Group f.64 is perhaps the most famous movement in the history of photography, counting among its members Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Dorothea Lange, Willard Van Dyke, and Edward Weston. Revolutionary in its day, Group f.64 was one of the first modern art movements equally defined by women and men working as equals. From the San Francisco Bay Area, its influence extended internationally, contributing significantly to the recognition of photography as a fine art.
The group was comprised of strongly individualist artists, brought together by a common philosophy and held together in a tangle of dynamic relationships. They shared a conviction that photography must emphasize its unique capabilities—those that distinguished it from other arts—in order to establish the medium's identity. Their name, f.64, they took from a very small lens aperture used with their large-format cameras, a pinprick that allowed them to capture the greatest possible depth of field in their lustrous, sharply detailed prints. In today's digital world, these "straight" photography champions are increasingly revered.
A former assistant to Ansel Adams, Mary Street Alinder knew most of the artists featured in this first group biography. Just as important, she understands the art. Featuring close to one hundred photographs by and of its members, Group f.64 details a transformative period in art history with narrative brilliance.
"In our nation’s darkest decade a group of artists created works of lasting beauty and relevance. On every page of this fine book, Mary Street Alinder reminds us of this important fact."—Washington Post
"The great virtue of [Alinder's] research and writing is to show how many paths there were in the journey to art photography’s ultimate acceptance by a wider art world. Group f.64 . . . was only one of the actors in a history yet to be told."—The Wall Street Journal
"Mary Street Alinder's Group f.64 reminds us, in photography, at least, it was a West Coast movement that redefined photography-as-art for the 20th century."—Philadelphia Inquirer