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Jeannette Klute

(Rochester, New York, 1918 - 2009, Honeoye, New York)

American

Jeannette Klute became interested in photography at a time when career choices for women seemed limited to nursing or teaching. However in 1938 she enrolled in the photography technology work-study program at the Rochester Institute of Technology through the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. There, she worked extensively on perfecting the dye transfer process, a photographic technique in which the colors of the subject are resolved by optical filters into three components, each of which is recorded on a separate gelatin negative. The three negatives are converted into relief positives in which the depth of the gelatin is related to the intensity of the color component; each image is then saturated with a dye of complementary color, and the finished print is assembled by transferring the dyes one at a time to a suitable surface. Klute worked at the Eastman Kodak company in Rochester, where she was employed for 43 years before retiring in 1981. She began as a lab assistant and photographic illustrator and ended as a director and research photographer in the Visual Research Studio of the Color Control Division. Using only natural light and being careful to remain environmentally conscious, she spent many years investigating color and demonstrating the potential of dye transfer by photographing nature. Her work resulted in some of the finest examples of color printing and all of its capabilities. Jeannette Klute’s photographs have hung in museums in Paris, London and the United States, next to such greats as Edward Weston and Margaret Bourke-White. Her nature photographs have been shown in more than 250 one-woman shows throughout the world. Her work was featured in Edward Steichen’s 1950 exhibition All Color Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, and was also invited to submit work for the San Francisco Museum of Art’s landmark exhibition Women of Photography: An Historical Survey in 1975.

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