“When the photograph is a mirror of the man,
and the man is a mirror of the world,
then Spirit might take over “.
Minor White is one of the great American photographers of the 20th century. He managed to exceed the intellectual and emotional level at which the work of most artists stops. For White, there are two types of photography: expressive and creative. Creative photography is a result of looking at an object through an intellectual image. A photograph is to reflect what the photographer imagines he sees.
White, however, valued only expressive photography. For him, the power lies in its authenticity. Photography is a direct look at a piece of reality, without creating any mental images. An object is photographed as if it was a mirror which reflects intense emotions of the photographer himself and his soul. White believed that transcendence which results from such a harmony of the photographer with the world is the most important content that the artist may convey.
Minor White had a very complex personality. In order to understand him, it is necessary to look at an unusual phenomenon which occurs in his works: a combination of the American tradition of landscape photography and strong religious sensation. This connection is clearly visible in many of his works.
White’s religiousness did not consist in his belief in religious doctrines or in practising any religion. It was authentically linked to the Eastern philosophy. Religious was also not the subject matter of his photographs. He attempted to find the sacred in elements of the profane, holiness in the seemingly “secular” world. This could be a partly covered window or light reflection, as well as a shore, the sea, clouds, the sun, shadows, shabby walls ravaged by time, the view out of a frozen window, some rocks…
As a teacher, Minor White taught not only photography but also a way of life. He had a considerable impact on many generations of young photographers (his best known student is Paul Caponigro). He was also a co-founder and the editor of the well-known quarterly on photography entitled “Aperture” in which he promoted expressive photography.
He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1908. He was an only child. In his childhood his grandparents (on his mother’s side) had greater influence on him than his parents. His grandfather was an amateur photographer; he had a slide projector and a large collection of slides: they presented landscapes from the West coast, architectural studies, and pictures from the American Civil War. These photos included the works of some very good photographers. White often watched these slides when he was a child. His grandfather moved to California when he was 12 and left him all his photographic equipment and the entire collection of slides. Before he left, he taught him the basics of photography. White believed that, for him, this was the beginning of his photographic career.
American landscape photography of the 19th century which Minor White encountered very early was under the influence of English photographers, such as: Philip Delamotte, Roger Fenton and Thomas Sutton, German photographers, such as Hermann Ybgel, and French photographers, such as: Eugen Cuvelier, Gustave Le Gray and Charles Soulier. Weston J. Naef, the curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, describes this landscape photography as “pastoral”: looking for light, beauty, climate, and mood. Many of the photographers from that time were painters by education so their photographs had excellent composition and proved that they had a high sense of aesthetics and sensitivity to light. At that time prints were often made from paper negatives (calotypes). An effect of this technique was the reduction of halftones and details on the print as well as exaggerating the contrast between light and shadows. This way, it was easier to achieve unreal climate.
The tradition of American photography originates from California. Natural resources and rapid development of this state attracted a huge number of emigrants. Since 1850, photographers were sought on the west coast to document e.g. geological studies, purchase of land by speculators, construction of railways and mines, development of towns and cities or the life of the Indians. Economic conditions for the work of photographers became extremely favourable. Three talented New Yorkers stand out of many photographers who were in California at that time. In 1849 Carleton E. Watkins moved there, then, in 1855 Edward J. Muybridge (he was born in England, emigrated to New York when he was 21, he was known for experimental photographs of movement) and, finally, Timothy O’Sullivan in 1867 (known for the photos of the American Civil War, which he took as a member of Matthew Brady’s crew). It was the economic situation but also the opportunity to participate in geological studies and to discover unknown landscapes that proved attractive for them. These three photographers looked at landscapes with their painter’s eyes. Every picture they took, even the ones made for documentary purposes, was perfectly composed. In their works, this European landscape “pastorality” described by W.J. Naef, is often felt but due to the requirements of the geologists they worked for and innovations in the technology of negatives on glass plates as a result of which their photographs contained a certain novelty. Their pictures were very sharp in the entire frame, with many halftones; they showed all the details of rocks, soil and plants. This fascination with rocks (whole rocks or their elements), the texture, amazing areas plastically located in the frame led to the creation of “abstract realism” which for the next 150 years will be the base for the development of the American school of landscape, and in particular for Minor White.
The childhood of Minor White was not emotionally easy. His parents separated and got back together many times, and then they finally got divorced. During that time, Minor sometimes lived with his mother and his grandparents, and sometimes with both parents. The first serious crisis was when his parents read his private journal in secret. When he was eighteen he wrote there that he felt he could be homosexual. After an unpleasant discussion with his parents he left their house at the beginning of summer. He returned in spring to start his university studies. White was ashamed of his homosexual feelings, he thought they were an obstacle in his life. Apart from friendship he was never able to establish a lasting relationship with another person. Those who knew him as an adult man said that he was moderate in physical contact.
White had a Bachelor’s degree in botany and in English literature from the University of Minnesota. After the studies, he earned his living working as a waiter and a help serving customers in a university club. During that period he could not afford to take photos so he directed his creative forces to writing poetry.
In 1937, he bought a camera: 35 mm Argus C3 for $ 12.50. He photographed landscapes while travelling near Lake Superior in Minnesota (the first photographs which he kept in his archives). The following year he went to the West coast of the US with little over $ 100 in his pocket. He went by bus and he got off in the place where the bus stopped: in Portland, Oregon. He lived there for four years. He joined the Oregon Camera Club where he learned only more subtle photographic techniques related to film development, making higher quality prints etc. He did not like the style of salon pictorialism which prevailed among the club members. He shaped his aesthetics looking at published photos by Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams and Berenice Abbott and reading the texts written by them. His eight-month long political activity in the People’s Power League helped him land a job as a “creative photographer” in the Works Progress Administration government agency. He also earned money by taking theatre photos for the Portland Civic Theatre and advertising photos for the YMCA. He bought a large-format camera Speed Graphics 3¼ x 4¼ inches.
He photographed a lot during that period. He also started learning and writing about photography. He had various interests: street scenes, architecture of buildings to be demolished, still lifes, landscapes, farms, cemeteries, male nude pictures. Some of his landscape photos taken in 1941 in Anthony Lakes and at Enterprise cemetery represent a high artistic level. This was the beginning of his own vision of the world. At that time, the Museum of Modem Art (MOMA) in New York announced a competition to participate in a nationwide exhibition entitled “Image of Freedom”. White sent three photographs. Not only were they shown at the exhibition, they were also bought by MOMA.
In 1942, a few months after the outbreak of the war between America and Japan he was drafted to the army. He served in Army Intelligence Corps on the islands of southern Pacific. “Three years and five months of paralysing boredom, one month of paralysing fear” – he reminisced about this time. He took very few photos: pictures of his fellow soldiers and officers. He focused more on writing poems and the book “Eight Lessons on Photography”; he was inspired by the book “Acting: the First Six Lessons” by Richard Boleslavski. Even though his manuscript was never published, he used it later on as a basis for teaching photography. While reading the book by Boleslavsky, White realised that there is a difference between the emotions which are private (only the actor gets emotional) and universal (the audience shares the actor’s feelings). Bare feelings of the actor and the photographer should be “dressed” appropriately in the form in order to get through to the audience.
Minor White’s religious search started in secondary school. He visited various protestant churches but he couldn’t find his place in any of them. In Portland he met Isabela Kane, a young PE teacher who was a devout Catholic. Her religiousness and devotion to the Church had a strong impact on him. Gradually, White was finding more and more spiritual inspiration in the Church. His religious needs became stronger during the war. White was baptised by a military chaplain on Easter Sunday in 1943. He wrote in his journal: “I would like to know, if possible, what faith is… I discovered the same energy in prayer and in creation… I like it when the mass is devoid of everything that is unnecessary”.
In the end, however, the war made him lose his faith; he believed only in the existence of evil in man. After his return to the US, his spiritual emptiness could not be filled with catholic masses which he then felt were empty. With time he gave up on the Church, confession and communion completely but he was attracted to spirituality. After the war he really wanted to return to normal life. He believed that he was mature and creative enough to live up to his ambition: “to be an artist of the spirit”. He realised that it is not possible to separate the artist from his creations. “The whole person” counts. Therefore, he had to find his own Tao.
After he left the army with honours (he was awarded the Brown Star), he went to New York. He wanted to know everything that was going on in photography in his absence. Before the war, he knew the director of Portland Art Museum so he got in touch with Beaumont Newhall, the curator of photography in MOMA and his wife, Nancy (they were both photography historians). This was the beginning of a great friendship. At that time, through Newhalls, he also met many great photographers, such as: Paul Strand, Brett Weston, Eugene Smith, Edward Steichen (who at that time was the director of the department of photography at MOMA), Harry Callahan… However, the most important for him was to meet Alfred Stieglitz. One day, in January 1946, he plucked up the courage to visit him − the man considered as the oracle on contemporary photography in America. He went to the building at 509 Madison Avenue where the famous Stieglitz’s gallery “An American Place” was located. He was so nervous that he got out of the lift on the wrong floor. He could not find the gallery. He treated it as a sign from heaven: this was not the right time to meet the master. He left the building feeling a huge relief. It was not until a month later when he got to meet Stieglitz. They looked at the photos, talked about the events in photography and about contemporary art. Stieglitz asked him a question: “Have you ever been in love?” White said that yes. Then the master concluded: “You can take photos”. White said later that at that moment he felt as if a concrete strait jacket cracked on him, a shell which burdened him mentally. He left this first meeting inspired and full of energy to work. The conversation with Stieglitz restored his belief in life itself and in man, which he lost during the war.
There were two photographers who White appreciated the most in that period: Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946) and Edward Weston (1886-1958). Stieglitz made a huge impact on American landscape photography not only in terms of aesthetics but also by way of his theory of photography. Stieglitz borrowed the notion of equivalents from the theory of European literature and adopted it to photography. In this concept a photographic image is a metaphor: the photographed object surpasses itself and mirrors certain emotions or subtle states of mind of the photographer. Stieglitz claimed that we photograph when contemplation of a given element of reality evokes profound feelings in us. Good photographs should stimulate emotional, maybe even spiritual states in the viewer. The most meaningful equivalents in Stieglitz’s works are his photographs of clouds. However, the potential of expressing profound internal states is present only in the works of Edward Weston, who was also under Stieglitz’s influence. At first, in his Mexican and Californian photographs, Weston was seeking form. Some of his photos were inspired by European avant-garde: the works of Marcel Duchamp and Constantin Brancusi. The year 1929 was a turning point for Weston. He moved from Los Angeles to Carmel, a small town near San Francisco. This is an exceptional place for American artists, an architectural gem among the mountains, rocks and beautiful beaches. Weston discovered exceptional rocks with rich organic shapes in Point Lobos near Carmel. His search for form changed into the discovery of the possibilities created by equivalents. At a later stage in his life he mastered to perfection what Stieglitz only started. He was able to express his own poetic feelings through photographs of nature. The photographs taken by mature Weston were the starting point for White.
During his stay in New York, White studied the history of art and aesthetics at Columbia University where the approach to art was psychological, sometimes even psychoanalytical. He also studied museum methods at MOMA. He wrote the first critical work on the photography of Weston, who at that time had his retrospective exhibition there. In that period, Weston photographed very little. He did not feel well in New York, which he described as an awful city. Apart from still lifes, he took a number of photos of tenement house façades at 53rd Street between 5th and 6thAvenue. White rejected the offer to work as a curator at the MOMA yet he accepted the offer of Ansel Adams to give lectures at the California School of Fine Arts (later the name was changed to the San Francisco Art Institute).
He moved to San Francisco on the day of his birthday, 8 July 1946. This was the beginning of the first “trajectory” (as he called it) of his life. He quickly learnt various photographic techniques from Adams. The most important was the Zone System technique which became established as the main workshop theme of Minor White’s teaching activities. Around the end of the year he went to Carmel to visit Edward Weston. His expectations were met: he got to know a really close soul. White got attached to the master and his ideals in photography (for Weston, photography is mainly the external record of the photographer’s internal development). The coastal landscape of Carmel surroundings also became his favourite open air location. The ragged rocks of Point Lobos, where he photographed for many years, became his particular inspiration.
Adams and White worked out a new, three-year programme for students of photography. They invited famous photographers to give lectures: Dorothea Lange, Imogen Cunningham, Lisette Model. Adams started departing from teaching and delegated more and more teaching duties to White.
The first task that White gave his students was to take photographs in all the districts in San Francisco. This way he himself managed to get to know the atypical, hilly city, located scenically near a bay. Later, he organised open air photography workshops in Point Lobos and meetings with Edward Weston, in which Ansel Adams sometimes participated.
Minor White discovered that teaching photography is as important for him as photography itself. He felt that this was his vocation. He’d rather spend time with young people than with his peers who usually bored him. However, there was one more important reason for his decision to dedicate himself to teaching. He realised that hardly anyone will be able to interpret his photographs appropriately without relevant preparation. Apart from Edward Weston, even other photographers who he was close to, such as Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange or the historian Beaumont Newhall, did not always experience the expressive force of his works. Yes, they admired them for the high level of craftsmanship. This was the reason why White taught photography not only to students but also gave lectures to the wider public. He wanted to awaken sensitivity, to shape the visual culture of the society.
In the Californian period Minor White’s photographs depicted various subjects. With his large format camera, he took photos of nature and of elements of reality found in cities. He was also interested in studio photography: portraits and the human body, lit in theatrical style.
What seems most surprising is his interest in street photography, visible in the “City of Surf” project. Inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman and pre-war photographs of Cartier-Bresson, he wanted to create a visual catalogue of San Francisco. He bought a Zeiss Ikonta B camera. He took it everywhere he roamed: Chinatown, the city’s financial centre, docks, old streets, nooks, new suburbs… He photographed everyday life, parades, markets, circus… As part of this project, he took around 6,000 negatives during the 4 years starting from 1949. The result was a heterogeneous document, full of various views and subjects, containing anecdotes, natural gestures of people, climates of the city, “decisive moments”, street portraits… White was not entirely happy with these photos (even though some of them were very powerful). He found that photographing people who are not aware that they are being photographed is a cul-de-sac in his work. He had to go through this type of photography, though. He came to a conclusion that this is not the direction in which he can express his deepest feelings. On the last day of the year 1952 he wrote the following comment on Cartier-Bresson’s album “Decisive Moment” in his journal: “The photos in his book «are insufficient». They fail to achieve what I require from photography… At first his work with the camera was ART (in both the worse and the better meaning of this word), but then it transformed into photojournalism. His progress [in photography] cannot be undermined. For many, his photos are the answer to the question: what type of art is photography? For few they do not answer this question. For others a different approach to photography is a challenge. Photography may be the art which expresses the entire maturity, intellect, spirituality and love of the photographer himself. Very few will master it to perfection but it is enough for the world.”
Next to this comment White formulated his philosophy of photography of that time. For him a photographer should reveal vitality of the poetic experience. He called it “revitalisation”. He wrote in his journal: “What is revitalisation? When I photograph rocks I adopt a dual approach. Firstly, the image reminds me of something: human anatomy or emotions, even though the rocks themselves remain rocks. Secondly, the photograph becomes a stimulus for a dream: about a lover, a wife, a mother… Only not about the rocks. When I photograph people, I should do it in a similar way. The camera does not record the man as he really is. If so, only partly. But the camera may show the relation between the photographer and the photographed person. If I reveal the atmosphere of this contact in my photo, the viewer will also be able to experience it (only to a certain extent, of course). If this is missing from my photography, the viewer will evaluate the personality, the situation or anything else only intellectually”.
Many photographers were not happy with the magazines about photography published in the US in the 1950s. To satisfy these needs, a quarterly about photography entitled “Aperture” was created in 1952. It was started by Minor White, Ansel Adams, Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, Dorothea Lange and others. White was appointed editor in chief. He performed this role for twenty years without any remuneration. The plans of “Aperture” were very broad. The magazine published expressive photography, which had its roots in Stieglitz’s equivalents, articles on “reading” photographs in accordance with the assumptions of New Critics in poetry, and texts on photography. Everybody wanted to keep such a high level of photography and texts. The first issue was published in April.
The year 1953 was decisive for White. The dreamy boy, whose career in photography was going really smoothly, turned into a man facing the uglier part of reality. He discovered a plot against him at the California School of Fine Arts which was to remove him from the school. The reasons for the plot were not revealed. First, the number of his lectures was reduced so that he would be unable to earn his living this way. He did nothing in his defence. Naively enough, he decided to move to Rochester, New York, for some time and wait there until the situation in California School of Fine Arts gets back to normal.
He worked as an assistant of Beaumont Newhall, curator at the George Eastman House. He felt bad in gloomy Rochester, with its depressive architecture and morose citizens. He missed the sun of California and the richness of its landscape. The everyday duty of looking at a huge number of photos exhausted him. Too much knowledge diminishes the freshness of the photographer’s view.
Meanwhile, nothing was changing to his benefit in California so he stayed in Rochester. He moved to the city centre, to a house at 72 North Union Street. Paradoxically, he experienced his gold period as a man, artist and teacher in these ugly surroundings which he complained about in letters to his friends.
In 1956 he gave up his job at the George Eastman House. He wanted to have more time for his own photographs; he did not want to be completely financially dependent on any institution. During the next nine years he worked part-time giving lectures on photography at Rochester Institute of Technology. He also held workshops in many places in America. He gave private lessons to students who lived in his house, helped him out in the darkroom and with household chores. They paid only by contributing to the cost of food. He sometimes financially supported the poorest. White was not a materialist: he lived modestly, ate ordinary food and wore ordinary clothes. Most of his expenses were related to photography. The only thing he was attached to was the 4×5” Sinara camera, which he had owned since 1958. Later, he also bought small format Leica to take photos in colour.
White often took his private students to open air photography workshops near Rochester. They used to go as a small group in White’s old Volkswagen van. The only sound during these trips was the sound of wind. Conversations and the radio were out of question.
In the years 1959-67, for as long as he was healthy, he spent the summer travelling with a caravan around the States to photograph for himself. He usually took one student or friend with him. The first one was Paul Caponigro, who was one of his private students.
Religious search and photography were inseparable for White. In a letter to Isabela Kane in 1950, he wrote that in the pictures taken even with minimal conscious control, the ugliness and all the internal ailments of the photographer usually come to light and become visible even if the photographs are very aesthetic. Efficient work on yourself or with a student should lead to internal transformation of man in order to make him as beautiful and strong as his artistry. However, White did not yet know what this work should consist in.
The letters he wrote to his friends, in particular to Isabela Kane, show that sometimes he experienced states which he himself described as “the threshold of mysticism or maybe… only romantic”. They happened rarely, sometimes when he listened to Bach’s fugues or photographed, but they were not very deep. For an artist whose ambition is to reach transcendence, such randomness is not sufficient. Russian mathematician P.D. Ouspensky rightly wrote: “It is as if someone found money on the street from time to time. But you can’t earn your living this way”. Bach and Rembrandt would not be able to create so many masterpieces, if they only occasionally experienced the state of grace. Their path was deeply rooted in Christianity, in the best meaning of this word. But America of the 20th century was very far from Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries. White’s generation was already turning towards the Far East.
Towards the end of 1955 Irish, one of White’s students gave him a book titled “Mysticism” by Evelyn Underhill. It took White two months to read it. Then he concluded that this book started the second important “trajectory” of his life. He intensely studied books on Zen Buddhism and on meditation, the works of G.I. Gurdjeff, P.D. Ouspensky…
White discovered the core of Eastern philosophy: incorrect thinking leads man to conflict and unhappiness. For Buddhists, illusory reasoning based on a lack of knowledge and acting connected with the desire or intention to possess leave a stain on human life. They make him a slave in the state of low awareness.
What does incorrect thinking consist in? In reality the brain generates an endless stream of thoughts. One is connected to the other, like rings in a chain. New intellectual images create further chains of thoughts. The problem is that many, maybe most, of our thoughts are simply useless. We need them only in particular, practical thinking based on knowledge. But even when we need to focus on solving problems or on our work, side thoughts often appear and prevent us from carrying out these activities. Such thoughts are usually psychological or emotional. We live in a non-existent past or we dream about various situations in the future. In both cases, we create our world of delusions. Looking for psychological security, attachment to things, to ideology, to opinions, to other people’s feelings, to passion, comparing yourself to others, interest, greed: these are some examples of incorrect thinking which is usually a result of the way we are conditioned and from bad habits. The state of low awareness means that you notice nothing but your own delusions. The Buddhists call this lack of knowledge.
Our nature has the potential of both the good and the evil. Incorrect thinking evokes aggression and negative emotions, such as hatred, jealousy, despair, internal pain… This unnecessary chain of thoughts also leads us to loss of energy which comes to man in a natural way. Hence many cases of depression and malaise. Russian mystic (of Armenian and Greek origins), G.I. Gurdjieff (1872-1948), who had a strong impact on White, called this state of low awareness “sleeping” because then a man daydreams. Hindu thinker, Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), described it as “mechanical life”.
White was prepared for the next stage of his Tao. He considered his previous religious experiences to be flashes of other state of awareness. He used to say prayers and say the rosary. Now he practised Zen meditation. While sitting in an appropriate position he focused on observing his own thoughts. He looked at them as if they were clouds floating on the sky, without stopping them. This way the thoughts gradually disappeared. Correct prayer or meditation may help a man leave the “sleeping” state for a while. However, the stream of unnecessary thoughts returns again so the next stage is more difficult. You should not only “wake up” but remain “awakened”. In order to leave the state of low awareness for a longer period enormous, hard work on yourself is necessary.
What does this work involve according to the Eastern tradition? This seems easy. When we are in a reality, we should stay aware of the existence of incorrect thoughts. We should be alert while working, in contacts with other people, and most of all when doing nothing at all. The awareness that such thoughts appear, combined with their proper observation, makes them disappear. New ones appear, though, and we observe them again, and then they disappear again. With time, they will appear more and more rarely. The number of our delusions will get reduced. At the same time we need absolute attention, a distance-free vision of the surrounding world. We need to look at people, nature and things directly, without an intellectual image. We need to see them the way they are and not through the prism of a conditioned mind. Then a man may reach a higher state of mind, feel the world more harmoniously, as unity, approach the mystery of love.
This is not an easy path. Most people who decide to follow it need the help of an experienced and trustworthy master. For Minor White, Louise March such a person was, a student and ex-secretary of Gurdjieff. She used his method in a small group of learners that she supervised in Rochester. White joined them, he also visited pianist William Nyland in New York who looked after a group of people interested in Gurdjieff’s method.
Minor White’s artistic talent consisted mainly in the ability to express his feelings in photographs in a powerful manner. If we trace his photographs and their dates, we will see the entire strenuous road he went through. We may sense a wide array of his experiences: torment, anxiety, sexuality, mystery, beauty…. On such a road it is very difficult to keep a higher state of consciousness permanently. It is easy to lose what was so hard to achieve. And you need to start all over again… In the best of White’s photographs, we may find what he was actually looking for: the sacred in the profane. Transcendence occurs only in some of his works, as is the case of many great artists.
In 1965, White accepted the position of visiting professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He bought a twelve-room house at 203 Park Avenue in Arlington. He prepared studios and darkrooms there, as well as rooms where his private students could live.
A year later White was diagnosed with a heart disease. His condition was deteriorating with time. There were not only physiological changes but also psychological ones. He changed his diet, devoted more time to meditation and limited travelling. He started studying astrology which all of a sudden became an important part of his life. He prepared birth horoscopes for his students and future candidates. In spite of illness, he photographed as much as his health allowed him to.
White was a very ambitious photographer. His ambition, however, did not concern fame or material needs but the things expressed in his photographs. None of White’s searches were limited merely to the content. In spite of pictures in colour, taken using a small image camera and a Polaroid SX-70, he took black and white photos in infra-red (mostly in 1955), prints giving negatives instead of positives and enlargements of two negatives put together (the so-called sandwich). He also examined the possibilities of photographic series which he named in unusual ways: Totemic Sequence, The Sound of One Hand (taken from a Buddhist koan), Steel Hook of Infinity, Ashes Are to Be Burned… His series of 80 colourful slides entitled Slow Dance, which he often showed on two screens during workshops and speeches, was particularly important for his teaching purposes. Exhibitions of photographs organised by him also had unusual names: Octave of Prayer, A Being Without Clothes, Celebrations…
Towards the end of his life he photographed in North-eastern states: Maine, Vermont and Nova Scotia. He felt particular vibrations on the coast of Schoodic Point in Maine where photos included in the Totemic Sequence series were taken. He also travelled to Puerto Rico, Peru, England and Italy. MIT sponsored open air photography workshops in Rome for White and his students.
The first album of Minor White’s photography entitled “Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations” was published by Aperture only in 1969. The same year he received tenure at MIT.
Two universities granted an honorary degree in art to White. One of them was the San Francisco Art Institute that wanted to and succeeded in getting rid of him twenty years earlier.
In 1976, at the age of 68, Minor White died of a second heart attack. During his life, he was completely devoted to higher aims in photography. As a teacher, photographer, editor, writer and curator of exhibitions he contributed to raising the level of American photography in the second half of the 20th century.
His photographs will always remain an inspiration to photographers who are looking for something more than mundane values.
Doris Bry, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographer, “Museum of Fine Arts”, Boston, 1965
Peter C. Bunnel, Minor White: the Eye that Shapes, The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1989
Paul Caponigro, Masterworks From Forty Years, “Photography West Graphics”, Carmel 1993
Taisen Deshimaru, Zen et vie quotidienne:la praq-tiąue de ta concentration, “Albin Michel”, Paris 1985
Sarah Greenough, Juan Hamilton, Alfred Stieglitz: Photographs and Writings, “National Gallery of Art”, Washington 1999
Thomas W. Fels et al, Watkins to Weston: 101 Years of Califomia Photography, “Santa Barbara Museum of Art”, 1992
Hermann Hesse, “Siddharta”, PIW, Warszawa 1998
Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Wholeness of Life, Gollancz, London 1983
Jiddu Krishnamurti, Wolność od znanego [Freedom from the Known], Zysk i S-ka, Poznań 1994
Nauka Buddy [Buddha’s Teachings], Publishing House A, Cracow 1999
Weston J. Naef, Era of Exploration, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 1975
P.D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London 1950
Philosophes taoistes, Gallimard, Paris 1980
Adam Sobota, Moment Decydujący [Decisive Moment], „Format”, issue 37, 4/2000, Wrocław
Edward Weston, The Daybooks of Edward Weston, Aperture, New York 1966
Edward Weston: His Life and Photographs, Aperture, New York 1973
Minor White, Rites & Passages, Aperture, New York 1978