(American, 1883–1976) was a photographer born in Portland, OR. She attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where she developed an interest in photography, and was inspired by the work of Alfred Stieglitz
and Gertrude Käsebier
. Cunningham worked as a professional photo technician at the Edward Curtis Studio from 1907 until 1909, and earned a scholarship to study at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden. There, she worked with Robert Luther, and studied art history, life drawing, and platinum printing from 1909 until 1910. Cunningham returned to Seattle upon completing her studies, and started her own portrait studio.
In addition to commercial portraiture, Cunningham created a series of Symbolist works, inspired by the writing of William Morris, that depict her friends dressed as mythical figures in outdoor settings. In 1917, she moved to San Francisco and began working with Francis Joseph Bruguière
. By the 1920s, she was most interested in photographing details of natural forms, plants, and animals, and was experimenting with double exposures and light abstraction. For a short time during the early 1930s, Cunningham worked as a photographer for Vanity Fair
in New York, before returning to California.
In addition to her artistic achievements, Cunningham was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and an honorary doctorate by the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. Her photographs have been displayed at the Dallas Art Museum, the E. B. Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento, CA, and the Witkin Gallery in New York City, among many other venues.