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Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Aggie, Feb 9, 2004.
The inspiration for Weston was modern art, not other photographers. Ditto for Strand. Ditto for Stieglitz, whose gallery showed the latest art from Europe pre-1910. Also Lewis Hine for Strand.
There were individuals who encouraged these men to look at this art, but those individuals were not the inspiration themselves.
After a beginning period in photography my own work was mostly influenced, and continues to be influenced, by twentieth century classical music, from certain books, and from certain painters. And of course, one brings ones own life experiences into the mix.
Those who are only influenced by other photographers without a broader background in the arts end up with not enough of a mix and that is the work that is usually classed as derivitave.
Too often, photographers spend too much time on the mechanics of the medium and not enough expanding their horizons by adventuring into the arts that are unknown to them--not as makers, but as audience.
I believe that Georgia O'Keefe was also a major influence on many others in the modernist approach to photgraphy besides Steiglitz.
jim how much i agree with u
okeefe and photography created steiglitz to be not one of the best and most important photographers but something that i cannot give it the superlatives and difinitions. when i first descovered for myself the book of her portraits (u may know the big one) i was shocked. i almost dedicated myself to the studies of those imagies. u can say that painting and that art was the inspiration for steiglitz, he used soft lenses etc, but i think that okeefe pushed him beyound anything that was existed.
steiglitz himself is insiration for many photos. actually his "schoole" created most of the basic ganeres of photography giving the estaphet to adams, strand, steichen etc.
oh byy the way, i have made some time ago interpretations to steiglitz (direct and indirect). i still dont have my prints though the exhebition was ended a weak ago. i have only images that was not exhabited or reprinted. the problem is that i have only negative scanner ( for proofs), so i have to go to university art dpartment to scann prints. dont have time to go there, sitting here with the computer and writting philosophical articles, no photography at the moment. i realy would like to here from the steiglitz funs among u about those photos when i will post them.
Oh, cut it out. If I was asked to name anyone on this green and blue globe who is NOT an "airhead", my first choice would be you, Aggie.
This is an interesting question - I've just spent a rather large chunk of time when I should be working in my darkroom, to re-reading "Alfred Stieglitz - A Biography" by Richard Whelan.
The first encounter - serious encounter - that Stieglitz had with photography was on the "chemical" side - with, "Herr Professor Doktor Hermann Wilhelm Vogel of the Technische Hochschule's department of chemistry and metallurgy (Berlin) in 1884. Despite his portentious title, Vogel, who turned fifty in 1884, was not a pompous and punctilious Prussian. He was said to have an `extremely likable personality' and to be a `kindly critic'".
In a dramatic and expressive photograph, Stieglitz wrote of Vogel, "I looked upon that man as a perfect god."
His "aesthetic side" was probably influenced, at initially, by the exchange between Peter Henry Emerson - the "naturalist" and Henry Peach Robinson - a proponent of art that blatantly imitated the works of the "Pre-Raphaelites".
All that said, I really don't think there were definite "role models", per se. The "bright lights" of this era, were generally, fierce individualists, and created much original - truly original - philosophies and works. They had tremendous respect - albeit not alway friendly relations, with one another.
I forgot. Perhaps the major influence on Weston was Henrietta Shore. Her paintings were somewhat like O'Keefe's, though as it turns out she started making them in that style of modernist simpliciation of form earlier than O'Keefe did. In the 20s more than one reviewer compared their work and found Shore's superior. There is a book of her paintings written by the Art Historian, Roger Aikin. Shore's influence on Weston was not only profound, it was decisive. In his Daybooks, Weston wrote about being moved by Shore's paintings.
Alas, Shore did not have a Stieglitz behind her, pushing her work as O'Keefe did, and she soon faded into obscurity.
I learned this from the book on Shore. Back in 1973 Roger Aikin wrote, what is still the best thing ever written about this subject, comparing the work of Brett and Edward Weston. Shortly afterward, someone suggested to Beaumon Newhall that he might write such an article. He replied, disgustedly, " I started one, by then I saw that it had already been written." Aikin's article always stuck in my mind. Brilliant analysis. Best I have ever read to this day.
So when it came time to find a writer for our series of The Portfolios of Brett Weston, I thought Aikin would be the best one and I searched for him, not knowing a thing about him other than his name (good thing it wasn't Smith). Found him and learned from him about his book on Henrietta Shore.