New Search
Porter, Eliot
Eliot Porter (1901-1990)
Birth Place Winnetka, Illinois
Death Place Santa Fe, New Mexico
Born Dec. 6, 1901
Died Nov. 2, 1990
General Notes Born in Winnetka, Illinois, Eliot Porter spent his boyhood summers on a family-owned island off the coast of Maine, where he developed a deep love of nature. Although he earned a medical degree from Harvard in 1929 and conducted research in biochemistry for several years, he was, above all, a devoted photographer. After Alfred Stieglitz organized an exhibition of Porter's work at his An American Place gallery in 1938, Porter turned exclusively to photography. He had a lifelong passion for birds, photographing them first in black-and-white and then in color; the results not only made him a master of the dye-transfer process, but they also garnered him a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1941. World War II interrupted Porter's work and funding, but the fellowship was renewed in 1946, the same year he moved to New Mexico. By 1950 Porter had started making color photographs of myriad natural subjects, often in close-up. His first book, In Wildness Is the Preservation of the World (1962), united his brilliant color images of nature with quotations from the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Published by the Sierra Club, it outlined his philosophy of nature and elicited international acclaim. Building on that book's popularity, Porter spent the next quarter-century traveling to and photographing ecologically and historically significant places worldwide. The resulting twenty-five books established an influential model for color nature photography. In 1979 his work was the focus of the first color-photography exhibition ever mounted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He bequeathed his extensive archives to the Amon Carter Museum.
 New Search