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Imogen Cunningham bought her first camera in 1901, but it was only after a chance encounter with photographer Gertrude Käsebier’s work in 1908 that she pursued photography seriously. As a student at the University of Washington, she studied photographic technique and chemistry, paying her way by photographing plants for the botany department. Within a few years, she established a studio and embraced a sleek, more rigorous approach to light, form, and space. To expand and deepen her technique and hone her ability to capture the translucent qualities of light, she spent two years photographing magnolia flowers.