By Kate Kuhner and Steven Stolman
A monograph of the groundbreaking photography of Betty Kuhner (1916–2014), who was the first to take midcentury family portraits of the affluent social set out of the studio and into the environment.
Photographer Betty Kuhner truly revolutionized the American family portrait, taking it from the arrangement of mother, father and children dressed in their Sunday best, carefully arranged in front of the living room mantelpiece or on a sofa. Rather, she instructed her subjects to dress casually, many times similarly, and coaxed them to accompany her into the backyard, the garden or onto the beach. Once there, she would intuitively find the perfect location and, more importantly, exquisite light, all the while engaging Mother Nature and serendipity to serve as the ultimate stylist. By choosing to work exclusively in black and white, Kuhner unknowingly created a powerful genre that would not only impact family photography, but also all fine contemporary wedding, portrait, fashion and advertising imagery as we now know it.