Kuhner Archives & Photography
Groundbreaking photographer Betty Kuhner truly revolutionized the American family portrait, taking it from the staid arrangement of mother, father and children dressed in their Sunday best, carefully arranged in front of the living room mantelpiece or on a sofa. Rather, she instructed her subjects to dress casually, many times similarly, and coaxed them to accompany her into the backyard, the garden or onto the beach. Once there, she would intuitively find the perfect location and, more importantly, exquisite light, all the while engaging Mother Nature and serendipity to serve as the ultimate stylist. Her long and prolific career built an archive of over five decades of extraordinary documentation of America’s most distinguished dynasties―with assorted Kennedys, Fords, and the families of style icons Lilly Pulitzer and Esteé Lauder included in her inspiring body of work.
By choosing to work exclusively in black and white, Kuhner unknowingly created a powerful genre that would not only impact family photography, but also all fine contemporary wedding, portrait, fashion and advertising imagery as we now know it. Today, the black and white “environmental portrait” is considered the preeminent, highly regarded standard, thanks to one remarkable visionary―Betty Kuhner.
Kate had spent 14 years as a Creative Director for companies including Conde Nast, Estee Lauder, Cheeseborough Ponds and Playtex Products when she took over her mother’s cameras and the Kuhner family photography business.
The business came naturally to Kate as she had spent many summers learning the production side from her father, Russell Kuhner, and learning the magic of taking photographs from her mother by accompanying her on photo shoots.
Kate went on to capture the families of the next generation of clients – the young children that had grown up to and started families of their own.
“I was a second generation photographer capturing second generation families. The continuity was wonderful!”
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