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Edmund Teske (1911 - November 22, 1996)

Edmund Teske (b. 1911 Chicago, d. 1996 Los Angeles) was an American photographer noted for his experimental techniques and work with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Teske taught at the New Bauhaus Institute of Design in Chicago alongside László Moholy-Nagy. In the late 1940s, he moved to Los Angeles and worked in the photographic still department at Paramount Pictures. There he exhibited his experimental work, which included duo-tone solarisation and collage techniques.

He was given a posthumous retrospective at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2004.

Edmund Teske, born in Chicago in 1911, was known as an alchemist of twentieth-century American photography who dedicated his life to art.

Primarily self-taught in the photographic process, his revolutionary darkroom techniques such as layered negative, duotone solarization, and sultry warm tone printing became his distinction.

Teske delved into the human condition and the world around him over the course of a sixty year career with passion and lust for life. His romantic and spiritual nature were the foundation for inspired, poetic, and innovative works of art.



Teske explored sexuality and spirituality with the same breadth. His work's lyrical theme was influenced by the myths and ideas of Vedantic Hindu philosophy. He was fascinated by the masculine-feminine principle known as Shiva-Shakti illustrated in many of his photographs.

As an artist, poet and teacher, Edmund Teske established his reputation in the 1930s after the successful reception of his work photographing the Taliesin Fellowship of Frank Lloyd Wright by Mr. Wright's invitation.

During his employment at a commercial photography studio in Chicago in the 1930s, Teske was exposed to the work of a number of prominent contemporary photographers and artists, including Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Anton Bruehl, Man Ray, Moholy-Nagy and Georgia O'Keefe.

Edmund Teske considered himself a "poet with a camera", and began exhibiting photographs in Los Angeles in the 1950s. His work was exhibited at major and minor galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pasadena Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Ceeje Gallery in Los Angeles in the 1960s.

In 1980, his photographic monograph: Images from Within was published by Friends of Photography in Carmel.

Although Teske had numerous exhibitions during his lifetime, a high point of his career was in 1993 when the J. Paul Getty Museum honored him with the exhibition: Being and Becoming: Photographs by Edmund Teske, acknowledging his contribution to American photographic history.

In 2004, the Getty Center presented a major retrospective exhibition: Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske. It was complete with gallery talks, lectures, film and music events and an accompanying catalogue with 127 color and black-and-white illustrations.

Teske continued to photograph until his death in November 1996, a roll of Tri-x pan film stil in his 35mm camera. During his last few years he enthusiastically worked on a book project called Emanations, a six-volume unfinished collection of his life's work which is now part of the Edmund Teske Collection at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

Source: http://www.edmundteske.com/et/Biography.html










Richard Soakup, Chicago, 1940


Jim Morrison and Pamela Courson, Bronson Caves, 1969




























Edmund Teske, 1996, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1124066)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)


Further Readings:

Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum; 1 edition (June 24, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 089236761X
ISBN-13: 978-0892367610
Amazon: Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske

Edmund Teske (1911-1996) was one of the alchemists of twentieth-century American photography. Over a sixty-year period, he created a diverse body of work that explored the expressive and emotional potentials of the medium. His drive to experiment with sophisticated techniques, such as solarization and composite printing, liberated a younger generation of American photographers; at the same time, his subject matter - sometimes abstract, often homoerotic, and always lyrical and poetic - opened up new areas for photographers to explore. Spirit into Matter is published to coincide with the first major retrospective of Teske's work, to be held at the Getty Museum from June 15 to September 19, 2004. Julian Cox provides an introduction and extensive biocritical essay on Teske that traces his long and varied career, from Chicago in the 1930s to Los Angeles, where the photographer took up residence in 1943. Cox investigates Teske's early associations with such influential figures as Frank Lloyd Wright and Paul Strand to his later associations with iconic figures including filmmaker Kenneth Anger and musicians Ramblin' Jack Elliott and the Doors.

A Taliesin Legacy: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright's Apprentices (Architecture Series) by Tobias S. Guggenheimer
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 27, 1995)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0471286427
ISBN-13: 978-0471286424
Amazon: A Taliesin Legacy: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright's Apprentices

In this monumental book, the author unveils hundreds of photos and original interviews tracing the careers of thirty architects who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin. Among those interviewed are Fay Jones, Aaron Green, John Lautner, Anthony Putnam, Paolo Soleri, and Edgar Tafel.

The Homoerotic Photograph : Male Images from Durieu / Delacroix to Mapplethorpe by Allen Ellenzweig & George Stambolian
Hardcover: 230 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (April 15, 1992)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0231075367
ISBN-13: 978-0231075367
Amazon: The Homoerotic Photograph : Male Images from Durieu / Delacroix to Mapplethorpe

Discussing artists ranging from Thomas Eakins to Robert Mapplethorpe in this lavishly illustrated survey, Ellenzweig maintains that until very recently male homoerotic photographs were presented in terms acceptable to a wide audience. A photography and art critic and administrator at New York University, he first examines the theatrical shots French photographer Eugene Durieu made with painter Eugene Delacroix in the 1850s--pictures that paved the way for the academic nude. Eakins's Philadelphia pastorals of the 1880s--photos of naked young men at play--were embraced as genre scenes. Prussian baron Wilhelm von Gloeden's images of unclad Sicilian youths in Mediterranean sunlight were taken as allusions to Greek classics. Brassai's steamy 1930s pictures of Paris's gay and lesbian subculture were viewed as sociological documents. Only in photography's recent history, asserts Ellenzweig, have works dealing with male nudity and male homosexual relations been stigmatized in psychiatric terms. Featured among the 127 mostly explicit duotone photographs are works by Minor White, Arthur Tress, Duane Michals and Peter Hujar.

More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices

More Photographers at my website:
http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art


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