Rondal and Padraic, 1922
Born in 1917, Rondal and his twin, Padraic, were born to the photographer Imogen Cunningham and etcher Roi Partridge. Ron began helping his mother in her darkroom at the age of five, standing on an apple box to watch her prints develop out and soon, process his own sun prints. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a time when the local photographers would often share stories, techniques and darkrooms - family friends Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange and many others were just a part of Ron's daily life.
Dorothea Lange with Graflex 2, 1937
Becoming seriously interested in photography by the time he was in high school, Ron became Dorothea Lange's apprentice at the age of seventeen. Ron would drive Dorothea up and down the back roads of California as she created her well-known images of migrant workers.
A Different View of Ansel late 1930s
In 1937 and 1938 Ron was also an assistant to Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park, working with in the park at the Best-Adams family studio and gallery. Ron worked in Ansel's darkroom and also assisted him in the mountains, carrying the heavy large-format cameras into the Sierra. After being fired three times, mostly for being a prankster, he went out on his own.
Black Star Photo Agency New York 1940
In 1940 Ron became a photographer for the National Youth Administration, a federal program, photographing young people in the western states. These photographs now reside in the National Archives in Washington DC. Later that summer Ron accepted an offer from Black Star Publishing to go to New York to be on their roster as an assignment photographer.
Charles Martin residence
After 4 years in the Navy as a photographer, Ron returns to California to work as a freelance photographer on the west coast, focusing primarily on magazine and architectural work, which he continued to do for three decades.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Ron worked as a filmmaker as well as a photographer. He produced a film on the painter Wayne Thiebaut, a film on Yosemite titled Pave It and Paint it Green , a film on education, They're Your Kids, and a multi-media presentation for the Oakland Museum titled The Water Movie
Anise Quartet, 1995
In addition to freelance photography, Ron accepted positions to teach film and photography at the San Francisco Art Institute, the University of California at Santa Barbara and California State University at Hayward in the 1970s.
Ron and Elizabeth managed the Imogen Cunningham Trust beginning in 1980, for the next two and a half decades. During this time Ron printed contemporary platinum and silver gelatin prints for the Cunningham Trust.
In June of 1915 Ron passes away in Berkeley, California.