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Telephone, in front of Alfred Stieglitz "Equivalent," at An American Place, New York, c. 1940

Telephone, in front of Alfred Stieglitz "Equivalent," at An American Place, New York, c. 1940

Photographer, writer, and social activist Dorothy Norman (1905-1997) was born in Philadelphia and studied at Smith College and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In 1925, she married and moved to New York City where, in 1927, she met Alfred Stieglitz at The Intimate Gallery. Under Stieglitz’ mentorship, Norman learned development and printing techniques and began documenting the activities and installations at An American Place, Stieglitz’s next gallery, where she also oversaw the operations. There, Norman made revealing portraits of many artists and writers, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marcel Duchamp, Albert Einstein, Indira Ghandi, Thomas Mann, and Richard Wright, establishing her involvement in the artistic and cultural community. During this period she also photographed extensively in New York City, Cape Cod, and created many portraits of her mentor, Stieglitz.

Not only was Norman a talented photographer, she was also an accomplished writer. She was the publisher and editor of Twice a Year, an arts journal which appeared from 1938-1948, and included contributors Richard Wright, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Anais Nin, e.e. cummings and Bertolt Brecht. She wrote a column in The New York Post from 1942-1949 and published several books devoted to her mentor — Stieglitz Memorial Portfolio (1947) and Alfred Stieglitz: An American Seer (1973).

In 1968, Norman donated a large collection of photographs by herself and Stieglitz to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which were exhibited there that year. A larger number of Norman’s photographs were shown at the International Center of Photography in New York City in 1993 accompanied by a book, Intimate Visions: The Photographs of Dorothy Norman