About the Photographer
An early member of Chicago's New Bauhaus, Lerner played a significant role in the history of modern abstract photography with his experimental processes, including the use of a light box to conduct experiments with controlled light. Lerner combines a powerful graphic quality with the Bauhaus's "straight" style of image-making. In his portfolio Nathan Lerner: Fifteen Photographs, Lerner photographs representations of eyes, linking representations of eyes found in such random places as shopping bags in New York to fish carcasses in Tokyo. These images illicit associations regarding the meaning of seeing and looking.
Nathan Lerner was born in 1913 in Chicago. He studied at the National Academy of Art and The School of The Art Institute of Chicago before becoming one of the thirty-three initial students at László Moholy-Nagy's New Bauhaus in 1937 and among the five BS graduates of its successor, the School of Design, in 1941. After graduation he became head of the school's photography program, and eventually the head of production design at the Institute of Design (formerly the School of Design). When Moholy-Nagy died, Lerner became acting educational director of the school (1946-47). He left the Institute of Design in 1949 to found Lerner Design Associates. He was later named professor of art at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1967-72). Numerous gallery and museum shows have showcased Lerner's work. Nathan Lerner: Fifty Years of Photographic Inquiry was produced by the Museum of Contemporary Photography with the Chicago Cultural Center in 1994.