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Paul Outerbridge  

b. 1896 New York City, d. 1958 Laguna Beach, California
photographer
American

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"Art is life seen through man's inner craving for perfection and beauty--his escape from the sordid realities of life into a world of his imagining. Art accounts for at least a third of our civilization, and it is one of the artist's principal duties to do more than merely record life or nature. To the artist is given the privilege of pointing the way and inspiring towards a better life."
--Paul Outerbridge

So wrote Paul Outerbridge, rather exaltedly, about his chosen profession. He was a designer and illustrator in New York before turning to photography in the 1920s. In 1925, having established himself as an innovative advertising photographer and graphic designer, he moved to Paris and worked for the French edition of Vogue magazine. There he met Edward Steichen, with whom he developed a friendly rivalry. Around 1930, having returned to New York, Outerbridge began to experiment with color photography, in particular the carbro-color process. He focused primarily on female nudes--striking, full-color images that were ahead of their time. The growing popularity of the dye transfer process lead to cheaper color photographs and Outerbridge, who stuck fast to the carbro process as superior in its richness and permanence, saw his commercial work dry up, leaving him without a regular source of income. In 1943 Outerbridge moved to California, where he photographed only intermittently.


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Desk with Blueprint / Outerbridge
Desk with Blueprint

American, 1937

House Under Construction / Outerbridge
House Under Construction

American, about 1938

Tools with Blueprint / Outerbridge
Tools with Blueprint

American, 1939