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Showing posts from 2012

Paul Strand: method and vision

Portrait, Washington Square Park, 1917

Pears and Bowls, 1916

Wild Iris, Maine, 1927

Wall Street, 1915

Portrait of Georges Braque, 1957

The “full acceptance” of reality is the method and goal of the photographer, observed Paul Strand. However, full objectivity has to be something different from a passive receptivity but must emerge from an active and vigilant attitude that requires the photographer’s control of his subject. Or rather, it requires the coming together of subject and object in the intervening space of the photograph, synthesizing and perhaps transcending both, a mediating space, both familiar and unusual, made of masses and voids, light and shadows, made of the equivalence of presence and absence,  of correspondences of vision and forms in the world, of the coalescence of equivalent forms in a frame, of a spatialized time and a space of  gradually superposed temporalities.

Marcelo Guimarães Lima


Group f/64 Manifesto (1932)

Ansel Adams by Dorothea Lange

Group f/64 Manifesto
The name of this Group is derived from a diaphragm number of the photographic lens. It signifies to a large extent the qualities of clearness and definition of the photographic image which is an important element in the work of members of this Group.
The chief object of the Group is to present in frequent shows what it considers the best contemporary photography of the West; in addition to the showing of the work of its members, it will include prints from other photographers who evidence tendencies in their work similar to that of the Group.
Group f/64 is not pretending to cover the entire of photography or to indicate through its selection of members any deprecating opinion of the photographers who are not included in its shows. There are great number of serious workers in photography whose style and technique does not relate to the metier of the Group.
Group f/64 limits its members and invitational names to those workers who are strivin…

Franz Roh (1890-1965)

actress, 1930

Large bodycurves, about1922-28

untitled, 1930

Railrod tracks at night, about 1930 Gelatin silver print

Homagem to Max Ernst, 1937, collage

Total Panic II, 1937, collage

Franz Roh’s involvement with art extended from history, theory and criticism to production, which took the form of both “reality-photos” that captured the expressive and symbolic potential of fragments excerpted from the real world and experimental techniques—including negative printing, photomontage and collage—that enhance our capacity to experience the world visually. Although his career as a critic grew out of his ability to describe the characteristics of art movements in terms of the juxtaposition of opposites, the works of art he created demonstrate his ability to explore a multiplicity of approaches. The critic who proclaimed the waning of Expressionism and the rise of Magic Realism in post-war painting was also the artist who delighted equally in the object and the experiment, noting “next to a new wor…

Photo-Eye by Franz Roh and Jan Tschichold
Franz Roh, Jan Tschichold: Foto-Auge / Oeil et Photo / Photo-Eye
Akademischer Verlag Dr. Fritz Wedekind, Stuttgart, 1929 printer: Heinrich Fink, Stuttgart size: 30 x 21 cm photographer: El Lissitzky (cover) designer: Jan Tschichold

A new objectivity

The advent of the portable camera allowed for changes in the practice of photography, in the methods and goals of photographers.  Photography leaves the comforts of the studio, its tempo or rhythms, its formal ideas and established procedures and searches for novelty in the cadences, the pulses and figures of everyday life. Photographers such as Giuseppe Primoli and Paul Martin stand in between the amateur art of their predecessors and the developing discipline of photojournalism, as observed by I. Jeffrey (1). 

Roma - Via Ostiense 1890
self-portrait of Giuseppe Primoli
photographing the flooded street

The informal, the improvised, the ephemeral are made into new plastic values translating the energies of urban life, the heterogeneous world of modern civilization unified in the commodity form of its material products and social exchanges, and similarly equalized in the “democratic” vision of the camera, a vision more and more unconcerned with distinctions of taste, propriety, traditi…

James Craig Annan (1864-1946)

James Craig Annan, 1864-1946 The Dark Mountains | Camera Work | 15 x 20.2 cm | 1904

James Craig Annan, 1864-1946 Prof. John Young of Glasgow University | Camera Work | 19.9 x 15.5 cm | 1904

James Craig Annan, 1864-1946  Gitana - Granada | Camera Work | 19.5 x 13.7 cm | 1914

JAMES CRAIG ANNAN was a master photogravure printer and a leading pictorialist photographer around the turn of the twentieth century. He produced most of his own work as well as that of others in the photogravure process, which he learned from its inventor, Karl Klíc.

Annan was the son of photographer Thomas Annan, known for his early documentation of the slums of Glasgow. He joined his father's business at a young age and began assisting in studio portraiture and photographic reproductions of artwork. In 1883, he and his father traveled to Vienna to study with Klíc, T. & R. Annan and Sons of Glasgow soon became Britain's foremost gravure printing establishments.

Annan became popular as a professional portrait…

Hugo Erfurth (1874-1948)

Hugo Erfurth, Marc and Bella Chagall, 1923

Hugo Erfurth, Oskar Kokoschka, 1920

Hugo Erfurth, Max Beckmann, 1928

Helmar Lerski (1871-1956)

Series Köpfe des Alltags: 1928 - 1930, published 1931

source: George Eastman House

(Yemenititischer Knabe) “Yemenite Boy” 1933

George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923)

George Hendrik Breitner, Girl in Red Kimono, Geesje Kwak, 1893–95

The Dam in Amsterdam, 1895 - 1898 pencil and brush on paper, 40 × 51 cm

George Hendrik Breitner, "View of construction site in Amsterdam?" (n.d.),  modern scan from original negative. Collection RKD, The Hague

George Hendrik Breitner:
Afbraak hoek Wijde Steeg, Amsterdam, ca.1908-10, oil on canvas.

Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Amsterdam (c. 1890–1900) Photograph, 30 x 35 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

 "View of Schiedamsedijk and the corner with Leuvebrugsteeg" (circa 1906),
gelatin silver print. Collection RKD, The Hague

George Hendrik Breitner, "Horses and a passerby on Cruquiusweg" (n.d.),
modern scan from original negative. Collection RKD, The Hague


Second-sight: The Photographs of George Hendrik Breitner

Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard

An amateur art: the photographs of Emile Zola

EMILE ZOLA. A Restaurant, Taken from the First Floor
or Staircase of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1900.

Emile Zola (1840-1902) learned the rudiments of photography in 1888 from Victor Billaud, a newspaper editor in Royan during a vacation period at the sea side locality, in the Atlantic coast of France. After the completion of his cycle of novels titled The Rougon-Macquart in 1894, Zola dedicated himself fully to photography as a devoted amateur with a quasi-professional zeal and knowledge of photographic technique. He developed his own negatives and made enlargements as well as duly recorded experiments with materials and methods. His photographs document the artist’s private environment, his travels, family life, friends and his interest in all things modern as a witness to a changing world and to the developments of modern culture and of modern life.
Photography is not a central subject in his literary works, and yet his late dedication to photography can be seen as an integral …

Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) : modernity and the city

Winter - Fifth Avenue, 1893
carbon print (?)
39.9 x 32.4 cm.

The Terminal/New York, by Alfred Stieglitz, 1902

Reflections—Night, New York, by Alfred Stieglitz, circa 1896

From My Window at the Shelton, North, 1931


Alfred Stieglitz at the Metropolitan Museum
Alfred Stieglitz at George Eastman House

Robert Demachy (1859–1936)

Robert Demachy "In Brittany", 1904 From: Camera Work, No 5 1904

Robert Demachy "Toucques Valley", 1906 from: Camera Work. No 16 1906

Robert Demachy Dancer, c. 1909

Robert Demachy Academie,  1900

Robert Demachy Struggle, 1904