Edmund Teske

Dates1911 - 1996
RolesMaker, Photographer
BornChicago, Illinois, United States
DiedLos Angeles, California, United States

Edmund Teske credited a grammar school teacher with inspiring his interest in photography. He received his first box camera around 1920. During his adolescence he studied drawing, painting, and music; when he graduated from high school, he built his own darkroom in the basement of the family home. In 1934 Teske took a position as an assistant in a commercial photographic studio in Chicago. He went to Wisconsin two years later, where he took up the first fellowship in photography to be conducted under the guidance of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In the late 1930s he taught at the New Bauhaus Institute of Design in Chicago, alongside László Moholy Nagy, then moved to New York, where he worked as an assistant to Berenice Abbott.

In the mid-1940s, Teske relocated to Los Angeles, where he initially worked at Paramount Pictures in the photographic still department. He continued to photograph and began to exhibit his images more frequently. His increasing experimentation led to his use of the solarization technique to reverse highlight and shadow. In 1956 he detoured briefly from photography to appear in the film biography of Vincent van Gogh, Lust for Life. After 1960 he frequently returned to older negatives, reinterpreting them through the use of experimental printing techniques.