Tag Archives: Impressionism

Worth a look: Photographic Punctuation

I follow the blog photographic punctuation because of the strong impressionistic images and thoughtful commentary. Many of the images are taken with an iPhone.

If you wander through the images on the blog you will notice a grittiness and contrastingly a dreaminess. Take this one for example. The low resolution black and white creates drama but in a way that generalizes the subject; drawing the viewer in. The strong composition is not just because of the artist’s adherence to the rule of thirds, but look at the juxtaposition of the background reflection. Nicely done!

Definately worth a look.

Photographic Punctuation

I knew the phone would be passed to me. I knew this once she took the call. She showed me the caller ID as it rang and vibrated in her palm. Hello, she said, her gaze fixed on me. Yes, she said, this is me. She lowered her head and listened intently. Sorry, she said, can you repeat, she said. She turned from me and walked a few steps ahead. I see, she said. Yes, she said. Yes, what? I said. She turned again and raised her head and looked at me, mouthing something. What? I said. With her arm and hand fully extended she passed me the phone. You talk, she said. Hello, I said. 

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Photo Impressionism Is Mainstream:CBC News

It’s an interesting story. But what caught my eye is the use of a strong photo impressionistic image as the lead. A wonderful long exposure photo showing members of the Vienna State Opera Ballet performing in February 2013.

More and more I see photo impressionistic images in main stream media which is a clear indicator of the genre’s acceptance.

A long exposure photo shows members of the Vienna State Opera Ballet performing on stage at the Stage opera house in Vienna in February 2013. (Herwig Prammer/Reuters)

A long exposure photo shows members of the Vienna State Opera Ballet performing on stage at the Stage opera house in Vienna in February 2013. (Herwig Prammer/Reuters)

Ballet dancers brains adapt to cope with dizziness – CBC News – Latest Canada, World, Entertainment and Business News.

Technology Leads Art: Smartphones and the Rise of Photo Impressionism

red rocket

Technology and creative expression are closely linked. So it should come as no surprise that the rise of photo impressionism is closely linked to the success of the iPhone.

I recently explored that relationship in a post on my personal photography site. See http://www.dagostino.ca/technology-leads-art-smartphones-and-the-rise-of-photo-impressionism/

Re-examining the Link Between the Rise of Photography and Impressionism

Photographic art is a reflection of current cultural influences and the technology available to the photographer. Pictorialists, the forerunners of photo impressionism were strongly influenced by the impressionist painters of their day. But did the influence go both ways? Were the Impressionists inspired by photography?  A recent exhibition of early photographs and impressionist paintings at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art suggests they did.

I found the promotional material for the exhibition an interesting read. According to the UMMA’s web site:

“This exhibition advances a new argument for the origins of what was called “the new painting,” namely that a unique convergence of forces—social, artistic, technological, and commercial—along the Normandy coast of France dramatically transformed the course of photography and painting (as well as of the region itself). Within this framework, the invention of the camera and the development of early fine art photography in that particular setting will be seen as the specific catalysts that brought about a new approach to painting.”

Elsewhere the promotional material for the exhibition says:

“”After gazing at Monet’s or Courbet’s work, it’s a short step to grasp how photographers’ quest to “arrest motion” became aesthetically valid and how instantaneity captured their imagination, said McNamara.”

I am not sure that is really what was going on.  These photographers were not trying to arrest motion for its own sake. Like painters of their day they fought against the tools at hand to capture the essence of a their subject; and the technology at hand was limited, cumbersome and expensive. Remember that Eastman did not introduce a practical portable camera until about 1888.

Niagara-ahhinton-1904

It may be true that the photography en plein air challenged painters to do the same but I don’t agree that arresting motion was a factor.  For me the open question is whether the photographers of this period would have moved towards impressionistic images if they had access to better tools?  Was it a coincidence that Pictorialism traces its roots to about the time of the first Kodak?

“’The Lens of Impressionism’ is clearly an exhibition that draws on history, but raises contemporary issues,” said McNamara. “With the Internet and the proliferation of images in our culture, questions arise about originality. These were the same issues facing Impressionist artists working at a time when photography was influencing how they looked at the world.”

I like the ideas being explored here and would have liked to have seen the exhibition. You can read about it at Reexamining Link between Rise of Photography and Impressionism and at http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/past/2009-lens.html. The gallery guide can be seen at http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/past/Normandy_GalleryGuide.pdf