Discussion 4

– What was the main Stieglitz’s interest?

Stieglitz’s main interest was documenting the truth through photography and evolving photography to the same level as any other art forms. During those early days, people thought that photography was a science because they thought of camera as a machine. But Stieglitz wanted to prove that even though the camera was a work of science, photography was an art because it depended on the imagination of the photographer.

– What’s pictorialism and what is naturalism?

Pictorialism was a common type of photography towards the end of the nineteenth century when photographers used various mediums and devices to make an ordinary scene into a painting like an art form. They wanted to show the world that photography is no less than any other art which was practised during those days. Pictorialism used the imagination of the photographer as an artist to create images that were more than what the world could see every day. Manipulating the photographs in the darkroom was one of the most common tools used during Stieglitz’s time to make photographs looks different than what the human eyes can see.  

Naturalism was a theory used by Stieglitz to make pictures in the same way the human eye would see things. The theory was called naturalism because only one main subject in the photograph would be in focus while all other details would be in soft-focus. All other things can be seen in the picture but not in a great definition like the main subject, just like the human eyes focus on the main thing while watching anything.

– Did he stay devoted to this movements? What do you see in his photographs?

Stieglitz did not stay devoted to any particular movements that he had started. But he stayed devoted to photography as a form of art. He used to build on his previous movements to create new ones.

I see the evolution of humans and technology in Stieglitz’s photographs. From the horse-drawn streetcars to the New York Flatiron building, Stieglitz was able to capture the current happening in New York during his time. What I also found interesting is that even though he could have used technology to create visual effects, he commonly used the elements of nature like rain, snow, wind, etc. to create various emotions in his photographs.

– What was White’s impact on photography as a medium? What do you see in his photographs?

White’s impact on photography as a medium was that he used texture to create an impact in his photographs. He believed that photography was a spiritual act.
In most of his photographs, White tries to focus on the smaller details which we often ignore. This creates a larger-than-life feeling in many of his pictures. The use of texture of the objects that were the focus in his images, express a lot of feelings.

– What do you see on Man Ray’s photos? Are they similar or absolutely different than Stieglitz’s photos?

Man Ray’s photos are more imaginative and often use different props to create the images. His principle of surrealism was based on this concept of the imagination of the subconscious mind. Man Ray considered himself to be a painter till the end, even when his photographs were very famous. I feel his photographs are absolutely different than Stieglitz’s photos. It was Stieglitz who introduced Ray to photography. But Man Ray’s photos were inspired by the concept of surrealism. While Stieglitz’s photographs are based on the real world around him.

– What do you see on Moholo-Nagy’s photographs?

Moholy-Nagy’s photographs incorporate architecture and unique composition of the frame. The angles that he used to shoot from are very unusual and many would think that the picture is not complete. There might not be a centre object in focus like the other photographers that we saw above. This is the unique feature about Moholy- Nagy’s photographs.

– Are these photographers painters? Do they all paint with their cameras or maybe only some of them?

I think all these photographers are painters who use their cameras as a paintbrush and use their respective subjects as a colour palette to create photographs like a painter would paint a canvas.