Minor White has become one of the most influential American photographers of the post-war era. Through his mystical approach to photography and "informed by the esoteric arts, eastern religion and philosophy, Minor White's belief in the spiritual qualities of photography made him an intensely personal and enigmatic teacher, editor and curator.
White's initial experience with photography was though his botanical studies at the University of Minnesota where he learned to develop and print photomicrography images, a view of life that he saw as akin to modern art forms". White believed that forms communicated mood and meaning, and that darkness and light, objects and spaces, carried a spiritual, as well as, material meaning.
Born in 1908 in Minneapolis, White received a BS degree in Botany from the University of Minnesota in 1933. White moved to Portland, Oregon in 1937 where he worked as a photographer and taught photography until he was drafted in 1942. After the war White travelled to New York where he studied art history and in 1946 he began teaching under Ansel Adams at the California School of Fine Art in the photography department. During this time White and Adams became friends going on to found Aperture magazine with Dorothea Lange, the Newhalls, Barbara Morgan, and others in 1952.
White continued to take photographs as well he taught photography at both the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He cofounded the Photographic Education program and edited Aperture magazine until 1970. White's work was displayed at many prominent institutions and galleries including the San Francisco Art Museum. Minor White passed away in 1976.