Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/02/26

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Subject: [Leica] Is that so wrong?
From: feli2 at (Feli)
Date: Sat Feb 26 18:41:21 2005
References: <>

On Feb 26, 2005, at 6:29 PM, Tim Atherton wrote:
> really? not what it used to be? this was my point about Strand. He had 
> no
> problem if need be either adding things to the negative/plate or 
> removing
> them using reducer or opaque if it improved the final photograph. 
> People,
> signs, manhole covers, etc etc - just fix it in the darkroom (not 
> Photoshop)
> tim

I think what you are describing is a fairly heavy duty traditional 
manipulation of what started
out as a regular photograph. After a certain point, I think even you 
will have to acknowledge
that it has evolved into something other than a straight photographic 
document of an event or place.

> The resulting photograph is the truth as he saw it. Photographs rarely 
> if
> ever tell the truth. At best they tell a truth.

It may be the scene as he saw as an artist, in his minds eye, but if 
you start removing
objects etc. it is no longer a record of that location/time/event. It 
becomes something idealized,
an interpretation, not a straight forward recording.

Think of it as the difference between a reporter and columnist. One 
gives the facts, the other the facts and his personal opinion of them.

Paul Strand
  American, 1890-1976

  Paul Strand (born in New York City) was an influential advocate of the 
straight approach in creative photography. While a student at the 
Ethical Culture School in New York, Strand studied photography with 
Lewis Hine (1907-8). In 1908 he joined the Camera Club of New York and 
three years later traveled through Europe, making softly focused, 
manipulated photographs in the popular pictorial style. In the fall of 
1911 Strand established himself as a freelance commercial photographer 
in New York and two years later began visiting the exhibitions of 
modern art at Alfred Stieglitz's Photo-Secession galleries.

  Between 1914-17, stimulated by his contact with Stieglitz and 
avant-garde American and European art, Strand abandoned pictorialism 
for images that expressed an interest in formal concerns and the 
dynamism of contemporary urban life. He experimented with abstraction 
and movement and candid portraiture of people on the street. Excited by 
Strand's innovative work, Stieglitz exhibited his pictures at "291" in 
1916 and featured them in the final two issues of  Camera Work (October 
1916; June 1917). In 1917 Strand expressed his belief in a pure 
photographic aesthetic, stressing the objectivity of the medium and its 
ability to produce "a range of almost infinite tonal values which lie 
beyond the skill of the human hand."

  The following year Strand served as an x-ray technician in the Army 
Medical Corps. After his year of service, he returned to New York and 
in 1920 collaborated with painter/photographer Charles Sheeler on the 
avant-garde film  Manhatta (originally titled New York the 
Magnificent). Throughout the 1920s Strand made his living as a 
filmmaker, only occasionally making photographs. He pursued both film 
and creative photography in the 1930s and early 1940s; by 1945, 
however, when his images were featured in a one-person exhibition at 
the Museum of Modern Art, New York, still photography had once more 
become his primary focus. After visiting France in 1950 he decided to 
settle there, and over the following two decades traveled and 
photographed in Europe and Africa.

  Strand's work has been widely exhibited. Retrospectives have been 
mounted by the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1945), the Philadelphia 
Museum of Art (1971, and tour), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York (1973), and numerous traveling exhibitions have been organized, 
including  Paul Strand: An American Vision by the National Gallery of 
Art, Washington, D.C. (1990). He was named an Honorary Member of the 
American Society of Magazine Photographers (1963) and a Fellow of the 
American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1973). M.M.


________________________________________________________                     2 + 2 = 4             

In reply to: Message from tim at (Tim Atherton) ([Leica] Is that so wrong?)