Pictorialism from the Turn-of the-Century Photo-Secession Movement

The Photo-Secession was an early-20th-century movement that promoted photography as a fine art.

A group of photographers, led by Alfred Stieglitz and F. Holland Day in the early 1900s, held the then controversial viewpoint that what was significant about a photograph was not what was in front of the camera but the manipulation of the image by the artist/photographer to achieve his or her subjective vision.

The movement helped to raise standards and awareness of art photography. Proponents of Pictorialism, which was the underlying value of the Photo-Secession, argued that photography needed to emulate the painting and etching of the time. Pictorialists believed that, just as a painting is distinctive because of the artist’s manipulation of the materials to achieve an effect, so too should the photographer alter or manipulate the photographic image. Among the methods used were soft focus; special filters and lens coatings; burning, dodging and/or cropping in the darkroom to edit the content of the image; and alternative printing processes such as sepia toning, carbon printing, platinum printing or gum bichromate processing.

The “membership” of the Photo-Secession varied according to Stieglitz’s interests and temperament but was centered around the core group of Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Clarence H. White, Gertrude Käsebier, Frank Eugene, F. Holland Day, and later Alvin Langdon Coburn.

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 Mending Nets by Alfred Stieglitz. Carbon print, 1894 via

 

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 “A Study” by Gertrude Käsebier. Platinum print, ca. 1898 via

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By Clarence H. White, 1871 via

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Actress Minnie Maddern Fiske by Fred Holland Day, created ca. 1895-1912 via

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The Brass Bowl by Edward Steichen. Photogravure on tissue-thin Japan paper. Literature: Camera Work 14, 1906 via

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Minuet by Frank Eugene, Photogravure on tissue-thin Japan paper. Literature: Camera Work 30, 1910 via

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 The Bubble by Alvin Langdon Coburn. Gum bichromate over platinum print, 1908 via 

Stunning Images of 1950s Paris by Sabine Weiss

Sabine Weiss was born in Switzerland in 1924. In 1942, she wonders what she will do with her life, and decides that she should become a photographer because it is what she loves to do.

In 1945 Sabine Weiss moved to a studio in Geneva, but in 1946 she decided to leave the city of her childhood to live in Paris. She knew there was no turning back. She asked Willy Maywald to become her assistant.

In 1949, she met the painter Hugh Weiss and realized right away that she would spend her life with him. Sabine Weiss left Maywald, where she mastered her craft and started a long career, experimenting fashion, photojournalism, advertising and everything else she was asked to do (source).

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Sabine Weiss, Paris, 1955 via

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Sabine Weiss, In the rain, Paris, 1957 via

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Sabine Weiss, July, Paris, 1954 via

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Sabine Weiss, St. Lazare train station, Paris, 1949 via

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Sabine Weiss, The Eiffel Towers dry, Paris, 1956 via

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Sabine Weiss, Bilboquet, La Concorde, Paris, 1950 via

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Sabine Weiss, Snow, Paris, 1952 via

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Sabine Weiss, Paris, 1953 via