A couple of years back I did a short course in photography, hoping to polish my amateur skills and learn some new techniques. One of my favourite parts was a piece of homework exploring professional photographers work; which is how I came across the brilliantly fabulous Imogen Cunningham.
Born in 1883 in Oregon, she began her life studying the chemistry of photography, developing new techniques for quicker and clearer pictures. She paid her way through University by making slides for botanists and photographing plants, before getting a scholarship in 1909 to study in Dresden.
After her studies she returned to America and set up her own studio in Seattle, specialising in portraits of sitters in their own homes, in her living room, or in the woods surrounding her cottage. You can get a much fuller picture of her life on the Imogen Cunningham Trust website, which has been set up to preserve and promote her work.