About Rondal Partridge

  • Rondal and Padraic, 1922
    Rondal and Padraic, 1922

     Rondal and his twin, Padraic, were born in 1917 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 come to life in the developing bath. Soon he was processing his own sun prints alongside her. The San Francisco Bay Area photographic community was small and close-knit in the years Ron was growing up. Photographers swapped stories and cameras, and shared techniques and darkrooms. Family friends Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, and many others were part of Ron's daily life. (Photo by Imogen Cunningham.)

  • Dorothea Lange Holding her Large Format Camera's Black Slide, 1937
    Dorothea Lange Holding her Large Format Camera's Black Slide, 1937

    At seventeen, seriously interested in a photographic career, Ron apprenticed with Dorothea Lange. He would drive Dorothea up and down the back roads of California as she took her well-known images of migrant workers. "Slow down, Ron, slow down," she'd insist. At night, long after she'd gone to bed, he'd work in her darkroom, developing her film and making prints. (Photo by Rondal Partridge)

  • A Different View of Ansel late 1930s
    A Different View of Ansel late 1930s

    In 1937 and 1938 Ron was also an assistant to Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park. Ron lugged Ansel's heavy large-format cameras up into the Sierras, and worked in the darkroom and the Best-Adams family studio and gallery.  After being fired three times, mostly for being a prankster, he went out on his own. (Photo by Rondal Partridge)

  • Black Star Photo Agency New York 1940
    Black Star Photo Agency New York 1940

    In early 1940 Ron was hired as a photographer for the National Youth Administration (NYA), part of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), photographing youth in the western states. (These photographs are housed at the National Archives in Washington DC.)  Later in the year, Ron accepted an offer from the photography agency Black Star in New York, as an assignment photographer. (Black Star Office by Rondal Partridge)

  • Charles Martin residence
    Charles Martin residence

    After 4 years in the U.S. Navy as a photographer, Ron worked as a freelance photographer on the West Coast for architects creating residences and commercial spaces in the new Mid-Century Modernism Style. He worked for architects Joseph Eichler, Tommy Church, Don Olsen, Mario Ciampi, as well as Le Corbusier. (Photo by Rondal Partridge)

  • Environment, Airport Parking, San Francisco, 1965


    Airport Parking, San Francisco, 1965

    Concerned with rapid population growth and increasing pollution, Rondal began to document both urban and rural environmental destruction. (Photo by Rondal Partridge)

  • Expanding into Filmmaking and Media, Pave it and Paint it Green, Yosemite, circa 1965

    Expanding into Filmmaking and Media

    Pave it and Paint it Green, Yosemite, circa 1965

    (Pave it photo here) In the 1960s and 1970s, Ron also worked as a filmmaker, making films on subjects as varied as painter Wayne Thiebaut, Yosemite Valley (Pave It and Paint it Green), and education, (They're Your Kids) as well as a multi-media presentation at the Oakland Museum titled The Water Movie. (Photo by Rondal Partridge)

  • Closer Views, Anise Quartet, 1995

    Closer Views

    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 2015 Ron passed away in Berkeley, California. (Photo-construction by Rondal Partridge)