taught himself how to photograph and make his own black-and-white prints during his early teenage
years. In the mid-1930s, he became a master black-and-white printer and, in late 1938, started gaining
widespread renown for his quiet, elegantly balanced landscapes. While he never fully gave up black
and white after he took up color in 1939, he was focusing almost wholly on color by the mid-1950s.
After experimenting with tri-color carbro printing, Porter taught himself Kodak's new wash-off relief
process. He switched to the dye transfer process when it superseded wash-off relief printing in 1946.
He remained committed to dye transfer printing for the rest of his life, appreciating the extensive
color control that the process offered.
This Collection Guide samples Porter's photographs from throughout his career. It provides a
numerical listing of his photographs in the collection; describes the dye transfer process, his
printing method of choice; and samples his images from across the collection. The photographer
generally organized his landscape photographs by location and his bird photographs by species. He
kept his black-and-white photographs separate from his color prints. The photographs in the
category "In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World" have been artificially separated
from their original location categories because these images reflect the artist's first and most
important book. The categories "Eastern United States" and "Western United States" represent
groupings of photographs not covered in the other categories. The images within each category
are presented largely in chronological order, and brief introductions open each section.
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