Naomi Savage

(1927) American


Born in New Jersey, where she now resides, Savage studied photography with Berenice Abbott at the New School for Social Research in 1943, and studied art at Bennington College from 1944-47. Her trademark exploration of innovative techniques was influenced by an apprenticeship with Man Ray, her uncle, and further evolved amid increasing experimentation with alternative photographic, mechanical, and electronic processes throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Her approach represents an involvement with "process as medium," and an interest in art as image manipulation, a pursuit shared by contemporaries like Robert Heinecken, Betty Hahn, and Bea Nettles. Savage says that she has explored various techniques "in an attempt to stretch photography with a personal interpretation." She has experimented extensively with photogravure and photoengraving, employing these mechanical printing techniques for aesthetic effects rather than duplication.
Savage uses inked and intaglio relief prints to explore variations in color and texture, and considers the metal plate on which the photograph has been etched to be a work of art in its own right. She has also combined media--collage, negative images, texture screening, multiple exposure, photograms, solarization, toning, printing on metallic foils--and made laser color prints. Her eclecticism has accompanied a variety of subject matter and imagery, which has included portraits, landscapes, human figures, mannequins, masks, toys, kitchen utensils, dental and opthalmological equipment. In 1971 she installed a large mural of etched magnesium panels commemorating Lyndon Baines Johnson's life for his Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. Savage has received numerous awards and prizes, including a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
Lisa Soccio
Handy et al. Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection, New York: Bulfinch Press in association with the International Center of Photography, 1999, p. 227.
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