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PRIDE!!! Minor White on Russian Hill, 1946-1953

Celebrating June PIRIDE

“Look at things to see what else they are.” -Minor White

In 1946, at Ansel Adams’ invitation, Minor White moved to San Francisco to help start a photography program at the California School of Fine Arts (now SFAI). He continued to teach here for seven years, becoming a driving force behind the curriculum and, in 1952, a cofounder and editor of Aperture Magazine.

At a time when being gay could have (and in White's case may at least once have) cost him his job, he struggled privately with his own homosexuality. These struggles had an outlet in his journals (which he called his “Memorable Fancies” after a William Blake line), and sometimes in his work, in series like “The Temptation of Saint Anthony is Mirrors,” a set of 32 mostly nude images of and for a student named Tom Murphy, which he never exhibited or published. At times he framed his own struggles as fuel for his art (“I perceived that if one could put out the energy to produce a banquet of frustration, then frustration had power. It was worth pursuing.”) At others he expressed, if not acceptance, then at least peace with the ways in which his art reflected who he was: "Those who are perceptive enough to read the meaning at the heart of my photographs will probably be sympathetic enough to forgive me."

For bio info on Minor from the Minor White Archives at Princeton University:

With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.


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