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Eliot Porter

Fairfield Porter, 10 Jun 1907 - 18 Sep 1975
Eliot Porter, 6 Dec 1901 - 2 Nov 1990
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 147.3 x 81.3cm (58 x 32")
Frame: 163.8 x 97.8 x 6.4cm (64 1/2 x 38 1/2 x 2 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Fairfield Porter
Object number
Exhibition Label
One of America's foremost nature photographers, Eliot Porter helped support the growth of the environmental and ecology movements, especially with the books he published with the Sierra Club. Trained as a biochemist, Porter gave up science for professional photography after receiving encouragement from photographers Ansel Adams and Alfred Steiglitz; Steiglitz launched Porter's career with a one-man show at his famous gallery in 1938. Unlike Adams, Porter worked in color, perhaps because his scientific background attuned him to technical advances in color processing. Porter's popular breakthrough came in 1962, when the Sierra Club sponsored his photographic manifesto on the environment, In Wilderness Is the Preservation of the World. Porter's series of books for the club helped make it America's leading environmental organization. Eliot was the brother of painter Fairfield Porter, who captures him here in a moment of quiet repose.
(Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York); purchased 1993 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection