(American, 1905–2006) was a Berlin-born American photographer. She studied at the Berlin Academy of Art from 1925 until 1927, before joining her father, designer and typographer Lucian Bernhard
, in New York, NY. She took on commercial jobs, including an internship working under Ralph Steiner
with the magazine The Delineator
, in order to cover the expenses of acquiring her own photographic equipment. In 1935, she met Edward Weston
, and became deeply inspired by his work. He became her mentor, under whom she studied for years. Becoming a part of the Modernist West Coast Photographers movement, she joined Weston, Ansel Adams
, Minor White
, Imogen Cunningham
, Wynn Bullock
, and Dorothea Lange
in the f/64 group.
She primarily photographed in her studio and in black and white, making compositions of still lifes and dramatically lit nude figures. Although she is most often recognized for her photographs of nude women, Bernhard’s main aspirations revolved around the formal discipline of creating abstract shapes and sculptural masses using composition, light, and shadow. One of her most famous pieces is Two Forms
(1962), in which the bodies of two women are pressed against each other.
Bernhard lectured and taught master classes at universities throughout the United States, and published several books of her work. Bernhard’s photographs are held by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX; and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK; among others.