Photo Secession Leading to Straight Photography and later to Constructivism, Dada and Surrealism History of Photographic Movements
Photo-Secession: The first influential group of American photographers that worked to have photography accepted as a fine art. Alfred Stieglitz founded the movement in 1902 Accompanied by Photo-Secessionists: Edward Steichen Clarence H. White Gertrude Käsebier Alvin Langdon Coburn
These photographers broke away from the Camera Club of New York to pursue Pictorialism. Techniques of manipulating negatives and prints so as to approximate the effects of drawings, etchings, and oil paintings. The Photo-Secession was inspired by art movements in Europe, such as the Linked Ring that had similar goals. The Photo-Secession actively promoted its ideas. All participants placed great emphasis on fine photographic printing.
Stieglitz edited and published the important quarterly Camera Work and opened the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, also known as “291,” providing a place for the members to exhibit their work.
In 1910 the Photo-Secession sponsored an international show of more than 500 photographs by its members or by photographers whose aims were similar to its own. This group help together until 1917 when it dissolved, as the medium changed and was challenged by new practitioners. Baron Adolphe De Meyer Clarence White
Photo Secessionists move away from pictorial aesthetics and towards pure / straight photography. They began to think that it was disservice to try to mimic paintings when the medium was capable of so much more.
Straight Photography A term used in opposition of combination printing (LeGray) and Pictorialist manipulations 1917 – Paul Strand refers to photography about being “absolute unqualified objectivity” Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s work seen as ‘pure’ photography California Modernists use term “pure” photography – Ansel Adams, Imogen Cuttingham, Edward Weston This aesthetic also influenced by the documentary photographers such as the FSAphotographers of the Great Depression
Visual Definitions of Straight Photography High Contrast Sharp Focus No Cropping Underlying Geometric Structure
Straight Photography Pure Photography California Straight / Modernist Photographers
Paul Strand 1890 – 1976 Paul Strand began photographing 1910’s. 1920’s he received recognition for both his painting and his photography. 1917
Worked in New Mexico in 1926 - 1930’s making portraits of artist friends and acquaintances. Develop his belief in the humanistic value of portraiture. Worked as part of the early American modernism and set its premium on the elegant print.
Travelled to Mexico Photographed the landscape, architecture, folk art, and people. 1934 produced a film about fishermen for the Mexican government. Thirteen years earlier he had collaborated with Charles Sheeler on a film, Manhatta,a study of the urban high-rise environment.
1943 Strand resumed his still photography, focusing on the people and landscape. Early 1950s he moved to Europe He travelled and photographed in North and West Africa in the 1960s. Considered a precursor to the great American street photographers
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy – Hungarian, American 1895-1946 Painter, Sculpturer, Illustrator. Unique Perspective, master of light and shadow. “Pure Photography”
Painter, designer, and photographer. Moholywas perhaps the most persuasive and effective theoretician of the concept of art education that grew out of the Bauhaus, the experimental design school that flowered briefly in Germany during the days of the Weimar Republic. His ideas have had a profound effect on the art and art theory of the past generation. His deep interest in the photogram and the photomontage, provided a challenging option to the doctrine of straight photography, which, especially in the United States, dominated serious photography.
“The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen.”
Judged by academic standards, his photographs were outrageously bad. Moholy’sstraight photography was extremely interesting and distinctive. It was in fact straight only in the technical sense that the pictures were un-manipulated prints of images recorded by the camera; in terms of the perception that the photographs recorded, they were ambiguous, contrary, and devious - abstract.
Brought a new vision to photography. “We can do with the camera what the human eye can’t image. We need to show people what the camera can do.” Used perspectives uniquely. Taught at Foundation Art school at Bauhaus . When closed by Nazi party he worked to form The new Bauhaus – Chicago Institute of Design He became an innovator of abstract photography
André Kertész “Seeing is not enough; you have to feel what you photograph.”
Brassai- French, Hungarian born 1899-1984 BRASSAI took his name from the town of his birth, Brasso, in Transylvania. He studied art at the academies of Budapest and Berlin before working in Paris in the mid-twenties. Photographed the streets of Paris Master of light and shadow “The purpose of art is to raise people to a higher level of awareness than they would otherwise attain on their own.”
Famous for night photography of Paris as well as photographing the lower classes/fringes of society.
“The purpose of art is to raise people to a higher level of awareness than they would otherwise attain on their own.”
Henri Cartier-Bresson Decisive Moment (French 1908–2004) Knowing when to wait to make a photograph; anticipation of the moment a photograph should be made.
An original, accomplished, influential, and beloved figures in the history of photography. 1930s helped define the creative potential of modern photography, and his ability to capture life on the run made his work synonymous with “the decisive moment”—the title of his first major book.
After World War II (most of which he spent as a prisoner of war) first show at MoMA in 1947. With Robert Capa founded the Magnum photo agency, which enabled photojournalists to reach a broad audience through magazines such as Life while retaining control over their work.
Worked in India and Indonesia at the time of independence. China during the revolution The Soviet Union after Stalin’s death the United States during the post-war boom Europe as its old cultures confronted modern realities. Observer of human affairs.
“To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life.”
California Modernists Imogen Cuttingham Ansel Adams Edward Weston
Constructivism Dada Surrealism 1913 - 1940 Hannah Hoch