History of photography
Formal portraiture—a time-honored
photographic specialty that still engages photographers everywhere—
has been less influenced than other types of photography by changes
in theory and in technique during the postwar years (with the
exception of digitally produced portraits). The basic treatment of
the human face has, in fact, changed little since the medium's
infancy. Expression, gesture, lighting, and decor continue to be
seen as keys to revealing (neighborhoods) in Beijing the sitter's
class, profession, and psychology. This traditional outlook has been
encouraged in part by consumers' unsated desire for images of the
famous, which in turn has prompted editors and publishers to
reproduce such images in magazines and books. There are notable
photographers— among them Philippe Halsman, Yousuf Karsh, Arnold
Newman, and Annie Leibovitz—who have devoted themselves almost
exclusively to this pursuit. Working both in color and in black and
white, Newman, for instance, incorporated into richly orchestrated
representations emblems that suggest either his sitter's artistic
style or subject matter. His approach is exemplified by Georgia
O'Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, in which the treatment of space
and the props are meant to bring to mind the artist's own
preoccupation with the landscape of the American West. Leibovitz has
adapted this approach to contemporary sensibilities by placing her
sitters in settings that at first glance may seem less formal but
are equally artificial and considerably more startling. Richard
Avedon, whose interests include portraiture as well as fashion,
occasionally uses eye-catching props but always places sitters
against a flat monochromatic back-drop. Other notable portraitists,
who worked either on commission or from personal choice—including
Gisele Freund and Madame D'Ora in France, Brandt in England,
Chargesheimer (born Carl-Heinz Hargesheimer) and Fritz Kempe in
Germany, and Anatole Sadermann in Argentina— suggested personality
by capturing characteristic expression and by manipulating lighting,
as in the D'Ora portrait of Colette.
Many photographers have portrayed
themselves in the course of their life's work, but within the past
two decades or so, there has appeared a distinctive use of the
self-portrait to comment upon the anxiety and strangeness of
contemporary existence. The Finnish photographer Arno Rafael
Minkkinen directs scenes in which his body—or a portion of
it-—appears as an integral part of the landscape— such as an
outcropping or rock formation. Dieter Appelt, a German former opera
singer, also stages scenes to be photographed, tying his nude body
to trees or encasing portions of it in cement . Neither has
self-portraiture as his primary purpose; rather, like Cindy Sherman,
they use drama and ritual in conjunction with photography to make
Uncommissioned portraits of
uncelebrated people, often strangers to the photographer, are
largely a 20th-century phenomenon made possible by the camera's
having become a commonplace, unobtrusive tool. Street photographers
from Carrier-Bresson to Winogrand have frequently had multiple aims
for such portraiture: to capture facial expression and gestures that
reveal emotional states; to express subjective feelings about a
situation; to serve as a vehicle for statements about the
irrationality of existence. While some photographers continue to
view candid portraiture—whether of strangers in the street or family
at home—as a way of effecting a seamless interplay of fact and
feeling, others now find directorial techniques to be a more
effective means of expressing feelings and ideas about the
individual and society. This approach is embodied in portraits by
the California photographer Judy Dater, who worked during the 1970s
(with Jack Welpott) on a series entitled Women and Other Visions.
Those works are emblematic of the photographer's interest in the
role of women in American society. The sitters, shot in their own
homes, were given a degree of freedom in the choice of pose and
costume; the distinctive sense of self they convey, as in Laura Mae,
may have been encouraged by their awareness of Dater's involvement
in the emerging feminist movement. This chapter has shown that
individualized expression in straight photography has expanded
considerably during the past several decades. Photographers and the
public have come to accept the camera image as a metaphor, as the
expression of private experience, as a subjective document, and as a
statement about the potential and the limitations of photography In
addition, although it is being transformed by electronic technology,
the camera continues to play a vital role in journalism. Owing to
the fact that photographs are relatively inexpensive and that they
easily move from one country to another (either as originals or in
reproduction), photographic concepts and styles formulated in one
place can quickly become part of an international mainstream. In
effect, camera expression has become a language with more or less a
common vocabulary throughout the industrialized nations of the
world. When one adds the possibilities offered by color and by
manipulations of all sorts—to be discussed in the next chapter—this
language will be seen to be one or invigorating richness.
Xu YONG. Hutong in the Rain, I989.
Gelatin silver print. Chinese Photographers Association, Beijing
PHILIPPE HALSMAN. Dali Atomicus, 1948.
Gelatin silver print. Neikrug Gallery, New York.
Philippe Halsman (Latvian: Filips
Halsmans; 2 May 1906 Riga, Latvia - 25 June 1979 New York City) was
a Latvian-born American portrait photographer.
Born to a Jewish family of Morduch (Max) Halsman, a dentist, and Ita
Grintuch, a grammar school principal, in Riga, Halsman studied
electrical engineering in Dresden.
In September 1928, Halsman went on a hiking tour in the Austrian
Alps with his father, Morduch. During this tour, Morduch died from
severe head injuries. The circumstances were never completely
clarified and Halsman was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for
patricide. The case provoked anti-Jewish propaganda and thus gained
international publicity, and Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann wrote
in support of Halsman. Halsman was finally released in 1931, under
the condition that he leave Austria for good, never to return.
Halsman consequently left Austria for France. He began contributing
to fashion magazines such as Vogue and soon gained a reputation as
one of the best portrait photographers in France, renowned for his
sharp, dark images that shunned the old soft focus look. When France
was invaded, Halsman fled to Marseille and he eventually managed to
obtain a U.S. visa, aided by family friend Albert Einstein (whom he
later famously photographed in 1947).
Halsman had his first success in America when the cosmetics firm
Elizabeth Arden used his image of model Constance Ford against the
American flag in an advertising campaign for "Victory Red" lipstick.
A year later in 1942 he found work with Life magazine, photographing
hat designs, one of which, a portrait of a model in a Lily Daché
hat, was his first of the many covers he would do for Life.
In 1941 Halsman met the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and they
began to collaborate in the late 1940s. The 1948 work Dali Atomicus
explores the idea of suspension, depicting three cats flying, a
bucket of thrown water, and Salvador Dalí in mid air. The title of
the photograph is a reference to Dalí's work Leda Atomica which can
be seen in the right of the photograph behind the two cats. Halsman
reported that it took 28 attempts to be satisfied with the result.
Halsman and Dali eventually released a compendium of their
collaborations in the 1954 book Dali's Mustache, which features 36
different views of the artist's distinctive mustache. Another famous
collaboration between the two was In Voluptas Mors, a surrealistic
portrait of Dali beside a large skull, in fact a tableau vivant
composed of seven nudes. Halsman took three hours to arrange the
models according to a sketch by Dali.
In 1947, he made what was to become one of his most famous photos of
a mournful Albert Einstein, who during the photography session
recounted his regrets about his role in the United States pursuing
the atomic bomb. The photo would later be used in 1966 on a U.S.
postage stamp and in 1999, on the cover of Time Magazine, when Time
dubbed Einstein as "Person of the Century."
In 1951 Halsman was commissioned by NBC to photograph various
popular comedians of the time including Milton Berle, Sid Caesar,
Groucho Marx, and Bob Hope. While photographing the comedians doing
their acts, he captured many of the comedians in mid air, which went
on to inspire many later jump pictures of celebrities including the
Ford family, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Marilyn Monroe and
Halsman commented, "When you ask a person to jump, his attention is
mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that
the real person appears." The photographer developed a philosophy of
jump photography, which he called jumpology. He published Philippe
Halsman's Jump Book in 1959, which contained a tongue-in-cheek
discussion of jumpology and 178 photographs of celebrity jumpers.
His 1961 book Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas,
discussed ways for photographers to produce unusual pieces of work,
by following three rules: "the rule of the unusual technique", "the
rule of the added unusual feature" and "the rule of the missing
Other celebrities photographed by Halsman include Alfred Hitchcock,
Judy Garland, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Dandridge,
and Pablo Picasso. Many of those photographs appeared on the cover
In 1952, John F. Kennedy had two photograph sittings by Halsman. The
result was that one photograph from the first sitting appeared on
the jacket of the original edition of Profiles in Courage. In the
second sitting a photograph was used in the senatorial campaign.
In 1958 Halsman was listed in Popular Photography's "World's Ten
Greatest Photographers", and in 1975 he received the Life
Achievement in Photography Award from the American Society of
Magazine Photographers. He also held numerous large exhibitions
YOUSUF KARSH. Winston Churchill, 1941.
Gelatin silver print. International Center of Photography.
Yousuf Karsh (December 23, 1908 –
July 13, 2002) was a Canadian photographer of Armenian heritage, and
one of the most famous and accomplished portrait photographers of
Yousuf or Josuf (his given Armenian name was Hovsep) Karsh was born
in Mardin, a city in the eastern Ottoman Empire (currently in
Turkey). He grew up during the Armenian Genocide where he wrote, "I
saw relatives massacred; my sister died of starvation as we were
driven from village to village." At the age of 14, he fled with his
family to Syria to escape persecution. Two years later, his parents
sent Yousuf to live with his uncle George Nakash, a photographer in
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Karsh briefly attended school there and
assisted in his uncle’s studio. Nakash saw great potential in his
nephew and in 1928 arranged for Karsh to apprentice with portrait
photographer John Garo in Boston, United States. His brother, Malak
Karsh, was also a photographer famous for the image of logs floating
down the river on the Canadian one dollar bill.
Karsh returned to Canada four years later, eager to make his mark.
He established a studio on Sparks Street in Ottawa, Ontario, close
to Canada’s seat of government. Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie
King discovered Karsh and arranged introductions with visiting
dignitaries for portrait sittings. Karsh's work attracted the
attention of varied celebrities, but his place in history was sealed
on 30 December, 1941 when he photographed Winston Churchill after
Churchill gave a speech to Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa.
The image of Churchill brought Karsh international prominence, and
is claimed to be the most reproduced photographic portrait in
history. In 1967, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and
in 1990 was promoted to Companion.
Of the 100 most notable people of the century, named by the
International Who’s Who , Karsh had photographed 51. Karsh was
also the only Canadian to make the list.
In the late 90s he moved to Boston and on July 13, 2002 (He was 93
years old) Karsh died at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital after
complications following surgery. He was interred in Notre Dame
Cemetery in Ottawa. Karsh was a master of studio lights. One of
Karsh's distinctive practices was lighting the subject's hands
separately. He photographed many of the great and celebrated
personalities of his generation. Throughout most of his career he
used the 8×10 bellows Calumet (1997.0319) camera, made circa 1940 in
Chicago. Journalist George Perry wrote in the British paper The
Sunday Times that "when the famous start thinking of immortality,
they call for Karsh of Ottawa."
Karsh had a gift for capturing the essence of his subject in the
instant of his portrait. As Karsh wrote of his own work in Karsh
Portfolio in 1967, "Within every man and woman a secret is hidden,
and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can. The
revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a
second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief
lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost
selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the
photographer must act or lose his prize."
Karsh said "My chief joy is to photograph the great in heart, in
mind, and in spirit, whether they be famous or humble." His work is
in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, New
York's Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, George
Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film,
Bibliotheque nationale de France, the National Portrait Gallery in
London, the National Portrait Gallery of Australia and many others.
Library and Archives Canada holds his complete collection, including
negatives, prints and documents. His photographic equipment was
donated to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa.
Karsh published 15 books of his photographs, which include brief
descriptions of the sessions, during which he would ask questions
and talk with his subjects to relax them as he composed the
portrait. Some famous subjects photographed by Karsh were Albert
Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Audrey
Hepburn, Clark Gable, Dwight Eisenhower, Ernest Hemingway, Fidel
Castro, Jacqueline Kennedy, Frank Lloyd Wright, General Pershing,
George Bernard Shaw, Georgia O'Keeffe, Grey Owl, Helen Keller,
Humphrey Bogart, Indira Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Laurence Olivier,
Marian Anderson, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, Muhammad Ali, Pablo Casals,
Pandit Nehru, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Paul Robeson, Joan Baez, Peter
Lorre, Picasso, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Pope Pius XII, Pope John
Paul II, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Grace, Prince Rainier of
Monaco, Robert Frost, Ruth Draper, Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke,
the rock band Rush and, arguably his most famous portrait subject,
The story is often told of how Karsh created his famous portrait of
Churchill during the early years of World War II. Churchill, the
British prime minister, had just addressed the Canadian Parliament
and Karsh was there to record one of the century's great leaders.
"He was in no mood for portraiture and two minutes were all that he
would allow me as he passed from the House of Commons chamber to an
anteroom," Karsh wrote in Faces of Our Time. "Two niggardly minutes
in which I must try to put on film a man who had already written or
inspired a library of books, baffled all his biographers, filled the
world with his fame, and me, on this occasion, with dread."
Churchill marched into the room scowling, "regarding my camera as he
might regard the German enemy." His expression suited Karsh
perfectly, but the cigar stuck between his teeth seemed incompatible
with such a solemn and formal occasion. "Instinctively, I removed
the cigar. At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was
thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an
attitude of anger."
The image captured Churchill and the Britain of the time perfectly —
defiant and unconquerable. Churchill later said to him, "You can
even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed." As such,
Karsh titled the photograph, The Roaring Lion.
However, Karsh's favourite photograph was the one taken immediately
after this one where Churchill's mood had lightened considerably and
is shown much in the same pose, but smiling.
Karsh has influenced many other photographers in different styles to
become more independent and further motivate other artists.
ARNOLD NEWMAN. Georgia O'Keeffe,
Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, 1968.
Gelatin silver print.
Arnold Abner Newman (3 March 1918,
New York, NY —6 June 2006, New York, NY) was an American
photographer, noted for his "environmental portraits" of artists and
politicians. He was also known for his carefully composed abstract
still life images.
Newman graduated high school in Miami Beach and attended the
University of Miami studying painting and drawing with an
introduction to Modernism. Unable to afford continuing after two
years, he moved to Philadelphia, PA to work for a studio making
49-cent portraits. His time there taught the importance of
interacting with his subjects and allowed him to develop his
Newman returned to Florida in 1942 to manage a portrait studio in
West Palm Beach. Three years later he opened his own business in
Miami Beach. In 1946, Newman relocated to New York, opened Arnold
Newman Studios and worked as a freelance photographer for Fortune,
Life, and Newsweek.
Newman found his vision in the empathy he felt for artists and their
work. Although he photographed many personalities — Marlene
Dietrich, John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Piet Mondrian, Pablo
Picasso, Arthur Miller, Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan and Mickey
Mantle — he maintained that even if the subject is not known, or is
already forgotten, the photograph itself must still excite and
interest the viewer.
Newman is often credited with being the first photographer to use
so-called environmental portraiture, in which the photographer
places the subject in a carefully controlled setting to capture the
essence of the individual's life and work. Newman normally captured
his subjects in their most familiar surroundings with representative
visual elements showing their professions and personalities. A
musician for instance might be photographed in their recording
studio or on stage, a Senator or other politician in their office or
a representative building. Using a large-format camera and tripod,
he worked to record every detail of a scene.
"I didn't just want to make a photograph with some things in the
background," Newman told American Photo magazine in an interview.
"The surroundings had to add to the composition and the
understanding of the person. No matter who the subject was, it had
to be an interesting photograph. Just to simply do a portrait of a
famous person doesn't mean a thing."
Newman's best-known images were in black and white, although he
often photographed in color. His black and white portrait of Igor
Stravinsky seated at a grand piano became his signature image, even
though it was rejected by the magazine that gave the assignment to
Newman. He was one of the few photographers allowed to make a
portrait of the famously camera-shy Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Among Newman's best-known color images is an eerie portrait that
shows convicted former Nazi slave labor boss Alfried Krupp in one of
Newman taught photography at Cooper Union for many years.
MADAME D'ORA (DORA KALLMUS). The Writer Colette, c. 1953.
Gelatin silver print. Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg.
MADAME D'ORA (DORA KALLMUS)
Dora Kallmus (1881 - October 28,
1963) was an Austrian photographer.
With Arthur Benda, she opened a
photography studio under the pseudonym Madame d'Ora in Vienna in
1907. She was popular among the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy, and
worked as a salon photographer until she left Vienna for Paris in
1925. In Paris, she became internationally known for her society and
fashion photography during the 1930s and 1940s. Her subjects
included Josephine Baker, Tamara de Lempicka, Alban Berg, Niddy
Impekoven, Maurice Chevalier, Colette, and other dancers, actors,
painters, and writers.
DIETER APPELT. Hands, from Memory's Trace, 1978.
Gelatin silver print. Shashi Caudill and Alan Cravitz, Chicago.
EMMET GOWIN. Edith, Ruth, and Mae, Danville, Virginia, 1967.
Gelatin silver print. Light Gallery, New York.
Emmet Gowin (born 1941 in Danville,
Virginia) is an American photographer.
After graduating from Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia
Commonwealth University) in 1965, Gowin attended the Rhode Island
School of Design. While earning his MFA, Gowin studied under
influential American photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind.
Gowin teaches at Princeton University and lives in Pennsylvania with
his wife Edith.
Gowin first gained attention with his intimate portraits of his wife
and family. His almost exclusive use of a large format camera led to
both optical and darkroom experiments. Using a 4x5 lens with an 8x10
camera allowed Gowin to expose the full image circle, surrounded by
a dramatic vignette, in his family portraits and rural landscapes.
Beginning with a trip to Washington State soon after Mt. Saint
Helens erupted, Gowin began taking aerial photographs. For the next
twenty years, Gowin captured strip mining sites, nuclear testing
fields, large-scale agricultural fields and other scars in the
Gowin received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1977 and a National
Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1979.
EMMET GOWIN. Edith
JUDY DATER. Laura Mae, 1973.
Gelatin silver print.
Judy Dater is an American
photographer. She is perhaps best known for her photograph, Imogen
and Twinka, featuring an elderly Imogen Cunningham encountering
Twinka Thiebaud nude, in the woods. Dater was born in 1941, in
Hollywood. She grew up in Los Angeles, and studied art there, before
moving to San Francisco to take a photography course with Jack
Welpott, whom she later married. In 1975, they published a joint
work, titled Women and Other Visions.
In 1964, Dater met Imogen
Cunningham, whose life and work had greatly inspired her. In 1979,
three years after Cunningham's death, she published Imogen
Cunningham: A Portrait, containing interviews with many of
Cunningham's contemporaries, and photos by both Dater and
PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1950:
MANIPULATIONS AND COLOR
INTHE RECENT PAST there has been exceptional interest among
photographers in creating images rather than documenting actuality.
The emergence of a commercial market for artistic photography since
the mid-1970s has meant that manipulative concepts in creative
photography have attracted many more practitioners than at any
previous time. Reflecting the experimentalist attitudes prevailing
within contemporary art as a whole, photographers have invented
images by directing the action of the subject before the lens, or by
manipulating photographic processes, or by mixing graphic and
photographic procedures, or by bypassing the camera entirely. As
photographers have become more familiar with the medium's history
(as a result of the increased literature in the field), they have
become aware that manipulation has been a common practice since the
1920s. The fragmented and reconstituted "realities" visible on
magazine pages, billboards, and eventually on television
screens—which required constructing sets, directing models,
cropping, retouching, and combining photographs—have served
(consciously or not) as a pattern book of possibilities. An
additional spur to the interest in photographic experimentalism has
been the influence of art directors and photography teachers who
have promoted to a wide spectrum of students the techniques and
ideas used in advertising.
In the United States after the
second World War, artists working with unconventional materials
(industrial paint, steel, plastics) and trying out unusual
techniques (pouring, staining, welding) tended to ignore
time-honored distinctions between the various categories of visual
expression. Mixed-media performances (part theatrical, part graphic,
part photographic) and assemblages (agglomerations of seemingly
unrelated elements) made it clear that painting, sculpture,
printmaking, and photography should no longer be regarded as
discrete processes. At the same time, photographers began to
reevaluate their assumptions regarding the distinctions between pure
and documentary photography and to consider new ways of expressing
their own feelings and private dreamworlds as well as public
realities. They adopted new means that ranged from die pairing and
sequencing of straight camera images, to the invention of scenes to
be photographed, to the manipulation of images either by manually
reassembling portions of photographs or by intervening in optical
and chemical processes.
Conceptualizing the Photograph
Conceptual photography is a recent
approach that regards the medium as a way to make statements about
itself rather than about the ostensible subject before the lens. It
is based on the belief that photographs are, in essence, uninflected
records of information rather than emotionally nuanced experiences
or works of art. One way to suggest this idea is to present
photographs in pairs or sequences. This presentation not only
parallels the way that photographs are commonly shown in picture
journals or in advertising but also serves to underline the point of
view that how reality is framed in the camera depends on the
inherent properties of the medium and on where the photographer is
stationed. The photograph, some seem to be saying, is whatever the
light reveals, the lens embraces, and the chemical substances make
visible. It has little to do with ultimate truths; change the
position of the camera, and another angle—just as truthful—will
reveal itself. In presenting paired views of the same scene, Eve
Sonneman (pi. no. 734) suggests that there is not just one "decisive
moment" in documenting reality. With die passage of time or a shift
in vantage point, the same situation will take on a different
appearance—neither especially decisive.
Producing a series of uninflected
images of objects of the same sort arranged in an arbitrary
sequence—some-times called a "typology"—constitutes another approach
that avoids making a personal comment about the subject matter at
hand. Referring to a series of his deadpan photographs of parking
lots in a book entitled Thirty-four Parking Lots in Los
Angeles—exemplified by die single frame shown here—the California
painter-photographer Edward Ruscha claimed to be providing "a
catalog of neutral objective facts." The images
themselves—suggestive of attitudes implicit in the "new
topographies"—also bring to mind the repetition used in advertising
photography to emphasize the abundance of material goods. Besides
Ruscha, this approach has attracted the American photographers Judy
Fiskin and Roger Mertin; the German photographers Thomas Struth and
Bernd and Hilla Becher; and the Canadian Lynne Cohen. In addition to
achieving their stated goal of description, many typological images
are also appealing for their architectonic qualities, which relate
them to the work of the Minimalists, who were engaged in producing
serial, geometric paintings and sculpture during the 1960s.
Concentrating on size, shape,
materials, and topography in their photographs of industrial
structures in England, France, Germany, and the United States, the
Bechers claim to be documenting similarities rather than celebrating
distinctivencss. Moreover, their images, arranged in configurations
that juxtapose from three to eight photographs and at times measure
some six feet tall or wide, demonstrate that camera images can
provide the kind of visual detail that the human eye might be able
to take in only over a long period of familiarity with an object.
The makers of such informational images, whether they be parking
lots or cooling towers, disavow aesthetic intentions, but the appeal
of these works undoubtedly is due to their artistic character radier
than just to the information they provide.
In fact, it is doubtful that any
two-dimensional translation (whether painting or photograph) of the
complex interaction of space, volume, and atmosphere that
constitutes an architectural experience can be accepted as accurate
documentation. Despite the tact that the specialists who document
architecture and interiors—notably Lizzie Himmel and Ezra Stoller—have
taken views from various angles and in differing light conditions in
order to re-create a sense of the actual space, the physical and
psychological aspects of the architectural experience cannot be
fully apprehended through a photograph. Perhaps that is why
contemporary architectural photographers such as Judith Turner deal
with the abstract beauty of geometric shapes and forms rather than
with the actuality of spatial entities.
Photographers also use sequences,
at times combined with texts of their own devising, as a way of
communicating subjective experience or commenting on cultural
attitudes. Like a significant number of other photographers who wish
to reveal private realities, Duane Michals uses himself as model or
directs others in staged, preconceived sequences such as Chance
Meeting—six visually unexceptional shots that use for private
expressive ends the narrative technique common in photojournalism
and advertising. Inspired by Surrealist ideas, in particular those
of the Belgian painter Rene Magritte, and by the cool irony of
Robert Frank's imagery, Michals emphasizes the primacy of subjective
vision; his embrace of the sequential format has struck a
sympathetic chord among many young photographers in the United
States and Europe. A creator of fictions rather than of documents,
in the mid-1970s Michals first began to write and then to paint on
his photographs, thereby suggesting that the artist may have to go
beyond what the camera lens sees in order to deal with phenomena
such as chance and death.
Clarissa T. Sligh combines images
and texts in her series of montages dealing with black childhood
experiences (pi. no. 738). The texts she derives from Dick and Jane
school readers, in conjunction with family snapshots of children at
play, bring together concepts of innocence, deception, and
falsehood. A seemingly unmanipulated but in fact artfully staged
series of images by Carrie Mac Weems includes key words in boldface
type that bring to mind billboards. Their ironic messages commenting
on black family relationships are aimed at putting in place "a new
documentary" style that "champion[s] activism and change."
Other examples that exploit the
replication made possible by photography are the sequential
arrangements of figures favored by the German photographers Floris
M. Neusiis, Klaus Rinke, and Manfred Willman and the grids assembled
from landscape photographs by the Dutch graphic artist Ger Dekkers.
An assemblage in grid format of 36 slightly different images of his
own cast shadow by die Polish photographer Andrzej Lachowicz,
entitled Myself As... , brings to mind the multiple images of the
Many sequential works, which are
considerably larger than traditional photographs, have been
influenced by the expanded size of high-art canvases as well as by
billboards and cinema screens. Working in large scale has attracted
straight photographers as well as those involved with manipulation
or directorial strategies. Over the last several decades, as larger
sheets of silver-emulsion printing paper became available, Richard
Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, and others have achieved
effects that are more startling for having been realized on an
A large number of European
photographer-artists have similarly expanded the size of their work
and also share the conviction that by itself the single straight
documentary photograph is not adequate for their expressive
purposes. Employing a variety of formats and techniques, Gilbert and
George in Britain, the Bechers and Joseph Beuys in Germany, Arnulf
Rainer in Austria, and Ger van Elk in Holland (among many others)
have all chosen to work in dimensions that range between four and
nine teet. Conceptual photographers do not always work with
sequential images. In staging his wry scenes that show a photograph
within a photograph, the American photographer Kenneth Joscphson
exemplifies those who comment on the supposed reality that the
camera captures—which, in some cases, is just another camera
picture. Investigating the relation of photograph to reality, which
has become the central theme in such works, has antecedents in
Alfred Stieglitz's 1889 image Sun's Rays— Paula, Berlin. In this
seemingly descriptive scene, the photographer alluded to the
characteristics and potentials of the medium by including a variety
of camera pictures of the sitter made at other rimes and in
In the 1980s, the approach to
art-making known as postmodernism evolved from the Conceptual art of
the previous decade. In photography, this development represented,
in part, an effort to counter the transformation of the photograph
from document into aesthetic commodity. At the same time, it sought
to formulate a new relationship between the camera image and social
realities. Postmodernists claimed that camera images of real life
could not claim uniqueness, in that (unlike one-of-a-kind handmade
images) they appropriate—that is, replicate—something that already
exists. Furthermore, they proposed that since neither photographer
nor viewer could reach beyond the shared cultural patterns of their
time to invest the camera image with a timeless aesthetic character
or an emotional tone that would be invariably understood by all, the
photographer should endeavor instead to provoke thought about
current social phenomenal
Individuals taking this approach
devised a number of different ways to express ironic attitudes
toward cultural stereotypes in general and toward the particular
claims of the photograph as a highly valued aesthetic object. Some-—
including Sherrie Levine, who re-photographed well-known
photographic images, and Richard Prince, whose subjects were camera
images in slick magazines—sought to impugn the modernist idea of the
artist-photographer as a charismatic figure with unique creative
powers. Postmodern strategies ran a gamut from mimicking films
stills and high-gloss advertising photographs, as in Cindy Sherman's
portraits of herself in a variety of guises, to arranging scenes in
which live models or dolls imitate photographic illustrations in
consumer magazines or impersonate real-life situations, as in Laurie
Another postmodern approach, which
recalls the idea of deforming the image prevalent during the Sate
1910s and the 1920s, endeavored to "deconstruct" the myths of
contemporary society by using found photographs and attaching texts
intended to make the viewer aware of attitudes implicit in the
popular media, for example, the British artist Victor Burgin
appended his own messages, set in type, to photographs of common
scenes, which he then rephotographed. All of these photographic
maneuvers were meant to reposition such imagery in the viewer's
awareness, bringing to light underlying consumerist and sexist
messages, rather than to appeal to feelings or a sense of beauty.
They helped women photographers not only to investigate the ways in
which their lives were being transformed into stereotypes in the
commercial media but also to examine their own needs and roles.
Barbara Kruger denounced cliches about women by adding her own
captions, often composed of cutout letters, to large-scale images
whose graininess mimicked that of newspaper ads. Autobiographical
Stones, a semifictional series of images and texts by the French
photographer Sophie Calie, is another visual exploration of a
EVE SONNEMAN. Oranges,Manhattan, 1978.
Cibachrome (silver-dye bleach) print. Castelli Graphics, New York.
EDWARD RUSCHA. State Board of
Equalization, 14601 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, California, c. 1967.
From Thirty-four Parking Lots in Los Angeles, 1967. Gelatin silver
print;. Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.
BERND AND HILLA BECHER. Winding Towers
Gelatin silver prints. Sonnabend Gallery, New York.
DUANE MlCHALS. Chance Meeting, 1969.
Gelatin silver prints.
CLARISSA T. SLIGH. What's Happening
Van Dyke Brown print.
CARRIE MAE WEEMS. Jim, If You Choose
to Accept, the Mission Is to Land on Tour Own Two Feet, 1987.
Gelatin silver print. PPOW Inc., New York.
ANDRZEJ LACHOWICZ. Myself AS . . .,
Color (chromogenic development) transparency. International Center
of Photography, New York.
GILBERT AND GEORGE. Eye, 1992.
Four-panel photo piece. Robert Miller Gallery, New York.
KENNETH JOSEPHSON. Drottningholm,
Gelatin silver print.
CINDY SHERMAN. Untitled (156), 1985.
C-print. Courtesy Metro Pictures, New York.
(b Glenn Ridge, NJ, 1954).
American photographer. While still
growing up she was drawn to the television environment of the 1960s
and fascinated by disguise and make-up. She studied art at Buffalo
State College (1972–6), concentrating on photography, which she
maintained is the appropriate medium of expression in our
media-dominated civilization. Her photographs are portraits of
herself in various scenarios that parody stereotypes of woman. A
panoply of characters and settings is drawn from sources of popular
culture: old movies, television soaps and pulp magazines. Sherman
rapidly rose to celebrity status in the international art world
during the early 1980s with the presentation of a series of untitled
‘film stills’ in various group and solo exhibitions across America
and Europe. Among 130 ‘film stills’ taken between 1978 and 1980 are
portraits of Sherman in the role of such screen idols as Sophia
Loren and Marilyn Monroe. While the mood of Sherman’s early works
ranges from quiet introspection to provocative sensuality, there are
elements of horror and decay in the series from 1988–9. Studies from
the early 1990s make pointed caricatures of characters depicted
through art history, with Sherman appearing as a grotesque creature
in period costume. Her approach forms an ironic message that
creation is impossible without the use of prototypes; identity lies
in appearance, not in reality. In this, the artist has assimilated,
even while retaining a critical stance, the visual tyranny of
television, advertising and magazines. Sherman’s work has been
categorized with that of Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo and Richard
Prince (b 1949). Works are held in the Tate Gallery, London, and the
Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC, as well as in the Museum of Modern
Art and the Metropolitan and Brooklyn museums, New York.
LAURIE SIMMONS. Pink Bathroom, 1984.
Cibachrome print. Courtesy Metro Pictures, New York.
Laurie Simmons was born on Long
Island, New York, in 1949. She received a BFA from the Tyler School
of Art, Philadelphia (1971). Simmons stages photographs and films
with paper dolls, finger puppets, ventriloquist dummies, and
costumed dancers as “living objects,” animating a dollhouse world
suffused with nostalgia and colored by an adult’s memories,
longings, and regrets. Simmons’s work blends psychological,
political and conceptual approaches to art making, transforming
photography’s propensity to objectify people, especially women, into
a sustained critique of the medium. Mining childhood memories and
media constructions of gender roles, her photographs are charged
with an eerie, dreamlike quality. On first glance her works often
appear whimsical, but there is a disquieting aspect to Simmons’s
child’s play as her characters struggle over identity in an
environment in which the value placed on consumption, designer
objects, and domestic space is inflated to absurd proportions.
Simmons’s first film, “The Music of Regret” (2006), extends her
photographic practice to performance, incorporating musicians,
professional puppeteers, Alvin Ailey dancers, Hollywood
cinematographer Ed Lachman, and actress Meryl Streep. She has
received many awards, including the Roy Lichtenstein Residency in
the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Rome (2005); and
fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
(1997) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1984). She has had
major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2006);
Baltimore Museum of Art (1997); San Jose Museum of Art, California
(1990); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1987); and has participated
in two Whitney Biennials (1985, 1991). Simmons lives and works in
VICTOR BURGIN. Four Word Looking from U.S. 77, 1977.
Gelatin silver print. John Weber Gallery, New York.
BARBARA KRUGER. Untitled (Ton Get Away with Murder), 1987.
Dye-coupler print with silkscreen lettering. The Hallmark
Photographic Collection, Kansas City, Mo.
Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, New York.
Interventions and Manipulations
Intervention in the physical
production of camera images and manipulation of the chemical
processes have taken various forms, all of which have as their
central principle the freedom of the photographer to be as
spontaneous and inventive as the graphic artist while preserving the
replicative aspects of the medium and even the tactile qualities of
the silver print. Choosing to use a camera with a pinhole instead of
a lens (when cameras now come equipped with the fastest, sharpest
optical devices) is a simple means of adjusting the photographic
process to one's expressive needs; the results can be seen in the
strangely elegiac landscapes by Ruth Thorne-Thomsen. The kind of
camera lens used can also provide photographers with a creative
tool, either by giving actual scenes a sense of unreality through
subde distortion or by dramatically deforming expression and
gesture. In the 1950s, following earlier experiments by Andre
Kertesz and others, Berenice Abbott and Weegee—both advocates until
then of straight photography—had distorted figures and objects by
using special lenses, but their images were, on the whole,
A more resolved body of work to
emerge from experimentation with extremely wide-angle lenses has
been that of Bill Brandt. Those working in a style more closely
related to classical Surrealism include Christian Vogt, a successful
Swiss photojournalist whose disrortions recall fantasy landscapes by
Giorgio de Chirico. The French photographer Claude Nori employed a
wide-angle lens to invest both ordinary scenes and his staged
enactments with an unnerving sense of infinite depth. Accidental
lens distortions can also be used to dramatize gestures and
expressions in scenes where no fantasy is intended, as in many
examples from straight photography and photojournalism—among them,
Otto Steinert's Children's Carnival.
Techniques requiring more extensive
intervention in the optical process include making images without a
camera (which were originally called photograms and have since come
to be called light graphics) and joining disparate images together,
called collage or montage. Photographic collage involves cropping
and recombining camera images, either original or reproduced, by
physically gluing them together; montage refers to uniting them in
the enlarger or in the computer. Given the experimentalism implicit
in these approaches to photography, it is not surprising that all of
these techniques, which assert the non-mechanical aspects of the
medium and emphasize the individual imagination., had been part of
the avant-garde curriculum at the 1920s Bauhaus.
The photogram is a unique
cameraless image created either by playing a beam of light across a
sheet of sensitized paper or by exposing to a fixed or a moving
light source various translucent and opaque objects arranged on
sensitized paper. An early-19th-century invention, it was updated
during the 1920s and again in the 1940s, when it was sometimes
combined with other procedures. In the United States, Carlotta
Corpron, Lotte Jacobi, Nathan Lerner, and Barbara Morgan were among
those who involved themselves with this procedure, as can be seen in
the lyrical abstractions that Jacobi called "photogenics". Morgan,
who frequently combined light drawing, photograms, and montage in
the same image, began her experiments with these techniques in 1938
by photographing the moving light patterns made by a dancer holding
a flashlight. During the 1950s, several Europeans, including Herbert
W. Franke in Austria and Peter Keetman in Germany, used
oscilloscopes and prisms to produce geometric abstractions, a number
of which bring to mind the work of the Constructivist sculptors Naum
Gabo and Antoine Pevsner.
Recently, the flexibility inherent
in making photo-grams has inspired work by Floris M. Neusiis, who
creates monochromatic, large-scale, flowerlike images that are both
decorative and mysterious. Highly colored creations by Adam Fuss arc
generated from unorthodox substances—balloons, powder, animals and
their entrails—exposed directly on Cibachrome paper; to some, their
appeal is aesthetic, to others, their metaphorical meaning is
RUTH THORNE-THOMSEN. Parable, from Songs of the Sea, 1991.
Toned gelatin silver print. Ehlers Caudill Gallery, Chicago.
Ruth Thorne-Thomsen, (American,
1943) in her mastery of pinhole photography, creates scenes that
feel like ancient myths. Her work makes tangible imagery from
humorous, intriguing or confounding textural sources. Combining the
scale of vast landscapes with the intimacy of a well-kept secret,
these charming, small-scale works seem to have been made centuries
ago. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts
fellowships and her work is in many major museum collections.
CHRISTIAN VOGT. Untitled (Metaphysical
Toned gelatin silver prim.
OTTO STEINERT. Children's Carnival,
Gelatin silver print. Polkwang Museum, Essen, Germany. Courtesy Mrs.
Otto Steinert (July 12, 1915 –
March 3, 1978) was an important German photographer.
Born in Saarbrücken, Germany,
Steinert was a medical doctor by profession and was an autodidact in
photography. After World War II, he initially worked for the State
School for Art and Craft (Staatliche Schule für Kunst und Handwerk,
today HTW) in Saarbrücken. From 1959, he taught at a design school (Folkwang
Academy) in Essen, where he later died.
His assets are today part of the
photographic collection of the Museum Folkwang, Essen.
ADAM FUSS. Love, 1992.
Unique Cibachrome photogram. Robert Miller Gallery, New York.
Another type of cameraless imagery
that attracted attention in the 1950s combined photogram techniques
with a modern version of cliche verre. Random patterns formed on
glass by such substances as viscous liquids and crystals provided a
negative for printing on sensitized paper. Henry Holmes Smith, one
of the first Americans to use this procedure, would manipulate a
syrupy mixture on glass plates to create nonobjective images that he
would print either on monochromatic silver or on multichrome
dye-transfer materials. Although not produced until the mid-1970s,
the bold forms and strong colors in Smith's Small Poster for a
Heavenly Circus proclaim its connection with the earlier Abstract
Expressionist painting style. Smith's onetime student Jaromir
Stephany experimented with similar techniques, using ink on film in
both 4x5 inch and 35mm formats to create visionary images that
suggest galactic events. The imaginative possibilities of cliche
verve appealed to the photographer-artist Frederick Sommer, who
began to work with glass and cellophane in the 1950s, painting on or
filming these materials with smoke to create nonobjective shapes.
Sommer, a complex personality as fascinated by putrescence as by
living beau-ty, also made montages, assemblages, and straight
photographs, seeking in all to give visible form to the mysteries he
discovered in both the real and the imaginary worlds, which he
regarded as one and the same.
In the 1950s, the French
photographer Jean-Pierre Sudre explored the aesthetic and
metaphorical possibilities offered by random arrangements of
chemical salts on glass—a technique he called "crystallography."
Heinz Hajek-Halke, who began to work both with cameras and with
cameraless techniques after a quarter-century as a successful press
and scientific cameraman in Germany, created "luminograms" with
moving beams of light and what are called "lightgraphics" by
exposing granular and liquid substances on film to directed light
sources. The "chemigrams" created by the Belgian photographer Pierre
Cordier are produced in normal light without a camera by combining
in a novel way the chemicals associated with painting—varnish, wax,
and oil—and those used in photography: photosensitive emulsions,
colored dyes, developer, and fixer.
In the 1950s and '6os, collage
techniques attracted a number of photographers in the United States
(many associated with the Institute of Design) as a means of
generating fresh visions of commonplace experiences.
These collages generally were
created from straight photographs that were cropped, repeated, and
rearranged to form a freshly synthesized statement. Arches, a
typical work by Ray K. Metzker in this mode, although visually
pleasing in its patterns, is meant not as a decorative object but as
an expression in new form of the emotional texture of the generating
experience—in this case the excitement of street life in downtown
Philadelphia. Over the past several decades Barbara Crane has worked
with cropped and repeated strips of images of built structures and
organic matter, combining them with other experimentalist elements
such as photograms. Rejecting the usual lenticular description of
space as an uninterrupted continuum, Joyce Neimanas collaged sx-70
Polaroid prints, including their borders. In these works she has
also sought to extend the biographical data about her subjects by
incorporating images of their belongings and surroundings. A quite
different approach to collage is visible in the work of Carl
Chiarenza, who creates miniature still lifes from torn paper and
photographic packaging materials, which he then photographs;
enlarged greatly, these works take on the aspect of mysterious
Both collage and montage were seen
by the postwar generation as an especially fruitful method of
projecting private visions, of dealing with the possibility that, as
the American photographer Jerry X. Uelsmann has written, "the mind
knows more than the eye and camera can see." By the early 1930s,
printing multiple images on one photographic support had enabled
some American photographers to explore mystical realms that seemed
impossible to evoke through straight photographs. At that time,
William Mortensen, whose "medieval sensibility" led him to imagine
scenes that seemed at once bizarre and amusing to many
contemporaries, resorted to montage to create his visions of
wickedness and lust. In the same decade, Clarence John Laughlin,
bemused by the "unreality of the real and the reality of the
unreal," not only worked with montage but created settings, costumed
models, and directed scenarios to give form to his conviction that
"the physical object is merely a stepping stone to an inner world".
Soon after, Edmund Teskte combined chemical manipulation with
montage to make poignant his sense of the melancholy eroticism of
small-town American life.
HENRY HOLMES SMITH. Small Poster for a Heavenly Circus, 1974-75.
Dye transfer (dye imbibition) print from 1974 monochrome refraction
drawing in the Henry Holmes Smith Archive,
Indiana University Art Museum. Collection Ted R. Smith.
FREDERICK SOMMER. The Giant, 1946.
Gelatin silver print. Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, Cal. Light
Gallery, New York
(b Angri, 7 Sept 1905).
American photographer, painter and
theorist of Italian birth. After studying landscape architecture
with his father Carlos Sommer in Brazil (1916–25) and at Cornell
University (MA 1927), he worked as a landscape architect in Brazil
until 1930. While in Switzerland convalescing after tuberculosis in
1930, he became interested in modern art and acquired his first
camera. He moved to Tucson, AZ, in 1931 and settled in Prescott, AZ,
in 1935. He held his first exhibition, of watercolours, in Chicago
in 1934 and discovered the graphic aspect of musical scores. His
interest in photography was increased after seeing prints by Edward
Weston in 1936. He bought a large-format camera in 1938 and held his
first one-man show as a photographer in 1946 (Santa Barbara, CA, Mus.
A.). His links with European art were strengthened by his friendship
with Max Ernst, whom he met in 1941.
RAY K. METZKER. Arches, 1967.
Gelatin silver print.
JOYCE NEIMANAS. Untitled, 1981.
Sx-70 (internal dye-diffusion transfer) prints.
WILLIAM MORTENSEN. Lamour, c. 1936.
Gelatin silver print with textured screen.
Uelsmann is one of a group of
photographers who, since the 1960s, have consistently used montage
to create poetic fantasies. Pieced together from an array of his own
negatives, his work achieves a seamless merging of the real and the
imagined. While his early images express a lucid if not markedly
original perception of women as fertility figures from whom all life
radiates, his later montages—among them an untitled interior with
clouds—explore less bromidic ideas, despite their obvious
relationship to Magritte's paintings. The strange montages by Eikoh
Hosoc, a Japanese photographer of international renown, reflect
their maker's belief that the camera has introduced him to an
"abnormal, warped, sarcastic, grotesque, savage and promiscuous
world." In like manner, montages by the California printmaker and
photographer Robert Heinecken are frill of gritty allusions to the
often violent sexism rampant on magazine pages, billboards, and
television screens. Produced on a scale that reinforces their
affinity to commercial advertising, his images seem to mix
condemnation with a certain sense of wish fulfillment.
Given the wide acceptance of
collage and montage by Surrealist artists in Europe before World War
II, it is not surprising that a later generation of European
photographers has also turned to these means. Psychoanalytical
concepts have engaged the Czech photographers Martin Hruska and Jan
Saudek, who are among those who have created dreamlike visions and
erotic statements both by staging scenes and by combining images in
the enlarger. On occasion their work and that by other individuals
concerned with the psyche recalls spatial configurations and symbols
invented by the painters Salvador Dali and de Chirico, but their
images are also informed by concepts and iconography taken from
postwar advertising, popular entertainment, and television. For
example, Paul de Nooijer addressed the excesses of consumerist
culture by staging and montaging outrageous parodies of bourgeois
fetishes and by printing his images in a grainy style that mimics
cheap print reproduction.
Montage can serve to extend visual
experience beyond that based on a single image taken from one
position and at one moment in time. The Germans Rinke and Willman
and the Italian photographer Franco Vaccari, among others, have
combined complete or partial photographs of the same object, place,
or individual taken from different vantage points and at different
times. Their aim has been to suggest the "incomplete, unstable and
unending forms that reality assumes," and to provide images with
such large dimensions that they require the viewer to include time
as an element in their perception of them. In societies as disparate
as England, Italy, and Russia, a number of photographers—among them,
Calum Colvin, Paolo Gioli, and Vitas Luckas—have grasped the
possibilities inherent in montage to express the profound sense of
instability they experienced as their countries grew more chaotic or
underwent catastrophic economic and social change.
The extensive use of models acting
out scenes in fabricated settings that suggest the irrational
content of dreams and visions is perhaps the most singular change to
occur in photography since the 1960s. In common with the montagists,
the photographers engaged in such directorial practices have drawn
upon ideas that surfaced earlier in the century in graphic art and
still- and motion-picture photography, to which they have added
elements of post-war popular culture. In constructing their own
realities for the camera lens, some alter settings only slightly,
while others stage complete fictions, with sets, models, costumes,
and action directed entirely by the photographer. As an early
example of the former approach, Ralph Eugene Meatyard photographed
family and friends posed in unpretentious settings, but here
the suggestive presence of an empty' mirror and a mysteriously
clothed dress dummy adds a dimension of psychological nuance. In
other of his photographs, the shapes of shadows and the blurs caused
by movement intimate a ghostly presence.
JERRY N. UELSMANN. Unttled (Cloud Room), 1975.
Toned gelatin silver print. Collection Jain and George W. Kelly, New
JERRY N. UELSMANN
Jerry N. Uelsmann (born 11 June
1934) is an American photographer.
Uelsmann was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is a master printer
producing composite photographs with multiple negatives and
extensive darkroom work. He uses up to a dozen enlargers at a time
to produce his final images. Similar in technique to Rejlander,
Uelsmann is a champion of the idea that the final image need not be
tied to a single negative, but may be composed of many. Unlike
Rejlander, though, he does not seek to create narratives, but rather
allegorical surrealist imagery of the unfathomable. Uelsmann is able
to subsist on grants and teaching salary, rather than commercial
Today, with the advent of digital cameras and Photoshop,
photographers are able to create a work somewhat resembling
Uelsmann's in less than a day, however, at the time Uelsmann was
considered to have almost "magical skill" with his completely analog
tools. Uelsmann used the darkroom frequently, sometimes using three
to ten enlargers to produce the expected effect. Photos are still
widely regarded as documentary evidence of events, and Uelsmann,
along with people like Lucas Samaras, was considered an avant garde
shatterer of the popular conception.
Uelsmann holds a B.F.A. degree from the Rochester Institute of
Technology and M.S. and M.F.A. degrees from Indiana University. He
began teaching photography at the University of Florida in 1960. He
is now retired from teaching and currently lives in Gainesville,
Florida along with his fifth wife, Maggie Taylor. Uelsmann has one
son, Andrew, who is a graduate student at the University of Florida.
In 1981, a report by American Photographer ranked Uelsmann as being
amongst the top ten photographers collected in America. His smaller
works presently sell for between $1000 and $2500 at auction.
His photographs can be seen in the opening credits of The Outer
His artwork is also featured in the progressive metal band Dream
Theater's 7th studio album Train of Thought (2003).
EIKOH HOSOE. Ordeal by Roses #29, 1961-62.
Gelatin silver print. Light Gallery, New York.
Eikoh Hosoe (Hosoe Eikō; b. 18
March 1933 in Yonezawa, Yamagata) is a Japanese photographer and
filmmaker who emerged in the experimental arts movement of
post-World War II Japan. He is known for his psychologically charged
images, often exploring subjects such as death, erotic obsession,
and irrationality. Through his friendships and artistic
collaborations he is linked with the writer Yukio Mishima and 1960s
avant-garde artists such the dancer Tatsumi Hijikata.
After attending The Tokyo College of Photography in the 1950's Hosoe,
joined “Demokrato” an avant-garde artist's group led by the artist
Ei Q, while still a student. In 1960, Hosoe created the Jazz Film
Laboratory (Jazzu Eiga Jikken-shitsu) with Hijikata, Shuji Terayama,
and Shōmei Tōmatsu. The Jazz Film Laboratory was a multidisciplinary
artistic project aimed at producing highly expressive and intense
works such as Hosoe's 1960 short black and white film Navel and
A-Bomb (Heso to genbaku).
With Hijikata, Hosoe created Kamaitachi, a series of images that
reference stories of a supernatural being — 'weasel-sickle' — that
haunted the Japanese countryside of Hosoe's childhood. In the
photographs, Hijikata is seen as a wandering ghost mirroring the
stark landscape and confronting farmers and children.
With Mishima as a model, Hosoe created a series of dark, erotic
images centered on the male body, Ordeal by Roses (Bara-kei, 1963).
The series (set in Mishima's Tokyo house) positions Mishima in
melodramatic poses. Mishima would follow his fantasies, eventually
committing suicide by seppuku in 1970.
Hosoe has been the director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic
Arts (Kiyosato, Yamanashi) since its opening in 1995.
ROBERT HEINECKEN. Le Voyeur/Robbe-Grillett #1, 1972.
Photographic emulsion on canvas; bleached; pastel chalk.
International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House,
Rochester, NT. Light Gallery, New York.
PAUL DE NOOIJER. Menno's Head, 1976.
Gelatin silver prim.
RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD. Cranston Ritchie, 1964.
Gelatin silver print. Collection Jain and George W. Kelly, New York.
RALPH EUGENE MEATYARD
Ralph Eugene Meatyard (1925-1972)
was an American photographer.
Ralph Eugene Meatyard's death in
1972, a week away from his 47th birthday, came at the height of the
"photo boom," a period of growth and ferment in photography in the
United States which paralleled the political and social upheavals of
the 1960s and 1970s. It was a time of ambition, not reflection, a
time for writing resumés, not thoughtful and inclusive histories; in
the contest of reputation, dying in 1972 meant leaving the race
early. It was left to friends and colleagues to complete an Aperture
monograph on Meatyard and carry through with the publication of The
Family Album of Lucybelle Crater (1974) which he had laid out and
sequenced before his death. He was from Normal, Illinois.
While he lived Meatyard's work was
shown and collected by major museums, published in important art
magazines, and regarded by his peers as among the most original and
disturbing imagery ever created with a camera. He exhibited with
such well-known and diverse photographers as Edward Weston, Ansel
Adams, Minor White, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, Robert Frank, and
Eikoh Hosoe. But by the late 1970s, his photographs seemed consigned
to appear mainly in exhibitions of "southern" art. In the last
decade, however, thanks in part to European critics (who since at
least the time of De Tocqueville have forged insights into American
culture), Meatyard's work has reemerged, and the depth of its genius
and its contributions to photography have begun to be understood and
appreciated. In a sense Meatyard suffered a fate common to artists
who are very much of but also very far ahead of their time.
Everything about his life and his art ran counter to the usual and
expected patterns. He was an optician, happily married, a father of
three, president of the Parent-Teacher Association, and coach of a
boy's baseball team. He lived in Lexington, Kentucky, far from the
urban centers most associated with serious art. His images had
nothing to do with the gritty "street photography" of the east coast
or the romantic view camera realism of the west coast. His best
known images were populated with dolls and masks, with family,
friends and neighbors pictured in abandoned buildings or in ordinary
At the same time he often turned
from this vernacular focus and, like such photographers as Henry
Holmes Smith, Harry Callahan and others, produced highly
experimental work. These images include multiple exposures and
photographs where, through deliberate camera movement, Meatyard took
Fox Talbot's "pencil of nature" and drew calligraphic images with
the sun's reflection on a black void of water. However, where others
used these experiments to expand the possibilities of form in
photographs, Meatyard consistently applied breakthroughs in formal
design to the exploration of ideas and emotions. Finally—and of
great importance in the development of his aesthetic—Meatyard
created a mode of "No-Focus" imagery that was distinctly his own.
"No-Focus" images ran entirely counter to any association of camera
art with objective realism and opened a new sense of creative
freedom in his art.
In short, Meatyard's work
challenged most of the cultural and aesthetic conventions of his
time and did not fit in with the dominant notions of the kind of art
photography could and should be. His work sprang from the beauty of
ideas rather than ideas of the beautiful. Wide reading in literature
(especially poetry) and philosophy (especially Zen) stimulated his
imagination. While others roamed the streets searching for America
and truth, Meatyard haunted the world of inner experience,
continually posing unsettling questions about our emotional
realities through his pictures. Once again, however, he inhabited
this world quite differently from other photographers exploring
inner experience at the time. Meatyard's "mirror" (as John
Szarkowski used the term) was not narcissistic. It looked back
reflectively on the dreams and terrors of metaphysical questions,
not private arguments of faith or doubt.
At the other extreme, a large
number of photographers—including M. Richard Kirstel, Les Krims,
Laurie Simmons, Arthur Tress, and Joel-Peter Witkin in the United
States, and de Nooijer, Bernard Faucon, Joan Fontcuberta, and Jan
Saudek in Europe—create fantasies that arc entirely fabricated.
Krims uses the iconography of both Surrealism and Pop art in his
sardonic and at rimes horrifying statements about middle-class life
in modern America . Tress, who has worked in this mode as well as
with montage since the 1970s, has brought a generally morbid
sensibility to his stagings of obsessional dramas, although a later
series—published as The Tea-pot Opera— takes a more whimsical tone.
Faucon at first devoted considerable rime to creating backgrounds,
fabricating figures, and managing lighting effects for energetic
works that initially drew upon popular entertainments for their
humor. More recently, he has employed special lighting and props to
transform real spaces and real persons into a series of images
suffused with a romantic aura.
In the past, creating such
fabrications could be extra-ordinarily time consuming, but the
computer has some-what simplified this way of working. Yet whatever
the means used to produce them, however the elements are arranged
and lighted, and whether they deal with classical psychoanalytic
symbolism or idiosyncratic combinations of objects and figures, the
effectiveness of the resulting images depends on the viewer's belief
that what appears in a photograph must to some degree be truthful.
Of course, staging photographs does
not invariably result in conceptual or grotesque imagery, as
photographs of both still lifes and the nude prove. Denis Brihat,
one of the founders of the French photography group called
Expression libre, brought out concordances between flesh and stone
by carefully positioning the fruit in William Pear and by
intervening in the chemical processing. Similarly, in a series
entitled My Adventure with Pitch, Jean Dieuzaide photographed the
abstract shapes and forms suggestive of human anatomy produced by
the manipulation of this coal by-product. Lucien Clergue, another
founder of the same group, posed nude models in a landscape of sea
and sand for close-up views that ostensibly are evocations of mythic
M. RICHARD KIRSTEL. From Water Babies, 1976.
Gelatin silver print.
Joel-Peter Witkin (born September
13, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York City) is an American photographer.
Witkin was born to a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother. He has
a twin brother, Jerome Witkin, who also plays a significant role in
the art world for his realistic paintings. Witkin's parents divorced
when Witkin was young because they were unable to transcend their
religious differences. He attended grammar school at Saint Cecelia's
in Brooklyn and went on to Grover Cleveland High School. He worked
as war photographer between 1961 and 1964 during the Vietnam war. In
1967, he decided to work as a freelance photographer and became City
Walls Inc. official photographer. Later, he attended Cooper Union in
New York where he studied sculpture and became Bachelor of Arts in
1974. After the Columbia University granted him a scholarship, he
ended his studies at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque,
where he became Master of Fine Arts.
Witkin claims that his vision and sensibility were initiated by an
episode he witnessed when he was just a small child, a car accident
that occurred in front of his house in which a little girl was
"It happened on a Sunday when my
mother was escorting my twin brother and me down the steps of the
tenement where we lived. We were going to church. While walking down
the hallway to the entrance of the building, we heard an incredible
crash mixed with screaming and cries for help. The accident involved
three cars, all with families in them. Somehow, in the confusion, I
was no longer holding my mother's hand. At the place where I stood
at the curb, I could see something rolling from one of the
overturned cars. It stopped at the curb where I stood. It was the
head of a little girl. I bent down to touch the face, to speak to it
-- but before I could touch it someone carried me away."
He also claims that the
difficulties in his family were an influence for his work too. His
favourite artist is Giotto, but the most obvious artistic influences
on his work are Surrealism (particularly Max Ernst) and Baroque art.
His photographic techniques draw on early Daguerreotypes and on the
work of E. J. Bellocq.
His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (or pieces
of them), and various outsiders such as dwarfs, transsexuals,
hermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. His complex tableaux
often recall religious episodes or famous classical paintings.
Because of the transgressive nature of the contents of his pictures,
his works have been labeled exploitative and have sometimes shocked
public opinion. His art was often marginalized because of this
He employs a highly intuitive approach to the physical process of
making the photograph, including scratching the negative, bleaching
or toning the print, and an actual hands-in-the-chemicals printing
technique. This experimentation began after seeing a 19th-century
ambrotype of a woman and her ex-lover who had been scratched from
763. ARTHUR TRESS. The Actor, 1973.
Gelatin silver print.
Arthur Tress is a notable American
photographer born on November 24, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York. He is
well known for his staged surrealism and exposition of the human
First photograph at age 12. Arthur Tress' first subjects were circus
freaks and dilapidated buildings around Coney Island where he grew
up. The youngest of three children in a divorced family, Arthur
spent time in his early life with both of his parents: his father
who re-married and lived in an upper class neighbourhood, and his
mother, who remained single after the divorce and whose life was not
nearly so luxurious. In high school, he also studied the art of
After graduating from Bard College
with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1962, Arthur moved to Paris,
France to attend Film School. While living in France, Arthur
traveled to many locations, including Japan, Africa, Mexico, and
through most of Europe. While on these journeys, he observed many
secluded tribes and cultures. He was fascinated by the roles played
by the shaman of the different people groups he visited. The
cultures he was introduced to would play a permanent role in his
LES KRIMS. Homage to the Crosstar Filter Photograph, 1971.
Gelatin silver print on Kodalith paper.
Les Krims is a conceptualist
photographer living in Buffalo, New York. He is noted for his
carefully arrange fabricated photographs (called "fictions"),
various candid series, a satirical edge, dark humor, and
long-standing criticism of what he describes as leftist twaddle.
Les Krims was born in Brooklyn, NY,
on August 16, 1942. He studied at a science high school (Stuyvesant
High School, in NYC). Richard Ben-Veniste ("Benti," as he was called
in home-room at Stuyvesant), famous for prosecuting Richard Nixon,
and A.D. Coleman, the former photography critic for The New York
Times, were two of Krims' Stuyvesant classmates. Krims studied art
at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and
Pratt Institute. For the last 39 years he has taught photography,
first at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and for the last 37
years at Buffalo State College, where he is a professor in the
Department of Fine Arts. In describing his staged pictures, and the
parodies of candid journalistic propaganda photographs he makes,
Krims said, "It is possible to create any picture one imagines."
Krims's latest project is a website (leskrims.com) where he sells
archival ink jet prints of a wide selection of his pictures. Krims
claims new digital printing technology and capitalism make it
possible to "own the means of production, rendering moot
wall-to-wall delusional Marxist posturing in the culture community."
Les Krims has published numerous
offset works. Two of these, "Fictcryptokrimsographs," and "Making
Chicken Soup" were published by Humpy Press, which he founded and
incorporated in the mid-1970s, and has since been dissolved. Krims
has also published original print portfolios such as, "Idiosyncratic
Pictures," and "Porsch Rainbows." Most recently (November 2005), a
Photo Poche monograph, "Les Krims," edited by Robert Delpire, with
an introduction by Bernard Noel, was published by Actes Sud, in
In The Little People of America (1971), Krims received permission to
photograph people belonging to a national organization founded by
the actor Billy Barty, called "The Little People of America. " Many
of the pictures were made at national conventions of the L.P.A, in
Oakland, CA, and Atlanta, GA. Krims sought to show that the people
he photographed were brave, normal people, having more in common
with the Mid-West than the Upper-West-Side, unlike the way the dwarf
was portrayed in the history of art or contemporary photographs.
In his portfolio The Deerslayers (1972), Krims took pictures of deer
hunters who had voluntarily stopped at "deer check stations" so that
NYS conservationists could examine the general health of the deer.
Pictured posing with their kills, Krims suggested the hunters had
much in common with performance art, and odd manifestations of
sculpture. He also attempted to underscore the American nature and
long tradition of deer hunting as one aspect of a criticism of
animal rights and anti-Vietnam War activists.
In The Incredible Case Of The Stack O'Wheat Murders (1972), Krims
both parodies forensic photography, and points to it as a remarkable
archive of incredible and moving images (the various, successful CSI
television series attests to his prescience). In each "Wheats" crime
scene, a Stack O'Wheats (pancakes) is placed near each "victim" (he
used friends and family to pose for the pictures). Each stack is
topped with pats of butter and syrup, the number of pancakes in the
stack signifying the number of the crime. Hershey's chocolate syrup
was used to simulate blood in the photos, which was formed into
words and celestial shapes. Krims originally included 8 ounces of
Hershey's syrup in a heat sealed plastic bag with the original print
portfolio, as well as "enough pancake mix to make one complete Stack
In Making Chicken Soup (1972), Krims published pictures of his
mother preparing her traditional chicken soup recipe, while nude.
These pictures were published as a small book, some say giving rise
years later to the popular Chicken Soup series. The book contained a
dedication, which underscored the real point of the satire: "This
book is dedicated to my mother and concerned photographers, both
make chicken soup." Krims felt that "socially concerned" photography
was a palliative, just as chicken soup was—in the long run, an
ineffective remedy for serious disease.
In Fictocryptokrimsographs, published in 1975, Krims used a Polaroid
SX-70 camera to make a series of 40, titled pictures. The SX-70 was
chosen, because of the ability to literally move and work the not
yet dry, viscous, film emulsion much like paint after the picture
developed. Included are various odd and humorous pictures, which are
often puns or parodies of fashion trends.
Krims has also steadily been adding pictures to an overarching
project spanning three decades called, "The Decline of the Left."
He is sometimes displayed in exhibition in the U.S. and
In 2004, he had a two-month exhibition at Laurence Miller Gallery in
NYC titled "Fictions 1969-1974". In 2007, he had a retrospective at
Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris and has been part of a dozen other
group exhibitions of photography in the years 2000-2007 with others
planned.In 1971, a young boy was kidnapped in Memphis, Tennessee.
The ransom requested for his return was the removal of Les Krims's
photographs then on exhibition in Memphis. Krims' pictures were
removed and the boy was released unharmed. A few years later, Light
Gallery, in New York City, published an original print portfolio
containing the Krims photographs on view at that exhibition. Light
Gallery titled the portfolio, "The Only Photographs in the World to
Ever Cause a Kidnapping." Krims had nothing to do with the
Krims has been criticized by some anti-porn feminists and feminist
photographers as being fetishistic, objectifying, body despising and
a misogynist who uses his photography to humiliate predominantly
women. Even though Krims does include men (often himself, nude) in
his photos, these critics contend that his primary viciousness is
reserved for women. However, Krims displays captions with his images
that place the work in context.
On March 31, 1980, anti-porn activist Nikki Craft destroyed a
portfolio of "The Incredible Case Of The Stack O'Wheat Murders,"
belonging to a library, by tearing the pictures to pieces and
pouring chocolate syrup over them. Craft faced felony conspiracy and
malicious mischief charges at University of California, Santa Cruz.
However charges were later dismissed and she was nominated for a
chancellor's award by her arresting officer, the provost of her
college (the then mayor of Santa Cruz) and hundreds of students.
Craft maintained that her action was a work of art and an act of
disobedience and was not an act of censorship because it resulted in
more discussion about the prints. Several months later, after a
community dialog in the media and art national art journals, she
donated an exact duplicate set of prints back to the Special
Collections Dept of the UCSC library where it remains to this day.
JEAN DIEUZAIDE. My Adventure with Pitch, 1958.
Gelatin silver prim.
JEAN DIEUZAIDE. Dali dans l'eau, Port-Lligat, 1953
Lucien Clergue (born August 14,
1934) is a French photographer.
Clergue was born in Arles. From the age of 7, Lucien Clergue learnt
to play the violin. Several years later, his teacher revealed to him
that he had nothing more to teach him. From a family of shopkeepers,
he could not pursue further studies in a conservatory. In 1949, he
learns the rudiments of photography. Four years later, at a corrida
in Arles, he showed his photos to Pablo Picasso, who though subdued
demanded to see others. Within a year and a half, young Clergue
worked with the goal of sending photos to Picasso. During this
period he worked on his series of photographs of traveling
entertainers, acrobats and harlequins, the « Saltimbanques ». He
also worked meanwhile on a series whose subject is carrion.
On 4 November 1955, Lucien Clergue visited Picasso in Cannes. Their
friendship lasted near 30 years, until the death of the Master. The
book, Picasso my friend retraces the important moments of their
Clergue has taken many photographs of the gypsies of southern
France, and he was instrumental in propelling the guitarist Manitas
de Plata to fame.
In 1968 he founded, along with his friend Michel Tournier the
Rencontres d’Arles photography festival which is held in Arles in
Clergue has illustrated books, among these a book by writer Yves
In 2007, the city of Arles honored Lucien Clergue and dedicated a
retrospective collection of 360 of his photographs dating from 1953
to 2007. He also received the 2007 Lucie Award.
He is named knight of the Légion d'honneur in 2003 and elected
member of the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France on the
31 May 2006, on the creation of a new section consecrated to
photography. Clergue is the first photographer to enter the Academy
to a seat devoted to photography.
Nearly all still-life images are
the result of prearrangements or staging. Usually their objectives
are fairly simple: to make an aesthetic statement unencumbered by
political or social issues, as exemplified by the belief that
"associations in the real world simply do not matter in
photography." Works by Zeke Berman, which comprise both solid and
linear forms, share this intention, except that they also play with
the conventions of creating spatial perspective.
Still-life photographs may have
more than aesthetic aims. Those by Michiko Kon, which consist of
strange conjunctions of organic matter—fish scales,
vegetables—arranged in the form of ordinary garments, may be simply
banal statements that one is what one eats or they may suggest a
more profound relationship between organic and manufactured
entities. Fontcuberta has evolved "new" species with new "Latin"
denominations from a mixture of organic materials, which he
photographs with clinical clarity against plain backdrops.
The staging of scenes for the
camera has been influenced not only by print advertising but also by
cinema and television, so it is not surprising that photographers
have sometimes given their productions greater impact by installing
them in specific configurations. Nan Goldin has projected her images
in prearranged sequences accompanied by words and music; Lorie
Novak, using a number of projectors, combines images of personal
history and public events. In installations by other photographers,
articles and images of all sorts—newspaper clippings, stuffed
animals, snapshots, bits of clothing—have been hung on walls or on
specially built structures to create a nuanccd environment that
conveys a personal or political message, as in recent work by the
French photographers Christian Boltanski and Annette Messager.
These expedients suggest that, for some artists, dealing with
profound and difficult themes such as family life, sexuality, or the
Holocaust (which has engaged Boltanski for more than ten years) is
beyond the scope of direct documentation and the single image.
The various methods and procedures
used to give form to a landscape of the imagination often overlap.
Collages and montages at times include negative and positive
versions of the same or different photographs; some elements may be
distorted or solarized (the latter is a technique for partially
reversing the tonality of the negative by exposing it to light
during development). Photographers using these techniques often
manipulate the chemical development process to make the image foggy
or grainy, or they may add tone to it. The photographer thus asserts
right to make imaginative or
conceptual as well as realistic statements with the camera, an
attitude toward the medium that can be traced back to the work of
Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Gustav Rejlander, and Henry Peach
Robinson in the 19th century.
MiCHIKO KON. Dress of Peas, 1994.
Gelatin silver print. Robert Mann Gallery, New York.
JOAN FONTCUBERTA. Lavandula Angustifolia, c. 1984.
Gelatin silver print. Zabriskie Gallery, New York.
CHRISTIAN BOLTANSKI. The Drawer; 1988.
Gelatin silver print, lightbulb, and metal box filled with clothing,
37 x 24 x 16 in.
Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.