart. Judy Dater, Twenty Years. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, in Association with the De Saisset Museum, University of Santa Clara, 1986. Print.
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