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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Margaret Watkins

Dates:  1884 - 1969
Born:  Canada, ON, Hamilton
Died:  UK, Scotland, Glasgow
Active:  Canada
Canadian woman photographer who was a student at the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York from 1914 and in 1917 she became a full-time instructor with her students including Doris Ulmann, Ralph Steiner and Paul Outerbridge. in 1921 there was a feature of her photographs entitled "Photography comes to the kitchen" in Vanity Fair. She was a highly successful commercial and advertising photographer working on assignments with clients including Macy's and J. Walter Thompson. The time that she was doing this was the 1920s when there was a shift from Pictorialism to Modernism and she was able to bridge the divide between soft-focused romanticism and the harder edges of the industrial world. Her advertising photographs of gloves, soap, or a packet of cigarettes had a formal beauty that was ideally suited to the times. In 1929 she moved to Glasgow to care for two sick relatives and her career ended although she did take photographs of the dockyards in Glasgow, the Soviet Union and Paris . At this point her work could have vanished into obscurity but a neighour, Joseph Mulholland, was left her prints and her fame has gradually spread with the assistance of the Robert Mann Gallery and a retrospective at the The National Gallery of Canada in 2012.

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Margaret Watkins
Self-Portrait, Paris 
Family history 
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Useful printed stuff

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• Lahs-Gonzales, Olivia & Lippard, Lucy 1997 Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century. Selections from the Helen Kornblum Collection (Saint Louis Art Museum, D.A.P.) [Margaret Watkins is included in this overview of women photographers.] 
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