ISBN: 9781785514548

Publication date: 11 Mar 2024

Author: Brier, Jessica D.

Making a Life in Photography: Rollie McKenna is the first career survey of prolific American photographer Rosalie (Rollie) Thorne McKenna (1918–2003). After graduating from Vassar College in 1940, McKenna worked independently as a sought-after architectural and portrait photographer, making unique yet underrecognised contributions to American modernism and documentary photography. McKenna’s work was published in numerous books and magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Fortune. The Museum of Modern Art’s 1955 landmark exhibition Latin American Modernism Since 1945 featured her architectural photographs. She made iconic portraits of artists and writers, including W. H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Alexander Calder, Truman Capote, T. S. Eliot, Laura Gilpin, Henry Moore, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Anne Sexton, Dylan Thomas, and Eudora Welty. McKenna’s story as a queer woman would be lost if not for her dedication to preserving her own legacy. She embraced photography to explore the complexities of human experience — including her own.