Pictorialism

In photography attention to light and shadow is crucial. The relationships that are created by the contrast between those two aspects are what help convey the emotion and story in an image. This contrast draws you in to study an image from only inches away as well as being able to enjoy a small print from a distance. The relationship between sharpness and blur was almost equally important to the pictorialists.

Pictorialism was a photography movement that began in the late 1800's and continued to the 1920's. Pictorialism was the first effort by photographers to establish the medium as a serious art form. Less documentary in approach and concept, the pictorialists used soft focus through various means, and print toners to achieve their goal.

My interest in pictorialism goes back to my days at the University of Iowa. I spent hours at a time going through the photography section in the art library on campus. Pictorialism and the few moderns that broke away from the "sharper the better" theory of modern fine-art photography always got my attention. Through the use of decades old single focal length lenses on modern cameras, my appreciation for this movement took physical form with the coupling of antiquated print techniques. Vandyke brown and tea toned Cyanotypes were created in hybrid form, starting with a digital file that was output to a high resolution digital transparency film.

This work continues. As an artist, it can become excruciating waiting for the next idea. Because of this, I'm always photographing. I've found that inspiration comes from work, and these archaic processes are a great motivator to always be working.

This entry and the next one overlap quite a bit as far as time is concerned. Both are very significant steps in the process. The "Flat Earth Theory" represents the study that was taking place with the arrangement of objects and the ongoing production of pictorialist landscapes will eventually provide the backgrounds for the Nature Morte project.