About the Photographer
American, b. Chicago, IL
A painter and a photographer, Eve Sonneman earned renown for her photographic diptychs, a format she has explored extensively throughout her artistic career. She first began pairing photographs while she was a graduate student at the University of New Mexico in the late 1960s. Working in black and white, Sonneman printed successive frames from a single roll of film, suggesting a brief time lapse between one image and the next, or what she herself has described as a tiny moment of innuendo. By the time Sonneman began working in color in 1974, she no longer limited herself to printing consecutive exposures from a strip of negatives. Broadening her methods in composing diptychs, she allowed for the possibility of a greater range of effects.
Formally Sonneman's diptychs may bring to mind the twin frames of stereoscopic photography—offset slightly with subtle differences—but her goal isn't to create the illusion of depth. Instead, her pairings deal with the nature of seeing and the operations of photography, underlining the vital factors of timing and camera position and the question of what is or is not included in a given frame. Her diptychs variously highlight a change in vantage point, give the impression of a missing moment, or prompt a feeling of anticipation about what might happen next. Yet one of the more challenging aspects of her work initially was the manner in which it draws attention to the contingencies of photography. Contrary to the notion of the "decisive moment," as famously attributed to Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sonneman's diptychs raise the suspicion that one moment might be just as good as the next.
Born in Chicago in 1946, Sonneman completed a BFA at the University of Ilinois (1967) and an MA at the University of New Mexico (1969), she came to national attention when she was featured in the 1971 exhibition, Young Photographers, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Along with her interests in photography, Sonneman has developed of body work as a painter, using oils and watercolor. She resides in New York City.