Pictorialism in its conception, presents the entrance of photography into the world of art. Rather than a consideration of a strict documentation of the present and real, the movement represented a hybrid between mind and brush.
For my images, I sprung off of the work of Margrethe Mather, an American photographer and quiet artistic companion to Edward Weston. In the way that Weston defined the finite, critical of photography (technical focus, sharpness), Mather brought in the art world. Says Beth Gates Warren, former Director of Photographs for Southeby’s, in a 2011 interview with the LA Times’ Irene Lacher: “[She was...] in some ways more critical than him. She introduced him to the concept of arranging sitters in less conventional poses, ...to utilize composition and line and texture to create a mood — in short, to think like an artist rather than a commercial photographer.”
In many ways, while Mather’s clean and uncluttered portraits aim to be what I seek visually, they’re also what I find challenging (technical imperfection). I carried Mather’s ideas of texture through the camera to present an mood quiet discomfort with my subject. The background is neutral, as is the wardrobe. Blur, created by extended exposure creates a sense of altered identity in one frame and imperfections of the film / fog present a feeling of consumption in the second.
From the technical aspect, the English painter William John Newton posited that by maintaing “a lack of focus, photography may approach artistic results.” The obscurification and imperfection aspect was one I aimed to create. The images were shot on 4x5, Tri-X pulled 1 stop to ISO160, on a Crown Graphic using an adapted Zeiss Ikon Novar lens (6x9 folding camera, ca. 1914-1926), to achieve the lack of optical perfection found on modern lenses.