William Mortensen, "Untitled," N.D.

William Mortensen, >em>Untitled, N.D.

William Mortensen took this photograph of Kitty when she was about 21. The image fits Mortensen’s description as a Romantic–this could almost be a Gabriel Rossetti painting. Mouth slightly open, head tilted up, she is looking–where? Heavenward? Kitty was extraordinarily kind. Throughout her life, she gave everything away. After she died, I realized that, for her safety, my sister should have been a nun. Here, she seems both pure and sensual. Slender, with naturally curly hair that fell to her waist, she never knew how beautiful she really was.

Aftershe died in 2000, I found the prints the photographer had given her from the modeling session. It is said that Ansel Adams hated Mortensen’s technique so much he tried to discourage any serious consideration of his work. I was glad to learn of Mortensen’s revival and wonder if Kitty’s portraits have ever been published.

Nancy Buchanan, Artist

Further Reading