A Collection of Self-Portraits by Gertrud Arndt (1930s)

Gertrud Arndt (1903 – 2000) was a photographer associated with the Bauhaus movement. She is remembered for her pioneering series of self-portraits from around 1930.

Over the five years she captured herself and her friends in various styles, costumes and settings in the series known as Maskenportäts (Masked Portraits). Although at the time Arndt refused to attribute any deep artistic meaning to her photographs, they were imaginative and provocative. Through her costumes, Arndt created playful reinterpretations of such feminine tropes as the widow, socialite, and a little girl.

The viewer is confronted with Arndt head on, unable to ignore the expression communicated by her face and the accessories that framed it. In an interview as a nonagenarian, Arndt told Sabina Leßmann, “I am simply interested in the face, what does one make from a face? There you only need to open your eyes wide and already you are someone else. Isn’t that true?”. Today Arndt is considered to be a pioneer of female self-portraiture, her work echoing in that of Cindy Sherman and Sophie Calle.

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Gertrud Arndt, self-portrait via

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Self Portrait© Gertrud Arndt via

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Gertrud Arndt, Maskenportrait Nr. 29, via

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Gertrud Arndt, Maskenfoto, um 1930 Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin © VG Bild‐Kunst, Bonn 2016 via

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Mask portrait No. 131 by Gertrud Arndt, 1930 via

Beautiful Victorian Portraits by Lady Clementina Hawarden

Lady Clementina Hawarden (1822 – 1865) was a noted portrait photographer of the Victorian Era.

She turned to photography in late 1857 or early 1858, whilst living on the estate of her husband’s family in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. A move to London in 1859 allowed her to set up a studio in her elegant home in South Kensington.

The furniture and characteristic decor of an upper-class London home was removed in order to create mise-en-scène images and theatrical poses within the first floor of her home – Hawarden’s characteristic portraits include her daughters Isabella Grace, Clementina, and Florence Elizabeth.

Hawarden produced albumen prints from wet-plate collodion negatives, a method commonly used at the time. Her work was widely acclaimed for its “artistic excellence”. Hawarden was considered an amateur photographer and while appreciated for her work, never became widely known as a photographer. Her photographic years were brief but prolific. Hawarden produced over eight hundred photographs from 1857-1864 before her sudden death. she died after suffering from pneumonia for one week, aged 42. It has been suggested that her immune system was weakened by constant contact with the photographic chemicals.

Her work is likened to Julia Margaret Cameron, another Victorian female photographer.

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A photograph that is possibly a self-portrait of Clementina, Lady Hawarden, taken in about 1862 via

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Isabella by Clementina, Lady Hawarden via

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Isabella by Lady Clementina Hawarden via

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Clementina reading while sitting at the window wearing some kind of fancy dress or theatrical costume, ca. 1862-63 by Lady Clementina Hawarden via

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Clementina, reading a book by Clementina, Lady Hawarden via

Impressive Pioneer Photography by Hill & Adamson (1843 – 1848)

In 1843 artist David Octavius Hill joined engineer Robert Adamson in partnership at Rock House on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland.

During their brief four year partnership, between 1843-1848, Hill & Adamson produced the first substantial body of self-consciously artistic work using the newly invented medium of photography.

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David Octavius Hill, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), 1843 via

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Miss Matilda Rigby, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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The bird-cage, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848)  via

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A Discussion,  Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), via

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The Letter, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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Mr Laing or Laine, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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Piper and Drummer of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, Edinburgh Castle, Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848) via

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The Scott Monument,  Hill & Adamson (Scottish, active 1843 – 1848), about 1845 via

“Boulevard du Temple” by Louis Daguerre (1838)

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“Boulevard du Temple”, taken by Louis Daguerre in 1838 in Paris, includes the earliest known candid photograph of a person. The image shows a busy street, but because the exposure had to continue for several minutes the moving traffic is not visible. At the lower left, however, a man apparently having his boots polished, and the bootblack polishing them, were motionless enough for their images to be captured via

 

Three Photos by Robert Demachy (1859–1936)

Robert Demachy (1859–1936) was the leading French Pictorial photographer of the late 19th and early 20th century. Pictorialism began in response to claims that a photograph was nothing more than a simple record of reality, and transformed into an international movement to advance the status of all photography as a true art form.

Demachy is best known for his intensely manipulated prints that display a distinct painterly quality. Demachy was particularly interested in nonstandard photographic processes and is noted especially for his revival of the gum bichromate process (invented in 1855 but little used until the 1890s), which allowed the introduction of color and brushwork into the photographic image (source).

He gave up taking photographs in early 1914, and never again touched a camera, even refusing to take snapshots of his grandchildren. No one was ever able to extract any reason from him for this sudden change, and it remains a mystery to this day.

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Dans les coulisses by Robert Demachy, ca. 1897 via

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Behind the Scenes of the Opera by Robert Demachy via

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Behind the Scenes by Robert Demachy, 1906 via

Photos by Visionary Photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882 – 1966)

Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882 – 1966) was an early 20th-century photographer who became a key figure in the development of American pictorialism – the name given to an international style and aesthetic movement that dominated photography during the later 19th and early 20th centuries.

Typically, a pictorial photograph appears to lack a sharp focus (some more so than others), is printed in one or more colors other than black-and-white (ranging from warm brown to deep blue) and may have visible brush strokes or other manipulation of the surface. For the pictorialist, a photograph, like a painting, drawing or engraving, was a way of projecting an emotional intent into the viewer’s realm of imagination

Coburn became the first major photographer to emphasize the visual potential of elevated viewpoints and later made some of the first completely abstract photographs.

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Study – Miss R by Alvin Langdon Coburn, 1904 via

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Landscape by Alvin Langdon Coburn (1902) (Alvin Langdon Coburn/George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film) via

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Vortograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn, 1917 (Alvin Langdon Coburn/George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film) via

Vintage Photos by Victorian Pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 1879)

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 1879) was a British photographer, whose subjects were the celebrities of the victorian period and photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes. Cameron was a devoted pioneer of the art of photography. She was visionary in her belief of the ‘divine’ power of the medium, daring in her experiments with image making and persistent in the promotion of her work. Cameron was 48 years old when she obtained her first camera, given to her as a gift by her daughter and son-in-law. Cameron was religious, well-read and a bit eccentric. She wrote upon receiving the camera: “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” … “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.”

She produced the majority of her work from her home at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. By the coercive force of her eccentric personality, she enlisted everyone around her as models, from family members to domestic servants and local residents. Cameron acted out scenes from mythology, the Bible and Shakespeare, even creating an entire series based off Tennyson’s poetry. The wife of a retired jurist, Cameron moved in the highest circles of society in Victorian England. Having friends in the Victorian poetry and science circles like Alfred Lord Tennyson and Sir John Herschel. These accomplished compatriots soon became Cameron’s favorite subjects.

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Maud (Illustration to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and Other Poems), 1875

Alice Liddell, 1872

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The Sunflower, 1866

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After the Manner of Perugino, 1865

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The Eccho, 1868