Concepts and Trends

Other artists previously connected to the Pictorialist Movement, such as Pierre Dubreuil, developed similarly unique photographic idioms in the 1920s. The art critic Andy Grunberg has described how Dubreuil “managed to absorb the compositional tropes of the modern style without abandoning his reliance on atmosphere.”

Steiglitz’s work would influence a younger generation of Straight Photographers, including Lotte Jacobi, Henry Holmes Smith, Minor White, and Aaron Siskind. All of these artists began during the 1940s to create abstract work using landscapes and found objects: a metal hook and eye; rock formations; peeling paint on a wall. Minor White was particularly influenced by Stieglitz’s Equivalents series, while Smith pioneered the use of high-speed flash photography, drawing on the experiments of László Moholy-Nagy. Siskind’s work was uniquely informed by his close association with the Abstract Expressionist painters, including Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, and Adolph Gottlieb.

A number of these artists felt that the image had a correspondence or equivalence to inner states or elemental realities. Frederick Sommer referred to his near-abstract photographs of desert landscapes, in which the dense, all-over detail of vegetation and rock tends to flatten out any implied perspective, as “constellations”. While containing representational imagery, these landscapes and found-object photographs have a formal effect largely disconnected from representational source.”

On December 19th 2017 I posted “Waterfall“. And 365 days later…