Jeannette Klute

Jeannette Klute (1918 – 2009) was an American photographer, she worked with development at the Eastman Kodak Company and was a pioneer in the artistic possibilities of color photography. Klute also paved the way for women to work in the photography industry.

Jeannette Klute was born in Rochester, New York in 1918. At the time, there were not so many career choices for women, they were largely referred to working as teachers or in health care. She graduated from high school in 1936, then applied to the Institute of Mechanics (now known as the Rochester Institute of Technology) in Rochester where she studied at the Department of Photography Technology. Klute was one of three women in the training with the goal of getting a job at the local company Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak). After her studies she worked for a while but after a while she took more courses on advanced photography and color processes in 1944. She also earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester.

Klute began working at Kodak in October 1938 as a lab assistant, one of the few positions women had to apply for at the time. There she worked on improving the development technique. In 1945 she became head of the colour printing group and in 1949 she became a research photographer and led the research studio at the Division of Color Technology. It developed the processes and materials used in color photography. For much of his career, Klute worked as a photo illustrator for physicist Ralph M. Evans and illustrated many of his lectures, articles and books.

From the late 1960s and 1970s, Klute was head of photographic technology studio at Kodak. She made sure to hire women for most of the studio's research photography and engineering services which was very unusual at the time, the driving force being that she thought it was important to show women's skills.

Klute often brought his large-format camera into the forest and used a short depth of field to document the local flora and fauna. She helped develop a more abstract style. Her new and innovative techniques led to colour photography becoming more common as an art form. Klute's colour photography was exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. In 1975, Klute became one of fifty women selected for the groundbreaking exhibition Women in Photography: A Historical Survey, in which she was called "an innovator in color photography."

In 1954, Jeannette Klute published a book with her work entitled "Woodland Portraits". It is regarded as an important work in the history of color photography. She sorted the images by season and added poems to bring out the emotions of the viewer. Her work received good reviews and was groundbreaking in the field of photography.

After retiring, she began painting but continued to use nature as inspiration and created semi-abstract works to explore color and form. She died in 2009.

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