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Roger Hicks
08-08-2009, 06:58
bmattock is a fellow admirer of 'pictorialism', the photographic equivalent of "all's fair in love and war", and the antithesis of Ansel Adams and his everything-razor-sharp-on-large-format cronies.

Actually, I quite like a lot of AA's early work as well, and equally, I have to admit that many of Mortensen's pictures were awful. So were many other shots from the Pictorialists: muddy and unsharp for the sake of being muddy and unsharp, much like the vast majority of modern 'bokeh' shots which follow the fashion and have no detectable artistic or even technical merit.

But many 'pictorial' pictures weren't at all bad: a lot better than yet another super-sharp faux-wilderness Ansel-Adams-wannabee shot. What, then, are your own personal favourites among your own less-than-sharp, more-or-less-manipulated pictures?

Here's one of my favourites, a Thambar portrait: soft focus lens, contrast added, exposure darkened to compensate for the flatness and flare of a 1938 uncoated bottle.

Cheers,

R.

bmattock
08-08-2009, 08:09
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/73/153067995_abdab5f78c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/153067995/)

I stuck a copier lens on my Canon T-60 and took a photo.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1036/539608072_831a09c2bc.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/539608072/)

Taken with a Voigtlander Avus (Skopar lens).

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3267/2811922795_76c88cf22e.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/2811922795/)


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2169/2812205853_aa065fe092.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/2812205853/)

Meyer-Gorlitz Trioplan (M42) stuck on a Pentax *ist.


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/73/168891883_3208b1975c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/168891883/)

B&L 157mm f/2.7 Baltar (cine lens converted from Mitchell mount to M42) on Pentax *ist.

kbg32
08-08-2009, 08:11
I love Mortensen. I can appreciate AA. I just never liked the conspiracy of AA and Beaumont Newhall, to expunge Mortensen and the Pictorialists from photo history. AA hated, despised Mortensen for all that he stood for.

Zeppelin - Olympus Pen and Polaroid Polapan.

bmattock
08-08-2009, 08:11
Oh, and by the way - I love my Portragon. I'm not sure it's all that great on a digital SLR, what with the crop factor. Seems to work better as intended - on a film SLR.

bmattock
08-08-2009, 08:12
I love Mortensen. I can appreciate AA. I just never liked the conspiracy of AA and Beaumont Newhall, to expunge Mortensen and the Pictorialists from photo history. AA hated, despised Mortensen for all that he stood for.

Zeppelin - Olympus Pen and Polaroid Polapan.

I agree with you on this.

Roger Vadim
08-08-2009, 09:34
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2661/3732051496_f2e515ccce.jpg

Roger Vadim
08-08-2009, 09:37
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1032/1158988484_d6120379f2_o.jpg

uncoated Summar & some "cleaning marks"

mhv
08-08-2009, 16:04
On the topic of AA and the anti-pictorialism conspiracy, here's what Berenice Abbott had to say about Stieglitz, Weston, Adams, and their minions:

The greatest influence obscuring the entire field of photography has, in my opinion, been pictorialism. But first let me define it: pictorialism means chiefly the making of pleasant, pretty, artificial pictures in the superficial spirit of certain minor painters.

What is more, the imitators of these superficial qualities are not aware of the true values for which painting strives. Photography can never grow up if it imitates other medium.

It has to walk alone; it has to be itself.

These latter-day pictorialists did not know that they were pictorialists. They were what I can only call, for lack of a better word, the advanced or super-pictorial school. The individual picture, like a painting, was the thing. (1950)

slumry
08-08-2009, 16:51
The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson had a show that was 1/2 F64 and 1/2 Pictorialism. Sometimes a photographer would qualify for both camps. I went with the expectation that I would hate the Pictorialist stuff and that F64 would look so much better. I actually was more fascinated with the Pictoralists and the techniques they used. They had a very different way of seeing, not necessarily better or worse. In any event, until you see the actual print you really have not seen the work and should be careful about making judgments.

kbg32
08-08-2009, 17:08
Pictorialist prints are quite amazing.

MarkoKovacevic
08-08-2009, 17:17
Is the Holga camera included in this style of image quality?

bmattock
08-08-2009, 18:37
Is the Holga camera included in this style of image quality?

My first thought would be to answer 'no', but then I thought again about it. Now I want to answer 'yes and no', because the Holga (and Diana and other 'toy' cameras) are prized for different reasons.

The original pictorialists used soft lenses intentionally, so in that sense, you could say a Holga is not unlike what the pictorialists did in that sense. However, the pictorialists were not necessarily after interesting aberrations and lucky mistakes, but an overall painterly quality (it was this very notion that made the straight photography camp so angry with them, claiming they were simply trying to ape what painters did). The Holga is not a 'soft' lens per se, but a 'bad' lens (I realize that this is intentional, but it's still a crappy lens). I think there is a difference.

Some more information which may help:

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pict/hd_pict.htm

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/f64/hd_f64.htm

Pictorialists were printers as much as photographers - they did their art in the darkroom. Group f/64 photographers were printers too, but in their darkrooms, they strove for accuracy and 'realism' above all else.

Take a look at this blog entry, I think you'll find it fascinating. Both Steichen and Adams were pictorialists before they were Group f/64:

http://cameraobscura.busdraghi.net/2008/tecniche-antiche-alternative/gomma-bicromata/fra-il-pittorialismo-e-il-modernismo-di-edward-steichen-e-la-maledizione-di-ansel-adams/

bmattock
08-08-2009, 18:38
Pictorialist prints are quite amazing.

It is all about the print when it comes to pictorialism, at least the original sort.

Roger Hicks
08-09-2009, 02:17
I should've guess that this would attract fewer views than a gearhead thread, though the responses are illuminating and welcome. All right: let's see if this brings the gearheads in, rather than saying 'what pictures do you like...'

What cameras do you use to achieve pictorialist effects? Do you use two enlargers? What other gear secrets are there?

Cheers,

R.

bmattock
08-09-2009, 06:18
I should've guess that this would attract fewer views than a gearhead thread, though the responses are illuminating and welcome. All right: let's see if this brings the gearheads in, rather than saying 'what pictures do you like...'

What cameras do you use to achieve pictorialist effects? Do you use two enlargers? What other gear secrets are there?

Cheers,

R.

In my case, it's less about the cameras and more about the lenses, although I do employ a vintage Voigtlander Avus plate camera with Rada rollfilm back in order to achieve a certain look at times, since it has a larger media for shallower DoF and some limited movements for more precise focus control. In lenses, I tend to like the older German glass, often from second-tier manufacturers such as Meyer-Gorlitz and Enna. However, I will stick just about any lens on a camera if I can, just to see what it will do.

For this covered bridge in Michigan, I used several cameras to compare their output. The first was my aforementioned Avus:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1173/538198241_8a19bcaa79.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/538198241/)

Here's the low-contrast, light-leaking output:


http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1036/539608072_831a09c2bc.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/539608072/)

Same scene, but taken with a Yashica 12 TLR (Tessar-style lens):

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1296/539762647_ce08122072.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/539762647/)

Some will prefer the sharper image, but I enjoy both, each on their own merits. I see the Avus image as more closely-related to a pictorialist viewpoint (although it isn't one of my favorites, just a good exemplar).

To finish up, here's the same scene with a Brownie Hawkeye (meniscus lens, no focus, no aperture, no shutter speed control, just point and click):


http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1124/539792040_35c38decf2.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/539792040/)

DavidH
08-10-2009, 12:45
I should've guess that this would attract fewer views than a gearhead thread, though the responses are illuminating and welcome. All right: let's see if this brings the gearheads in, rather than saying 'what pictures do you like...'

What cameras do you use to achieve pictorialist effects? Do you use two enlargers? What other gear secrets are there?

Cheers,

R.

I have to confess I'd never heard of Pictorialism - so thanks for raising this...have spent a little while looking up info on the net to learn more.

As an approach, is it welded to its place in history or can it be used for similar effect with photoshop and creative use of modern cameras - or does it only apply to hand worked prints etc?

Either way, interesting stuff.

bmattock
08-10-2009, 12:51
As an approach, is it welded to its place in history or can it be used for similar effect with photoshop and creative use of modern cameras - or does it only apply to hand worked prints etc?

Pictorialism had it's moment in history, as you say. However, that does not mean the methods cannot be used by contemporary photographers. Since it was primarily about results (the print), it hardly matters that we don't work over a huge negative or print with a razor blade, as Mortensen did. The effect is what is important. Do it in photoshop, do it with a lens choice, etc, etc.

Perhaps it would be best called 'neo-pictorialism' if practiced today, but otherwise, I don't see why it can't be done using whatever technical methods one desires.

Roger Hicks
08-10-2009, 12:52
I have to confess I'd never heard of Pictorialism - so thanks for raising this...have spent a little while looking up info on the net to learn more.

As an approach, is it welded to its place in history or can it be used for similar effect with photoshop and creative use of modern cameras - or does it only apply to hand worked prints etc?

Either way, interesting stuff.

Dear David,

All's fair in love and war... and pictorialism! So yes, you can do ANYTHING as long as it makes a good picture (for a given value of 'good')(or indeed 'picture').

Cheers,

R.

DavidH
08-10-2009, 12:52
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/73/153067995_abdab5f78c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wigwam/153067995/)

I stuck a copier lens on my Canon T-60 and took a photo.



That is a fantastic shot. Love the result.

bob338
08-10-2009, 13:24
Actually, I quite like a lot of AA's early work as well, and equally, I have to admit that many of Mortensen's pictures were awful.
Cheers,

R.

i actually framed a series of original Mortensen's pieces a few months ago. this little old lady came into my store with a dusty portfolio of pictures of herself that he had taken. they were her payment for modeling. she was probably 80 and still quite beautiful.

while she was here she started talking about the old days and how AA tortured William. she said he would call often enough that she actually heard a few of the calls and he would just lay into him. AA supposedly would call art directors that were planning shows including Mortensen and threaten to never do business with them if they proceeded.

this is the rambling of a friend of Mortensen's, so take it at face value, but she was pretty convincing.

bob

bmattock
08-10-2009, 14:47
this is the rambling of a friend of Mortensen's, so take it at face value, but she was pretty convincing.


It is consistent with what has been reported elsewhere. I do not know why they harbored such antipathy, but it was clear they did. I find it repugnant.

Stan
10-08-2009, 23:55
I've been lucky enough to see a set of Mortensen's original prints, and I can only admire his skill and imagination.

Spider67
10-09-2009, 00:25
Be it pictorialism or cross processing, things like that can be easily ridden to death if they are applied to every shot without thought, so that people get fed up seeing it. Both methods mentioned also have results that stand out clearly, whereas tack sharp pictures can be boring but easily forgotten.
Thanks for brinig up Mortensen, I'll look him up immediately.
Sad thing that greats like AA or Picasso also have some really dark stains in their personal history. Even Sadder that there are enough people who thinks one has to behave that was in order to be "great"
Bill I like your flower picture very much. It also serves to show my point in a thread show your p-st pictures there would be suddenly an abundance of pictrures by people who follow your example and suddenly we have "pictorialism as a nusiance"
The covered bridge would not be prictorialism for my eye.

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 01:42
The problem I have with Pictorialism isn’t so much with the methods or practise, but with the subjects they chose to use and the composition they employed.

Pictorialism always seems to lack confidence in some way, always a reflection of another art form rather than form in itself, in it's own right. Nice but why didn’t they do more with it at the time

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 02:24
The problem I have with Pictorialism isn’t so much with the methods or practise, but with the subjects they chose to use and the composition they employed.

Pictorialism always seems to lack confidence in some way, always a reflection of another art form rather than form in itself, in it's own right. Nice but why didn’t they do more with it at the time

Sturgeon's Law? (Nine tenths of anything is crap?)

When I read your post, my immediate reaction was "Yes, he's right, why did I never think of that?"

On further reflection, though, I suspect that Sturgeon's Law has a large part to play and the the reason why f/64 vs. pictorialism was so poisonous and vituperative was because both were being superseded by 'miniature' cameras (including Rolleis as well as Leicas) so they were fighting a rearguard action. It's a bit like the Life of Brian: the Judaean People's Liberation Front and the People's Liberation Front of Judaea fighting each other more than the Romans.

Consider Erich Salomon and his Ermanox, before, I think, even 1920. Both f/64 and pictorialism were idealizations, in different ways, whereas Salomon (and of course HCB later) were not. Or if they were, they were a completely different idealization.

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 03:05
Sturgeon's Law? (Nine tenths of anything is crap?)

When I read your post, my immediate reaction was "Yes, he's right, why did I never think of that?"

On further reflection, though, I suspect that Sturgeon's Law has a large part to play and the the reason why f/64 vs. pictorialism was so poisonous and vituperative was because both were being superseded by 'miniature' cameras (including Rolleis as well as Leicas) so they were fighting a rearguard action. It's a bit like the Life of Brian: the Judaean People's Liberation Front and the People's Liberation Front of Judaea fighting each other more than the Romans.

Consider Erich Salomon and his Ermanox, before, I think, even 1920. Both f/64 and pictorialism were idealizations, in different ways, whereas Salomon (and of course HCB later) were not. Or if they were, they were a completely different idealization.

Cheers,

R.

Yes but consider that both the Pictorialists and Group f64 went nowhere, at a time when, as you say, cameras were finding there way into middle class hands, their style never developed never changed or formed the bases for anything else

There wasn’t a graphic idiom for photography at the time so both the Pictorialists and Group f64 aped “proper art” in one way or another. The former Impressionism with whom they were contemporary and the latter the English landscape school that had been influential in the first half of the 19th century and remained the popular concept of “artistic” even in the early 20th.

If one contrast that with the development of the “French Postcard” through the same period you have conclude the real talent of the time was working in pornography

ZorkiKat
10-09-2009, 03:14
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3131/3081710541_93756b8c73_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3286/3081710415_b90136263b_o.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v93/zorkikat/col-007.jpg

I get into trouble with people who say that the above falls under 'lomography'. I correct their impression (notion, thought, etc) that the above "style" is really pictorialist and predates that over-hyped fad. These people often have no sense of history and believe (and will insist) that everything which isn't sharp, or is fuzzy, or grainy, or have wierd colours was invented only at end of the 1990s when two Viennese students came out of St Petersburg with an LKA....

Dave Wilkinson
10-09-2009, 03:19
If one contrast that with the development of the “French Postcard” through the same period you have conclude the real talent of the time was working in pornography Any illustrations for this point?:p

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 03:22
Yes but consider that both the Pictorialists and Group f64 went nowhere, at a time when, as you say, cameras were finding there way into middle class hands, their style never developed never changed or formed the bases for anything else

There wasn’t a graphic idiom for photography at the time so both the Pictorialists and Group f64 aped “proper art” in one way or another. The former Impressionism with whom they were contemporary and the latter the English landscape school that had been influential in the first half of the 19th century and remained the popular concept of “artistic” in the early 20th.

If one contrast that with the development of the “French Postcard” through the same period you have conclude the real talent of the time was working in pornography

Dear Stewart,

I am sure you are right on all counts, though I shall have to conduct further research into feelthy French postcards (no doubt there is a Taschen book!).

Cheers,

Roger

ZorkiKat
10-09-2009, 03:26
Dear Stewart,

I am sure you are right on all counts, though I shall have to conduct further research into feelthy French postcards (no doubt there is a Taschen book!).

Cheers,

Roger


I have seen one such book, not by Taschen though, but still feelthy by all means!

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 03:37
Dear Stewart,

I am sure you are right on all counts, though I shall have to conduct further research into feelthy French postcards (no doubt there is a Taschen book!).

Cheers,

Roger

porn from the start of the 20th century was based on Victorian classicism, so was almost free of the erotic to our eyes.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3477/3704208199_7ebe930bf1.jpg

by the 20's the photographers had learned how to portray erotic , and we had learned how to interpret it

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3435/3704211369_576a443b48.jpg

It's difficult to believe those photos are probably only about 20 years apart, sorry but somebody has to study this stuff you'll understand

P.S. it’s interesting that the second one has true Pictorialists tendencies

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 03:39
I have seen one such book, not by Taschen though, but still feelthy by all means!

Ah...

I was going to reply anyway, to your previous post, saying that 'Lomography' has become a quick, easy, lazy ex post facto description of a style of photography that has always existed -- or if not always, at least for a very long time indeed.

But whether you call it Pictorialism or Lomography, I suspect that Sturgeon's Law is in this case an understatement: try 99%.

In general I much prefer conventional technical quality, but even when that is 'lacking' there can still be an extraordinary jolt of recognition, which I certainly got from the table/chair/mug/bread shot. That jolt is substantially independent of technical quality: a technically perfect image of the same subject might or might not deliver it.

To me, though, the trouble is that there is often an omitted middle. You (one) can make great pictures on outdated film with dust and scratches and rotten focus and everything else, THEREFORE all pictures made on outdated film with dust and scratches and rotten focus and everything else are great...

Cheers,

R.

Spider67
10-09-2009, 05:02
...I remember when reading the LIFE photobooks that beside Baron de Meyer also Pictorialism was described in a derisive manner. Unusaul in the LIFE books as thgey were ususally very compassionate when writing about photographers.
I notoced that the wikipedia article on Mortensen is bearely a stub, Isn't somebody knowledgeable enough here to write one. Othetrwise AA would have "won"
Not everything containing nude skin should be subsumed as as "porn". That would be too easy...

mabelsound
10-09-2009, 05:10
I occasionally go for painterly effects, and this thread makes me think I should do it more often. This is a picture of some chickens shot through a thin sheet of ice that I was carrying around the yard with corn tongs:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3363/3344092773_f6ca9d70dc.jpg

And this was shot through a plastic magnifying glass and manipulated in Lightroom. Both pics were with a digital P&S.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3613/3344928002_d76a326639.jpg

GoneSavage
10-09-2009, 05:19
Is that a spine?!

newspaperguy
10-09-2009, 05:20
Roger, I met Mortenson at a PPA show in Chicago in the early 1950s. His prints, although not to my taste, were striking.

I wonder if AA's hatred came more from his distaste for WM's subject matter (AA called him 'antichrist.') and WM's sexual preferences?

mabelsound
10-09-2009, 05:24
Is that a spine?!

Yeah, it's a deer carcass I found next to my house over the winter! A couple days later some coyotes dragged it away.

ZorkiKat
10-09-2009, 05:27
More 'pictorialist' attempts, using an old viewcamera, a magnifying lens (loupe) and Polaroid instant BW:

http://www.zorkikat.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/R080811_002.jpg

http://www.zorkikat.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/R080811_001.jpg

...no manipulations...everything seen, as shot with the loupe + viewcamera.


And the camera, with the 'lens' taped in place, with one of the victims:

http://www.zorkikat.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/DSC_0150.JPG

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 05:36
Some great shots here. Loved the chicken and the Polaroid with cigarette.

Rick: I'd not heard the 'antichrist' reference, but given AA's antipathy, I'm not entirely surprised.

I suppose we are all of our time, but some of us at least try to be aware of that.

It's also the case that while (in my view) AA was the better photographer, WM was a vastly better writer. No-one reads AA for pleasure: the best you can hope for is information. WM you can read for entertainment as well.

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 06:07
Maybe Adams was in denial of his own latent tendencies.

The erotic in art has been problematic since the 4th century, a pity really, it blinds us to a lot of the ancient stuff.

ZorkiKat
10-09-2009, 06:24
Found this really really old ad for W. Mortensen's Books published by "Minicam". This ad was on the inside-back cover of the January 1940 issue of "Minicam Photography"

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v93/zorkikat/wilmortensen.jpg

He also wrote about technical stuff like AA....

Al Kaplan
10-09-2009, 06:27
It's a shame that sexual preference plays such a big role in what art is acceptable and what remains hidden, but it seems even more so in photography. There are plenty of novelists, poets, painters, etc. that are known to be gay or lesbian and nobody is afraid to write about it. Photography seems to be off limits.

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 06:43
Found this really really old ad for W. Mortensen's Books published by "Minicam". This ad was on the inside-back cover of the January 1940 issue of "Minicam Photography"

He also wrote about technical stuff like AA....

But much more readably!

Not only have I heard of the book: I have a copy, bought NEW (very old stock) a decade or so ago. It's the 1967 (!) edition. Frances is a great Mortensen fan and we have half a dozen of his books.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 06:44
It's a shame that sexual preference plays such a big role in what art is acceptable and what remains hidden, but it seems even more so in photography. There are plenty of novelists, poets, painters, etc. that are known to be gay or lesbian and nobody is afraid to write about it. Photography seems to be off limits.
Dear Al,

Mapplethorpe?

Cheers,

R.

Al Kaplan
10-09-2009, 06:50
Roger, I'm not about to "out" anybody but Maplethorp is only one of many.

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 06:58
Roger, I'm not about to "out" anybody but Maplethorp is only one of many.

david bailey and andy warhol, :wink: :wink:

Dave Wilkinson
10-09-2009, 07:07
It's now the 'dragging from the closet' thread! LOL :D

hawkeye
10-09-2009, 07:31
I have to agree with Roger that the f/64 vs/ pictorialism feud was more about their moment passing. It was at the peak of their antagonism that a whole slew of new photographers arrived using Rolleis (Imogen Cunningham and others ) and Leicas (HCB) and redefining the image.

It was I believe Marshall McCluhan who pointed out that every new medium copies the previous medium before it finds its own way.

In a way we can apply this to digital photography which is copying film photography and has yet to find its true form.

Sevral years ago I got one of Mortensen's books and found that no matter what you think of his pictures his warmth, enthusiasm and sense of fun shines through.

Hawkeye

zenlibra
10-09-2009, 07:52
Great discussion. I have much to learn about the history of photography.

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 07:57
porn from the start of the 20th century was based on Victorian classicism, so was almost free of the erotic to our eyes.

by the 20's the photographers had learned how to portray erotic , and we had learned how to interpret it

It's difficult to believe those photos are probably only about 20 years apart, sorry but somebody has to study this stuff you'll understand

P.S. it’s interesting that the second one has true Pictorialists tendencies

Dear Stewart,

I think the second one is late 30s: look at the hair and the eyebrows. I waited until I could ask Frances (who has two degrees in theatre and studied costume closely) and her immediate diagnosis was 30s, too: apparently the style of garter belt is not 20s either. It could even be early 40s.

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 08:23
Dear Stewart,

I think the second one is late 30s: look at the hair and the eyebrows. I waited until I could ask Frances (who has two degrees in theatre and studied costume closely) and her immediate diagnosis was 30s, too: apparently the style of garter belt is not 20s either. It could even be early 40s.

Cheers,

R.

I snatched them off the interweb without research, sorry; and while I concede hyperbole in this case I deny exaggeration.

I would still contend that at the start of the century pornography was the driving force in photography until Capa HBC et al took over in the 30’s when the publics’ interests became more sober

Spider67
10-09-2009, 08:57
:pI got those two just today....
Enjoy and guess.
They are somewhat pictorialist;)

.....eeeevil porn (I must admit I don't know the profession of these tow ladies. porn in the strict meaning of the word could only be the description of prostitutes)

Roger Hicks
10-09-2009, 10:09
I snatched them off the interweb without research, sorry; and while I concede hyperbole in this case I deny exaggeration.

I would still contend that at the start of the century pornography was the driving force in photography until Capa HBC et al took over in the 30’s when the publics’ interests became more sober
Dear Stewart,

Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not one that is serious enough to argue about. Certainly more important than either Pictorialism or f/64.

Cheers,

R.

sojournerphoto
10-09-2009, 12:33
On Adams, 'I've often looked at prints by Ansel Adams and they seem to be made up of a collection of disparate parts.' - James Ravillious (paraphrase). Adams did so much darkroom manipulation that it is far from reality to think he sought accuracy in his prints. he had an agenda that was about conservation and a view of the land. His legacy lives on in a lot of current (digital) landscape photography where one could believe one was failing if one didn't undertake great manipulation to ensure the maximum impact. Obviously, (extreme) manipulation of images extends far beyond landscape photorgaphy. Being interested in the way a lens projects an image on a piece of film or sensor, and how the film or sensor records it is pretty old hat nowadays:)

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2532/3996502826_d46b70b2cd_o.jpg


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3439/3995741603_c079d5dfdb_o.jpg


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2556/3996490366_0f8ebf1c43_o.jpg


http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3448/3996490158_239264e996_o.jpg


The first two were shot on tmax - 3200 at 400 and 100 respectively and the latter two are digital zone plate picture - part of a current project. I don't know if you will count it pictorialist, but they are expression of some current interests.
Mike

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 12:54
:pI got those two just today....
Enjoy and guess.
They are somewhat pictorialist;)

.....eeeevil porn (I must admit I don't know the profession of these tow ladies. porn in the strict meaning of the word could only be the description of prostitutes)

Pornography is the product of the English gentleman's "Grand Tour" it's a definition that's intended to avoid the staff enjoying the licentious whoring of their masters abroad.

Defined by the High Court pornography is "that which would tend to corrupt and deprave" those women are quit clearly models.

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 13:04
Dear Stewart,

Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not one that is serious enough to argue about. Certainly more important than either Pictorialism or f/64.

Cheers,

R.

There you go Roger, a better example, the textiles are mid 20's, but it's definitely an image in the modern idiom.



http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2537/3996535246_a8369a906e_o.jpg
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2537/3996535246_a8369a906e_o.jpg)

ferider
10-09-2009, 13:26
So, ... how pictorialist are some bokeh shots ?

http://ferider.smugmug.com/photos/301596030_PsmuN-XL.jpg

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 14:11
So, ... how pictorialist are some bokeh shots ?

http://ferider.smugmug.com/photos/301596030_PsmuN-XL.jpg

not at all, really, they pre-dated "out of focus" by 15 or 20 years, and "bokeh" by many more years and a whole culture, bokeh is more a fukinsei visual idiom than a Mortensen Pictorialist one

ferider
10-09-2009, 14:17
not at all, really, they pre-dated "out of focus" by 15 or 20 years, and "bokeh" by many more years and a whole culture, bokeh is more a fukinsei visual idiom than a Mortensen Pictorialist one

Understand the history, different equipment, modern bokeh craze, etc., but the basic emotional effect on the viewer when used now is related, no ? In that parts of the picture, created by (technically "imperfect") equipment are used as part of the photographs message.

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 14:44
Understand the history, different equipment, modern bokeh craze, etc., but the basic emotional effect on the viewer when used now is related, no ? In that parts of the picture, created by (technically "imperfect") equipment are used as part of the photographs message.

It's hard to say, there wouldn't have been that concept, no idiom, at the time .. remember the first impressionist exhibition took place in photographer's studio to "prove they could portray the modern world in the same way" bokeh is our concept not theirs.

With respect, the question is irrelevant

ferider
10-09-2009, 15:03
Then I must have misunderstood the OP, who I thought asked for our pictorialist pictures, and showcased a portrait taken recently with a Thambar lens. The respect is mutual :)

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 15:10
Then I must have misunderstood the OP, who I thought asked for our pictorialist pictures, and showcased a portrait taken recently with a Thambar lens. The respect is mutual :)

Sorry Roland .. I drifted off topic and muddled the point. I'll go look for a coffeenol print :)

Sparrow
10-09-2009, 15:26
a 105 Nikon some arabica and HP5, and Alice my daughter just after a dance class

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2509/3996085569_54c5f4265d_o.jpg (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2509/3996085569_54c5f4265d_o.jpg)

pggunn
10-09-2009, 16:01
Interesting thread. It's good to know that I'm not the only one who's bothered by the f/64 group's hostility towards the pictorialists and I believe Roger's comment:

the reason why f/64 vs. pictorialism was so poisonous and vituperative was because both were being superseded by 'miniature' cameras (including Rolleis as well as Leicas) so they were fighting a rearguard action.hit the nail on the head regarding possible reasons

hit the nail on the head.

Some may consider this blasphemy, but I was never a big fan of Ansel Adams. While I do admire some of his work and his technical skills, I much prefer the work of Cartier-Bresson, Margaret Bourke-White and the other great photo essayist's from Life magazine and their followers. Not that I don't like a good landscape, but after a while it becomes what Brooks Jensen (I believe) calls ARAT - another rock, another tree. At least that what it becomes when practiced by thousands of amateurs, like myself, imitating Adams and Weston.

I do admire some of the pictorialist's work, especially those that are more akin to Impressionism, to my eye, than the neoclassical stuff with models draped in costumes and melodramatic poses. That's just a bit too posed, too banal, too - is cheesy the right word? Their use of soft lenses doesn't bother me at all.

I also like the point someone made that for someone who complained so bitterly about the manipulations of the pictorialists, Adams sure did a lot of manipulation in the darkroom. He was a master of the technical aspects of photography, but I know of many people who have mastered the technical aspects but never developed an eye for composition. Admittedly, Adams mastered both, but for some reason, many of the photographs that speak to me most strongly are those that are technically flawed but very strong compositionally.

I don't claim that this is a great picture, but it is one of my efforts that I do happen to like. It was taken with a point and shoot digital camera. It's not very sharp, not well exposed, but I like it. I also enjoyed the photos posted earlier by some of you - the chickens through the glass, the flower taken using a copier lens and others.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2655/3996916036_b028497d90_b.jpg

amateriat
10-09-2009, 16:55
One of my old clients (http://maxinehenryson.com/) would have a lot to discuss on this.

I also knew of AA's antagonism toward pictorialism in general, and Mortensen in particular, but I never realized how crazed Adams got about this. Doesn't reflect too well on the man, to put it mildly.


- Barrett

bmattock
10-09-2009, 20:14
One of my old clients (http://maxinehenryson.com/) would have a lot to discuss on this.

I also knew of AA's antagonism toward pictorialism in general, and Mortensen in particular, but I never realized how crazed Adams got about this. Doesn't reflect too well on the man, to put it mildly.


- Barrett

It wasn't JUST him, you know. Beaumont Newhall and his wife Nancy made a concerted effort to keep Mortensen out of galleries, books, and museums. They nearly succeeded in erasing his name from history.

http://photo.net/photography-education-forum/005fZU

And not to you, Barrett, but to those who keep interpreting 'pictorialism' as 'soft focus' or 'blurry lens'. That's not the entire thing.

Soft-focus lenses were used, yes. However, the effect was to be 'painterly', and in particular, impressionist. The lens was one of many tools used to achieve that effect, but much work was also done in the darkroom, scraping and physically altering the negative and great attention was paid to the print itself, even down to distressing it and damaging it intentionally.

From Wikipedia:


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Demachy-Speed.jpg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictorialism)

manfromh
10-12-2009, 01:07
I guess these fit under the pictorialist description...

I used a mensicus lens in front of a speed graphic (which I dont own anymore), and shot them on paper negatives. I see the first photo as one of the best I've ever made.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3099/3222866382_7259c04646_o.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3501/3222012731_41ea2fb2df_o.jpg

Roger Hicks
10-12-2009, 01:11
That first pic is GORGEOUS.

Cheers,

R.

dee
10-12-2009, 01:28
Fascinating , seems I have some reading to do !
However the point that most of us ever see a shadow of the original work / print etc is all too valid ... how can anyone pass judgement on a poor reproduction or anything scanned for the web ? If an original is seen and not liked , fair enough , but I will never be in a postion to make a fair assesment [ where do those SSS go ? LOL ]
Frankly , I am all for experimenting with any genre , and it's always so that some photos work and others do not .

bmattock
10-21-2009, 19:35
If events do not conspire against me, I think I shall venture down to Ann Arbor this weekend:

http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/exhibitions/2009-lens.php

The Lens of Impressionism: Photography and Painting Along the Normandy Coast, 1850–1874

The project will showcase paintings, photographs, and drawings by some of the most treasured artists in the Western canon—Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet among them—as well as pioneering photographers such as Gustave Le Gray and Henri Le Secq. Inspired by the scenic Normandy coast of France, these works—including representations of beach scenes, seascapes, fishing villages, resorts, and the region’s pastoral beauty—will be brought together with archival materials related to early tourism and regional expressions of French nationalism from popular culture for an innovative examination of the impact of the then-new medium of photography on ideas of image making, the recording of passing time, the capacities of painting, and the rise of Impressionism itself.

amateriat
10-21-2009, 20:31
Damn...wish I could check this out!


- Barrett

sanmich
10-21-2009, 21:55
the the reason why f/64 vs. pictorialism was so poisonous and vituperative was because both were being superseded by 'miniature' cameras (including Rolleis as well as Leicas) so they were fighting a rearguard action. It's a bit like the Life of Brian: the Judaean People's Liberation Front and the People's Liberation Front of Judaea fighting each other more than the Romans.

.

First, I must admit I didn't know about the pictorialism. Maybe because I wasn't raised in the US??
I know a little bit about AA's work, and I admit to be quite insensitive to it.
After having had a very quick look at some pictorialist pictures on-line, I must say that for me the little war between the two movements seems as relevant as some fierce middle age debate about the sex of angels.
I find both styles, and lomography, anf bokeh shots, boring.
Please don't flame me, it is really my feeling only, just as I could say that I like or dislike opera.
For my sensitivity, the magic of photography is defined on the line traced by HCB, Kertesz (not the deformations please), Koudelka, Penn or if we are talking landscapes, Kenna.
I resonate much more to two landscapes from HCB that I know (the road and two rows of trees and the cite island) shot with crappy tecnical means than to all the AA perfection.
It's not about pursuiing technical perfection, nor about pursuiing technical imperfection. It should be about harmony and equilibrium, and I don't resonate to the equilibrium found in what I just saw (or maybe just a little bit to some of the ladies pictures...:rolleyes:)

Bill, care to meet on this weekend at the museum?