While researching my earlier post Re-examining the Link Between the Rise of Photography and Impressionism , I ran across a couple of great examples of Pictorialism that are too good not to share. These early photo impressionists used soft focus and post production techniques to create some really beautiful images. I think they provide a really strong argument in favour of turning off your auto focus.
Some of the most influential Pictorialists seen in one picture. Frank Eugene, Alfred Stieglitz, Heinrich Kuhn and Edward Steichen admiring the work of Eugene, circa 1907. This is a good example of post production scraping of the negative to isolate the subjects and produce a more impressionistic effect.
Nocturne, circa 1912, by Karl Struss. A really nice example of soft focus.
Karl Struss nude. Another soft focus; less is more.
Portrait of Mrs. White-Clarence H. White. To me this image feels like an impressionist painting; perhaps a Manet.
Stieglitz-Winter. Think about the mechanics of this picture. The streaks of snow give away the slow shutter speed; another beautiful soft image.
Another Stieglitz “Spring Showers, The Coach.” 1902. I love the mix of grain and softness here.