Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ode to the Pictoralists

Pictorialism, an approach to photography that emphasizes beauty of subject matter, tonality, and composition rather than the documentation of reality.

This has basically been my modus operandi since I abandoned "straight" portrait photography back in the late 1990's but one of the things that the Pictoralists had (or didn't have, depending on point of view) was the original methods of photo making. This included early cameras. glass plates generally coated with photo-sensitive chemicals, slow lenses, etc. While a lot of people today might roll their eyes and say that these things were hindrances, it was these tools and techniques that allowed a couple of things. First, the slowness of the process allowed the photographer to sit and study what he/she wanted before the shutter was even cocked and two, it led to a very specific look that was delicate, graceful and strong at the same time.

The resurgence of these photographic processes happened maybe 10-15 years ago but I have to say I didn't want to get caught up in that endeavor as I didn't have a darkroom anymore and had no desire to set one up. A dedicated space for the large camera format was also something I didn't have so for a long time, I created work with the intent of beauty, composition, fantasy in theme and all of the elements that the Pictoralists included in their photographs but without the famous look. Until now. In strangely stumbling upon an Adobe Photoshop tutorial on YouTube and then playing with the tools further, I have finally begun to get the look I wanted.I posted a couple here recently but I have delved a little deeper since. I am pleased.

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