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Lot 143: Rare Minor White letter to Photographer Terry Wild Mentioning Aperture Magazine
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: WHITE, MINOR. (1908-1976). American photographer and co-founder of the influential photography magazine Aperture. TLS. (“Minor White”). 1p. 4to. N.p., March 9, 1970. To photographer Terry Wild. ********** “Mike Hoffman and I had a long look at your book of photos on Los Angeles. Both of us like it well enough, but in comparison to about 20 other portfolios we found no way of using any of the photographs in Aperture. I regret that this is so, because the images are well done, show a good scope of subject matter, and a lively interest in the city around you. What seems to be lacking is an intensity and an isolation that gives us your view of the world around you. I don’t know how long you have been photographing, but it seems to me that you have not found your center yet, consequently the work lacks a certain bite. Thank you very much for letting us see your work and we apologize for holding it so long. Best wishes for your continuing to grow in photography… P.S. The prints were sent separately on 11 March 1970.” ********** White began his photography career in Oregon where he took assignments from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). He refined his unique style while studying aesthetics and art history at Columbia University, and soon found himself among such esteemed photographers as Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. At the invitation of Adams and Lange, he was instrumental in forming the California School of Fine Arts’ photography department in San Francisco, and taught at the Rochester Institute of Technology and MIT. In 1952, inspired by Stieglitz’s Camera Work, he co-founded Aperture with Lange, Adams and several others. The publication shuttered in 1964 but, with the help of his student and friend Michael E. Hoffman (1942-2001), White reopened the magazine and remained editor until 1975. ********** Hoffman remained with Aperture after White’s death, expanding it to include a prolific publishing arm and the nonprofit Aperture Foundation. He also founded the Alfred Stieglitz Center at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. ********** In 1971, Wild established himself as a commercial and stock photographer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. ********** Accompanied by a brief letter from Hoffman. In fine condition and relatively uncommon.