Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Vortographs (1916)

The first artist to make intentionally abstract photographs was Alvin Langdon Coburn. At the beginning of his career Coburn was associated the Photo-Secession movement – which sought to present photography as a legitimate medium for fine art – and with Pictorialism, which brought to photography the impressionistic, mannered qualities of some late-nineteenth-century painting. Heralded by the influential gallerist and photographer Alfred Stieglitz as the Photo-Secession’s “youngest star”, Coburn’s early works, such as Station Roofs, Pittsburgh (1910) and The Octopus (1912), already indicate a movement towards abstraction in their emphasis of abstract pattern through novel aerial views. Other photographers, including Paul Strand and Stieglitz himself, as well as various figures connected to the so-called Straight Photography movement, were inspired by Coburn to focus on abstract forms and utilize idiosyncratic vantage-points.

In 1916 Coburn published an influential essay, “The Future of Pictorial Photography,” in which he asked “why should not the camera throw off the shackles of conventional representation and attempt something fresh and untried?” He proposed staging an exhibition entitled “Abstract Photography”, where “no work will be admitted in which the interest of the subject matter is greater than the appreciation of the extraordinary.” (Part 1/3)”

In the evening of December 14th 2017 I posted “Hidden”.

And 365 days later it is sooooo cold!!