Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Pictorialism and Secessionism.

Today in class we are looking at these two early photographic movements.

This style seems to entail taking a photograph and then making it look like a painting. Photographs lacked sharpness, were often printed in one or more colours that were not black and white, and were often manipulated to look like the prints had brush strokes in them. It was a style that developed during the late 19th and early 20th century, and was more focused on making sure that photography was considered an art form than it was on what was actually in front of the camera. Many people believed that the camera was nothing more than a tool to document reality, not create art.

Photo-secession came about because of pictorialism. As defined by Wikipedia, it was an early 20th century movement that promoted photography as a fine art in general, photographic pictorialism in general. It was a movement started by Alfred Stieglitz and F. Holland Day, and it held the viewpoint that the importance of a photograph was not what was in front of the camera, but the manipulation done to the image by the photographer so that they could get their vision across.

Pierre Dubreuil
Pierre Dubreuil was a French photographer often referred to as a Modernist who laboured under a Pictorialist veil. He first started taking photos at the age of sixteen, in 1888, but it wasn't until 1896 that he began to become better known in the circle of pictorial photographers. He was also known as a creator of bizarre distoritions.

Between 1904 and 1930 he chose to use the Bromoil process to make his prints. This is a process that often resulted in soft, paint-like qualities, which was popular at the time and has started becoming popular again today.

Pierre Dubreuil
Elephantaisie, 1908.

This is one of his more famous shots, evidently taken in Paris. Although I generally prefer sharper images, I find that I'm quite enjoying the painterly quality of this one. I also like that the subject is something unexpected, that the Eiffel Tower has been pushed into the background in favour of something that I haven't seen a thousand times before.

Pictorialism and photo-secessionism are probably not two movements that I would say I thoroughly enjoy. I don't mind looking at the style every now and then, but they aren't particular styles that I think I would really enjoy trying to portray.  

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