Friday, August 29, 2014

History of Photography part III

We start with the 1960s. Andy Warhol gives us “pop” art; art and commerce are now indistinguishable. Were they ever distinct? Photography is now a regular in the fine art scene. Another interesting turn during this time period: Much of the photographs of note are staged or fabricated in some way, highlighting the performative aspects of the medium.

1960s
Andy Warhol, obviously deeply influential and iconic all around
Robert Rauschenberg also does photo transfer, silkscreen work
Garry Winogrand is one of my favorite snap shooter, street photographers. Check his Women Are Beautiful series. Also, by the time of his death he had thousands of unprocessed rolls of film because he photographed everything and a lot!
Lee Friedlander, who also did/does some interesting “on the street, the banality of it all” with his shadow often in the frame
Chuck Close, who we still know and love for his oil paintings. I love showing his interview on the Colbert Report. Close, finally, produces a nice symbiotic relationship between photography and painting by launching the art movement, “Photorealism”
Ray K. Metzker
Don McCulin, Eddie Adams, and Larry Burrows document the Vietnam war with color film. War looks even more gruesome and realistic.
Danny Lyon does photo essay work
William Eggleston-my favorite "snap shot" photographer. John Szarkowski launches a color (gasp) photo exhibit of his work at the MoMA and finally the art world embraces color photography
Bernd and Hilla Becher-the BECHER METHODOLOGY!!! Look it up.
Diane Arbus photographs the aristocrats-the freaks who are freed from conformity. Thank you Diane Arbus

1970s
Duane Michal’s theatrical work
Jerry Uelsman, the father of photomontage for surrealistic effect (Johnny Heartfield is the grandfather and Hannah Hoch the grandmother?)
Robert Heinecken creates photographs by exposing through advertisements, once again alluding to the fact that postmodern art uses everything commercial as source material
Naomi Savage
Bea Nettles’ work addresses an emerging second wave feminist movement
William Larson experiments with other forms of photographic imagery by making electronic prints from a fax-like machine. Oh my!
Kenneth Josephson
Les Krims and his theatre of the grotesque
Emmet Gowin looks at his own family for inspiration, ala Harry Callahan
Bill Owens’ work explores the suburbs-that rather bizarre and alienating place
Robert Adams goes back to the “new west” to find our untouched mountains are the pretty backdrops of human industry and suburban sprawl-the result of manifest destiny
Joel Meyerowitz, who will continue to make stunning color photographs, especially beautiful color landscapes,
David Leventhal does staged work with miniature figures. Fabrication becomes a part of the contemporary photography scene

1980s
John Baldessari
Robert Mapplethorpe classically styled and shot photographs of his lovers and other things
Barbara Kruger. Feminist and consumer culture critic: “We Will Not Play Nature to Your Culture.” Represent
Richard Prince
Cindy Sherman Her entire body of work is important but the b-movie stills are what make her famous. I like to think the b-movie stills are a response to Winogrand’s “Women Are Beautiful.”
Laurie Simmons works with miniature dolls and dollhouses to construct domestic scenes
Sandy Skoglund-fabricated and colorful sets kinda like an early Julie Blockman but better.
David Hockney, who is a painter and art critic as well
Andres Serrano but I don’t like looking at much of his work. His cadavers are extremely unsettling
Nan Goldin's Ballad of Sexual Dependency, nuff said
Mary Ellen Mark-her twins and other documentary works take on a Diane Arbus quality
Gerhard Richter


1990s
Joel-Peter Witkin-his still life photos usually include some part of a cadaver, which create eerie and haunting imagery
Jeff Wall-directorial photographer and one of my influences
Abelardo Morrel-turns rooms in hotels across the globe into camera obscuras
Carrie Mae Weems
Krzysztof Wodiczko-projects images onto buildings to make political, public artworks
Edward Burtynsky-scortched earth landscapes
Andreas Gursky makes large-scale photos about consumption, which the art market loves
Sally Mann-photographs her family life in the rural south.
Pedro Meyer-early digital photographer
Susan Meiselas-her documentary photos of BDSM folks and circus performers are something worth seeing. 
James Casebere

2000s
Kara Walker-her silhouettes are troubling/amazing
Gregory Crewdson one of my all time favorite directorial photographers
Renee Cox, her American Family exhibition one of my favorites
Alec Soth photographed mid-America during the George W. Bush years. It's worth a look back
Holly Roberts
Thomas Struth creates large format photos of families and they are really quite good
Maggie Taylor
David Hilliard showed “angsty youth” in an interesting way by pulling apart scenes and piecing them together-showing the tensions of the age. Now he seems to take portraits of and for the wealthy and the beautiful. The compositions are starting to look sadly formulaic-but an art market will do that
Kelli Connell
Philip-Lorca Dicorcia his street portraits are stunning
Sophie Calle

Here and Now and the Future-more to come too
A totally subjective list of photographers I really dig right now
Michael Buhler Rose I am proud to say I curated a show of his work featuring the Hare Krishna women
Jen Davies
Sarah Wilmer
Regina Mamou
Brian Ulrich does interesting work looking at consumption through a documentary and portraiture approach
Lori Nix a fabrication photographer
Loretta Lux makes eerie portraits of children, combining painting and photography
Kai Margarida-Ramirez

When googling contemporary photography, I also found this and cannot help but giggle. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

pursuit of happiness

Disclaimer: obviously I am waiting (procrastinating) to do my final post on the history of photography so these blog posts are much more philosophical.

I just asked my friend, “When were you most happy as an artist.” She replied that her third year of graduate school, when she really started to produce “the work,” was when she was most happy. According to her, she finally created some good, credible work at that point. After years of toil, it also yielded happiness.

Happiness has been a theme in conversations recently with friends, in particular my friends who are/were artists. I started reading David Rakoff’s book, Half Empty. The book intertwines personal stories with pointed critiques of everything from Disney’s Innovention House to the failures of the musical, Rent. What is most appealing to me about this book is Rakoff’s unflinching look at the misery that attends creating. Rakoff insists that we should not romanticize the creative impetus: it is highly unglamorous. It is also a ruthless endeavor to carve out time to create when most of us have to work a day job to pay the bills (a fact that is not lost on me at all.) Rakoff produces some really great lines throughout the entire text and I recommend it to every creator. For example, a choice quote:

“Creativity demands an ability to be with oneself at one’s least attractive, that sometimes it’s just easier not to do anything. Writing-I can really only speak to writing here-always, always only starts out as shit: an infant monstrous aspect; bawling, ugly, terrible, and it stays terrible for a long, long time (sometimes forever.) Unlike cooking, for example, where largely edible, if raw, ingredients are assembled, cut, heated, and otherwise manipulated into something both digestible and palatable, writing is closer to having to reverse-engineer a meal out of rotten food.”

Rakoff nailed what it means to be a creative person. Being a visual artist is incredibly difficult, especially if one is prone to negativity when faced with time to dwell. But I also think that very negativity can produce a critical eye that says, “not yet, don’t embarrass yourself.”

Time, persistence, demanding boundaries so that you will be able to sit alone with your awful, awful self: that is how art is made. Fulfillment (or catharsis) is nice and all, but it is usually after vast amounts of struggling through self doubt, criticism, and rejection. Those who insist that the act of making art is somehow therapeutic are probably not taking their work seriously enough. And monster that I am, I have always thought cynically about art as therapy.

In conjunction with this post on happiness and the creative person, I am pleased to show you my book of affirmations: the product of having a lot of useless business cards and reading wellness blogs.


Teaser: it gets cathartically venomous



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

midweek post: timing

As a creator, I've been thinking about timing. I'm not talking about photography's relationship with time or making a project about "time" whatever that means. I mean timing and artistic practice in general. In my studio, I spent last week preparing for a staged photo-shoot, which takes a different kind of timing, one of patience for all the right elements to come together. Last week, I also made a book and I'm quite pleased with the outcome (photos to come). For my staged photographs, it is admittedly a slower process because of the cooperation involved. Honestly, I worry that because I slow down to make my staged photographs, I'll miss deadlines for shows and other opportunities. And also, I become antsy at the outset of a new project. A lot of ideas have been cooking for a while. But forcibly churning out work never turns out well in my experience. 

Yesterday, I looked at the sky and decided without any plan, to shoot at a location I wanted to visit for a while. The light looked good and it was decidedly beautiful when I went there. It could be simply an exercise or it could be the start of something else. Below are some rough edits from the shoot.


A lot of photographers, or the ones who have caught my eye lately, make photos of sites where an upsetting event has transpired (or a body has been dumped) and they make bucolic images as a way to honor the victims/those involved in the tragedy. While my project is not as noble (I don’t think), it is about violence and, tangentially, masculinity. I decided to do both staged portraits based on local news headlines and to visit places like the one below that seem bucolic but are significant for other, more gloomy reasons. I'm not sure how the two approaches will synthesize, but I am glad I trusted my impulsiveness yesterday-as "new age, whatever will be, will be" as that sounds.








Sunday, August 17, 2014

The History of Photography Part Two

We left off with a shift from Pictorialism to an era of Modern art, with help from Stieglitz. Stieglitz organizes the Armory Show in 1913, introducing American audiences to Modern art. The Armory Show predominantly features European artists. Also the First World War sounds off a general disbelief in the good of technology and the heroism of war. Many Modern art movements begin in this period with manifestos to match.

After the creation of photo-secession groups in the late 19th century, photographers started to conceive of photography as its own artistic medium not in service to science or painting. These photographers attempt to define a “modern photographic” fine art movement. Stieglitz showcases and advocates for many of the photographers of this era in his publication, “Camera Work.” Simultaneously, photography and film are having major impacts on the medium of painting. Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (1912) and other modern art movements like Cubism show the world as manifold. Locomotion photography told us not to trust our naked eye and film tells us that there is always more than one view of the world as opposed to the Renaissance one-point perspective.

At this time, a lot of modern photographers and filmmakers think of the natural world and humanity in general as inherently and completely flawed. (We cause wars and suffering after all.) So some modern art movements really start to worship machines and industry (hello futurism), even fetishizing it. This period is the beginning of photographers asking, “Why not make images as crisp as possible because that is what a camera does and what machines are for. They show us how the world really looks. Also, lets photograph some steel, because steel rules!”

1910s
Alvin Langdon Coburn is one of the major hitters to dump Pictorialism. He creates alternate views of common places, for instance looking directly down onto a fountain in a park and calling it an “octopus” because what a thing is, is not as interesting as what a thing may become. Make sense?
Paul Strand. His Wall Street image shows the grandeur of Wall Street before the big crash. Humans in the image are anonymous; they are not important for their individuality but that they contribute to the rhythm and movement of economic exchange. Also during this decade Strand makes close ups of every day items, showing us, like with Coburn, that with a new perspective items can transform into something else.
One of my favorite photographers is the mysterious E. J. Bellocq, whose Storyville New Orleans portraits of anonymous sex workers often have scratched out faces. And nobody really knows why.
Carlo Leonetti photographed the stars of stage and later film in beautiful dramatic portraiture
National Geographic, its first magazine published in 1888, is making a point of sending photographers on expeditions with archeologists, scientists, and researchers. Photographers like David E. Ford show us unknown parts of the world in beautiful images of places we don't belong, digging up dead people. This further opens up the world for a western audience and photography continues to go hand-in-hand with our history as colonizers.
People still want to photograph the world in color but it's tricky. I found this amazing survey of the Russian people by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Prokudin-Gorskii used a three-lensed camera and took black and white images through three different color filters, Red, Green and Blue. Later he projected the combined color layers to realize a full color image. Stunning.


Eugène Atget. He walks the streets of Paris photographing storefronts. Surrealists about a decade later adopt the photographs as a sign of a neurotic civilization.
Edward Steichen is promoted by and partnered with Stieglitz. I like his fashion work. I found on the Wikipedia he was dared to prove that fashion photography is art so he photographed dresses by Paul Poiret, a couture designer and today this shoot is called the “First modern fashion shoot.”
Gertrude Käsebier photographs families and does some interesting portraiture work that is much more dynamic than your average JC Penny portrait studio. Unfortunately, family life is still considered women appropriate subject matter, ala the female impressionists. Don’t worry, women bust out later.
Moving on.

1920s
Man Ray is also a filmmaker and partnered with many famous Surrealists of the time. His Ray-o-graphs (narcissist) consist of every day objects exposed on light sensitive photo paper. The reversal makes those every day objects take on a new life, association, and idea. Very Surreal.
Dadists are starting to use photo collage and photomontage and appropriating photographs from mass culture for political ends. Hannah Höch, John Heartfield, and Aleksandr Rodchenko are important photographers of this movement.
Charles Sheeler shows industry as a beautiful, organized set of shapes, patterns, and rhythms. The scorched earth photographs of Gursky will counter the hope of industry later. Margaret Bourke-White and Paul Outerbridge do the same as Sheeler.
Edward Weston goes to Mexico and writes in his journals about “Pre-visualization.” The idea is photographers should be able to know exactly what the resulting photograph will look like well before tripping the shutter. They should govern and control every aspect of the camera machine. As a result Weston produces very formal, still, and balanced imagery that suggests all things on this earth are connected. Blech.
Ansel Adams and the F64 group want really sharp “straight” images now, with a deep depth of field. Also Adams invents the zone system, (a core part of my photographic education in thee olden days), where by understanding how chemistry, temperatures, film speeds, and agitations work, you get complete control of your black and white, (ideally full tonal range) images. All I can say is: film base plus fog.
Imogen Cunningham
Lázló Moholy-Nagy counters the control of the Americans with the experimentation of the era in Europe by putting items with seemingly no relationship together in his collages to make surrealistic imagery.
Florence Henri also breaks up spaces by inserting mirrors into composition.
Tina Modotti is hanging out with Weston and photographs the proletariat of Mexico.
August Sander creates a survey of the German people. A decade later, the Nazis do what they can to eliminate the photographs because it shows that there is a diversity of people living in Germany instead of the general, “we’re all superior, Assyrian race” stuff.
André Kertész creates some wonderful Surrealist portraits in Paris.

1930s
The Great Depression comes to the US and the Farm Security Administration sends out a bunch of photographers to document the hardships of agrarian laborers. The plight of the poor is shown by Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Eudora Welty, Arthur Rothstein. The era also ushers in the question that with government patronage (aka propaganda), shouldn’t we question the intrinsic truthiness, the realism of the photographic medium?
Brassaï’s work of the bohemian underworld of Paris is, to this day, one of my favorite photographic portfolios.
Horst P. Horst makes an iconic fashion photograph of a corset that Madonna rips off for her Vogue music video. I still like Madonna of course.
Manuel  Alvarez Bravo
Berenice Abbot
Roman Vishniac photographed Jewish ghettos. Surviving images become really important as humans show their continued propensity for genocide in an age after enlightenment.
The surrealists are still making some interesting and bizarre photographs to examine the irrational and unknown parts of our psyche. Any list of this movement would be incomplete without the doll pictures by Hans Bellmer. Yikes.
Bauhaus photographer Herbert Bayer
Raoul Ubac tries different dark room techniques, like solarization, to invert images and create experimental compositions.
Robert Capa, famous war photographer but also photographed events throughout the world including a Trotsky speech!

1940s
Henri Cartier-Bresson and his “decisive moment” add another approach and theory to the act of photographing
Helen Levitt’s work is part of the decisive moment movement
My favorite photography always comes with a bit of satire and wit. Lisette Model photographed us Americans with the eyes of an alien who found us quite strange and resistant to self-reflection. She also influenced the quirky work of Diane Arbus
Wright Morris
Alfred Eisenstaedt made the famous picture of the sailor forcing a kiss on a woman that everyone is nostalgic about
Weegee! This guy was a crazy good news photographer. He embodied the term, “F8 and be there.” An ambulance chaser, Weegee went to crimes scenes and developed film in his car.
Lee Miller
Clarence John Laughlin showed the death and destruction of WWII and ushered us into the existential Atomic Age
Frederick Sommer
Minor White offers more existential uncertainty and angst. White, a gay man, tries to depict his world through a Modernist lens sans nude women, revealing that Modern art movements, like all art movements, seems to necessitate unclothed female bodies as a way to express “universal” desire and beauty. Arguably, White shows an oppositional identity pre Robert Mapplethorpe.

1950s
Robert Frank creates a scathing look at American life post WWII in The Americans
William Klein
In contradiction to the despair of the age, The Family of Man photographic survey features work by Wynn Bullock and many, many photographers across the world, to make the point that the human race is all good and all connected.
Harry Callahan looks inward, photographing his family and life in Chicago. His work is amazing
Aaron Siskind
Richard Hamilton follows the Dadists by making collages of imagery showing our post war consumption and family life
With Kodak dye transfer, color image printing is possible with luscious vibrancy: see Eliot Porter
Bruce Davidson shows a new movement in society that all the ad agents are wild about: Youth culture.
Roy Decavara is the first African American to receive the Guggenheim and photographs life in Harlem for a project, “The Sweet Flypaper of Life” with author Langton Hughes
Mario Giacomelli shows a loss of faith with his distorted imagery


All this self-expression is depressing. I’ll start with the 1960s and finish this list soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The History of Photography, part one

The start of the semester is right around the corner for many of my academic friends. Previously, I taught semester long courses on topics ranging from curatorial practice to the history of photography. My friend and former colleague is teaching a new media course and I offered to provide a list of the 10 most important photographers per decade since the inception of photography. What was I thinking? As I type this I know this is a difficult task. Also, it will yield a very long post because I’m long winded about the topic. 

Names seem to be the way to approach the history of photography because photography (as a distinct medium) really does not take part in artistic movements until the mid to late 20th century. Rather, various chemists, inventors, and photographers represent benchmarks in how our vision and ideas changed before, during and after the industrial revolution. In short, I find that photography reflects and shapes social history, which all art can claim to do, but I think photo’s hand in science, advertising, historic preservation, social science, and now social media really makes it a part of society more than any other medium.  

This is the first part. I might even have to break it up into three different posts.

The dawn of time to the 18th century
I want to make it known that many painters, while not officially photographers, used the camera obscura. To illustrate this point I often show this clip from the girl with the pearl earring when Johannes Vermeer shows Scarlett Johansson (aka the anonymous girl in the painting) a camera obscura. I also show Abelardo Morrell’s contemporary work. He turns entire rooms into camera obscuras and it is magical.

1820s and 30s
At this point, so many people in the world are attempting to fix an image; it is probably impossible to identify all those who made attempts. The major players instrumental to the birth of photography are Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, who is credited for the earliest surviving photograph roughly dated 1826-1826, John Herschel, who discovered sodium thiosulphate was a solvent of light sensitive silver salts, William Henry Fox Talbot, the progenitor of the negative-positive form of photography we are familiar with and use today (Multiples for everyone!), and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, the democratizer of photography and the reason we all don’t have to pay a patent fee to take pictures (unlike Talbot who was a crank and wanted to charge people for taking photos)

At this point, I make students debate the most important person responsible for the birth of photography and it usually becomes a predictable battle of England vs. France.

1840s
Anna Atkins, a botanist created cyanotypes by pressing algae to sensitized paper
Hippolyte Bayard pretended to be dead in a photograph and people were certain it was real
John Plumbe Jr.
All the daguerreotype portrait studios spread across the US, which usually listed the studio name rather than the individual photographer (because photographers were not artists, they were craftspeople!)
Jules Lion, started a daguerreotype studio in New Orleans. First African American studio owner
Augustus Washington, African American daguerreotype studio owner
David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson
Carl Ferdinand Stelzner
Thomas Easterly

1850s
Maxime Du Camp. As soon as photographing became viable, people started to travel with the camera to document as many important places as possible, like the Egyptian monuments.
Gustave Le Gray, I am a fan of his mystical landscape photographs
Charles Négre
John Whipple, who photographed the moon, which is still difficult
Platte D. Babbit, took tourists to Niagara Falls. Enter the creation of the vacation picture convention in which we all take part. We want to stand in front of a place and claim, “I was there.”
Roger Fenton, one of the first war photographers, documenting the Crimean war-no battle scenes yet, just aftermath, because shutter speeds were too slow and Fenton was instructed to show that war was heroic. War still looked disturbing nonetheless, more disturbing than a painting of Napoleon anyway.
Felice Beato, another conflict documenter showing the aftermath of uprisings in China, India and more
William Lake Price
Oscar G. Rejlander. His Two Ways of Life, 1957 is one of the first photomontages that truly illustrate a photographer’s potential artistry. Other than that the photograph is incredibly sanctimonious, it does propose photography’s potential as an artistic medium rather than existing in the service of science or as studies for paintings.
Henry Peach Robinson

1860s
Julia Margaret Cameron, beautiful work by this pre-Raphaelite, wet plate photographer. She photographed children nude but didn't receive the label as bad mother/grandmother, unlike Sally Mann in the 1990s.
Lewis Carroll, another pre-Raphaelite and the writer of Alice in Wonderland also took photographs of younger girls that are not only taboo but may even be a little illegal these days. Keep in mind at this point there were no child labor laws and child pornography did not exist as a litigable offense. There was also no such thing as ethics in photography. Here in the lecture is when I mention that this is not a new phenomena where humans need to play catch up in determining what is and is not okay to photograph because we have yet to establish a “common sense” at the outset of new technology. We tend to want to capture our activity, however nefarious, because it’s fun, only to later realize that said documentation becomes damning proof in a court of law. For instance these guys.
Lady Clementina Hawarden. While photography may have been for the ladies too, you still had to be pretty rich with lots of free time on your hands. Enter in the British aristocracy
Alexander Gardner. Civil war photographer and creator of Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War, which no one wanted to look at because it was a bunch of dead guys and it was, well, upsetting. Home of the Rebel Sharp shooter is probably the most famous image. Gardner also broke free of Brady’s tutelage and began the practice of crediting individual photographers for their shots.
Timothy O’Sullivan, civil war photographer and a manifest destiny photographer. I think his images of the civil war are the most jarring war photographs.
Auguste-Rosalie Bisson (Bisson Bros.), amazing travel photographers, who created one of my favorite photographs of climbers ascending Mont-Blanc. The climbers look like ants
Francis Frith, another travel photographer documenting the pyramids-so we all don’t have to physically see them, making us a lazy. Or it made us want to travel more, you decide.
Thomas Annan, a street and urban life photographer showing how bad cramped industrial life was in Scotland. This is the beginning of social justice photography.
Nadar and his Studio portrait photographs
Mathew Brady photographed Abraham Lincoln, which is awesome and the beginning of politicians realizing that photographs can help you win elections if you are tall and studious looking. Nixon didn’t take the cue for his television debate with Kennedy.

1870s
William Henry Jackson, another manifest destiny photographer. The upsetting thing is you can see how global warming has in fact changed the western American landscape since these photographs were made. Jackson's famous mountain of the holy cross barely has snow apparently
Eadweard J Muybridge is an important guy. Not only did he get away with murdering his wife’s lover, he was a western landscape photographer and he is the creator of locomotion photography. He proved that all four hooves come off the ground when horses gallop, something we cannot see with our naked eyes. At this point humans have to accept that our eyes deceive us. We cannot see everything and trust our own senses to know what is absolutely, empirically true. Finally, Positivism gets thrown out the window.
There are more locomotion photographers that follow in Muybridge’s footsteps: Thomas Eakins, Étienne Jules Marey
John Thomson photographed the poor in London
Other studio portrait photographers like Antoine Samuel Adam-Salomon and Napoleon Sarony
Okay, I guess this is somewhat of an empty decade so I’m just moving on

1880s
What an exciting decade with the introduction of the Kodak camera, a preloaded film camera with a circular composition. Also introducing the snap shot with R.K. Albright and all the other anonymous snap shot photographers. Later in contemporary photography, this approach is actively used and referenced by fine art photographers William Eggleston and Nan Goldin
Also, we have the introduction of our own photography artistic movement called Pictorialism with P.H. Emerson, George Davison, Edward Steichen, early Alfred Stieglitz, Alice Boughton, Robert Demachy, Frederick H. Evans, and more who worked through the end of the century.

1890s
Important for American social justice photography was the publication of How the Other Half Lives by Jacob A. Riis. Riis was kinda funny because he would not consult with the people before photographing them in the New York tenements. He would light a spark, shoot, and run. Sometimes his sparks (pre flash era of photography) would catch the buildings on fire. His photographs show the ugly side of industrialization and the despicable quality of life for the growing populations in New York. But yay self-sustaining capitalism!?
Francis Benjamin Johnston
F. Holland Day
Also the Lumière brothers’ first films show and according to rumor (not fact) people ran out of the theatre as the train came into the station.
I’m moving on to the 1900s because this is tiring

1900s
Phew, we made it to the century I am more familiar with.
Okay, late Alfred Stieglitz after he dumps Pictorialism starts to bloom by becoming an advocate for Modernism, particularly European Modernism. He continues his quest advocating for modern art and non fuzzy photography in North America for the next 30 years and makes a beautiful life long portrait of his wife/artist, Georgia O’Keefe
A lot of ethnographic photography happening in this period with Adam Clark Vroman photographing indigenous groups in the US. Also Edward S. Curtis started his long project of photographing tribes for the creation of the publication, The North American Indian. My photography professor said, “Bad Curtis is better than no Curtis.” Curtis edited photos, pre Photoshop, by burnishing out modern machinery, like clocks, on his photogravure plates. Still many are glad the photographs exist at all so that images of ancestors are preserved in perpetuity.
Jacques-Henri Lartigue made snapshots during La Belle Époque
Lewis Hine also starts to photograph children in their work places in major US cities (which was not welcomed by industry). He depicts the hardships of an incredibly vulnerable group of laborers pre child labor laws
This is also when many of the Pictorialists are still working in their Pictorialist approach including the fashion photo work of Baron De Meyer, one of my favorites
Frank Eugene, a Pictorialist, does the unthinkable of scratching negatives (a modernist, photo purist no-no)
Clarence H. White, another Pictorialist
Also, color film is invented in this decade but it’s tricky to use. We continue to document the world in black and white.


I'll start with the 1910s next time.