Famous Photographer

Eliot Porter

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Eliot Porter

Eliot porter was mainly known for his colored photos of nature. Eliot was born on December 6th of 1901 in Winnetka, Illinois, in the United States. He was the second child out of five. His father, an amateur architect and natural history enthusiast, managed the family’s Chicago real estate and infused in his children a love of learning and the sciences. His mother, a Bryn Mawr graduate, shared her active support for liberal social causes. Eliot died on the date of November 2nd of 1990 at Santa Fe, New Mexico, at age 88.

Education and Family Background

Eliot was an amateur photographer since childhood, he was known for photographing the Great Spruce Head Island owned by his family. Porter earned degrees in chemical engineering and medicine, and worked as a biochemical researcher at Harvard. Eliot was also a friend of Stieglitz's wife, the painter Georgia O'Keeffe, who accompanied him on several camping expeditions including a rough raft trip down the Colorado River in 1961. Eliot Porter's brother, Fairfield, was a realist painter and art critic. His brother in law, Michael W. Straus, was a commissioner of the United States Bureau of Reclamation.

What was Eliot Porters Style or Trademark?

Eliot taught himself how to photograph and make his own black and white prints during his early teenage years. In the mid 1930's, he became a master black and white printer and, in late 1938, started gaining widespread renowned for his quiet, elegantly balanced landscapes. While he never fully gave up black and white after he took up color in 1939, he was focusing almost wholly on color by the mid 1950's. After experimenting with tri color carbro printing, Porter taught himself Kodak's new wash off relief process. He switched to the dye transfer process when it superseded wash off relief printing in 1946. He remained committed to dye transfer printing for the rest of his life, appreciating the extensive color control that the process offered. Also one of his great achievements was winning the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada.

What made Eliot Porter Famous?

Eliot porter got famous off his colored photos of nature and his dye transferring.

What did Eliot think of Himself?

Eliot thought good of himself but he did not compare his work to others since he was his own person and judging someone off their photos is a cold thing to do. But he did use some people’s ideas to help him brainstorm his own idea. He didn’t want to be known for basing his photos of others. Porter wanted to be the next big thing in nature photography.
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What New York Times thinks of Porter

I used this review of Eliot port from the New York Times, this review is based on what someone thought of Eliot Porter and his work.

Paula Cooper Gallery

521 West 21st Street, Chelsea

Through Aug. 8


Trained in medicine, the photographer Eliot Porter (1901-90) brought a quiet naturalism to the dye-transfer print, a technique more closely associated with in-your-face colorists like William Eggleston. His muted shots, which have been published in photography books alongside Thoreau’s writings, seem to flatten out the landscape without reducing its meditative complexity. (In that, they have much in common with the paintings of his brother, Fairfield Porter).


This exhibition of vintage prints, organized by Jack Macrae and Kristoffer Haynes, is more of a sampling than a survey. But it includes some lush, accomplished, and wonderfully unobtrusive images of nesting birds and unruly thickets of foliage. (Proceeds from the show go to Carl Safina’s Blue Ocean Institute.)


It moves from black-and-white to color with the subtlest of transitions in Porter’s “Grass and Hemlocks, Adirondacks” (1967): only when you look closely at the weeds poking through a snowy clearing do you see faint touches of green and yellow. An interest in abstraction is a constant, linking a close-up of gnarled tree roots on Great Spruce Head Island in Maine to a scattering of ice floes in Antarctica.

The bird pictures, taken with the help of strobe lamps from specially constructed wooden towers, hang in a separate area — the better to allow for contemplation of minute details like the tiny open beaks protruding from the nest of a black-poll warbler or the soft blur at the wingtip of a Williamson’s sapsucker.


Although he received advice and encouragement from some luminaries in the field — Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams, among others — Porter has always been seen as more of a scientist or hobbyist. This show may not be comprehensive enough to challenge that impression, but it leaves another, more potent one, of wilderness as (in Porter’s words) a “spiritual necessity.”


The reason why I appreciate Eliot Porter is because he is a great creative photographer and he bring out the true beauty of nature just through one of is famous colored photos. His photos make you really examine It, every little this is so detail that it’s like its right in front of you and your living his moment.

Other intresting facts about Eliot Porter

  • Takes several trips with his family to Florida, New England, and the Grand Canyon in 1905-11.


  • Receives a Brownie box camera as a Christmas gift from his parents.


  • Photographs around Winnetka and on Great Spruce Head Island, first using his Brownie box camera and later a Graflex; takes his first photographs of birds.


  • Becomes interested in chemistry while in high school.


  • Enters Morristown School, a boarding school in New Jersey, and photographs athletic events there 1920.

Eliot Porter's Photos/work

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Photo Representing Eliot Porter's Work

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