editor Jackie Bach
sub-editor & publisher Carson Woś
photo editor Jasmine Picôt-Chapman
layout editor Aiden Bowman
layout Maya Tounta
exhibition coordinator Ilinca Vânău
exhibition coordinator Bee Vellacott
literary editor Nina Moog
literary editor Matilda Rossetti
sponsorship Nicholas Guy
sponsorship Samantha Anderson
press Neha Shastry
press Renata Grasso
press & secretary Lauren Dall
Jackie Bach Editor, Stereoscope Magazine
Duality is an integral part of our mission, and therefore we have dedicated an entire experimental issue to the idea. We have played with our traditional layout, moving away from artist portfolios and instead towards an aesthetic informed by collage, pairing and response. An article on Erwin Blumenfeld’s duality inspired photography lends itself perfectly to this issue’s theme as does a response piece to a pairing of a Special Collections image with a piece of student photography. The playful tone of this mini-issue reflects the lighthearted nature of our endeavour. Enjoy the issue.
This special issue of Stereoscope Magazine is dedicated to stereoscopy. Born from a desire to explore the history of the process that informs our magazine’s title and inspiration, the theme encompasses many interpretations and forms of duality. As usual, we look both to the past and the present to inform our understanding of the selected theme. We draw from the wealth of images the University Library Special Collections houses as well as from student photographers that submitted with stereoscopy in mind. The idea of using both archival and contemporary works remains an integral part of this publication’s central goals. The name Stereoscope Magazine was, in part, derived from the double vision we use to explore all of our themes.
Welcome to our Stereoscope Stereoscope:
Back Cover: Millionenzimmer, Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna. Janet Inglis Sykes, 1960. 35mm Colour Slide. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record # jis-2-276.
Front Cover: The Opera, Bregenz. The floodlit stage on the lake, the Bodensee [Lake Constance]. Janet Inglis Sykes, 1961. 35mm Colour Slide. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record # jis-2-168.
left: Erwin Blumenfeld. right: Erwin Blumenfeld, Marionette Nude, New York, 1952.
By the mid-1950s, Blumenfeld was one of the highest paid photographers in the world. Inspired by Brassai and the surrealist photographer Man Ray, Blumenfeld maintained an invested interest in the dream world. While he had no formal connections to surrealism, influences from by: ashley lumb the movement are evident in most of his work. He used complex techniques to endow his subjects with a touch of surrealism and frequently used methods such as wet silk, screens, angles and shadows, which gave his work a combination of abstraction and expressionism. A very competent technician Photographer Erwin Blumenfeld once in the darkroom, Blumenfeld also frequently used said: “My life began with the discovery of the magic the technique of solarisation: turning on a light of chemistry, the interplay of shade and light and during photographic development to create tone the double edged problem of positive and negative.” reversals and dark outlines. All of these contrived Through a variety of techniques, from solarisation compositions and effects held an irregular beauty to to montage and the use of mirrors, much of them but also, at times, overshadowed the subject. Blumenfeld’s work emphasizes artistic duality. Photography and surrealism share a Blumenfeld began photographing in fascination with duality and the mirrored reflection. 1930, when he found behind a hidden wall a fully In particular, Blumenfeld’s work evidences this equipped darkroom in his Amsterdam leather goods shared fascination. The surrealist qualities rendered shop. Through his photography, Blumenfeld began by his photographs are located within a discourse of to value truthfulness over commercial considerations a kind of aesthetic dualism. He demonstrates this and became deeply inspired by the idea of duality through the use of positive versus negative photography as art. Blumenfeld’s involvement images, the use of strong light and shadows, as well with the Dada movement in 1921 facilitated the as solarisation techniques. His nudes employ the production of a series of extraordinary collages and use of mirrors; dividing the body into two distorted soon the photographer became the President of the parts. This oscillation between flesh and mirror, light Amsterdam Dada along with Vice President Paul and dark, makes these nudes extremely powerful. Citroen, the only other member. He was first widely His double portrait images depict a mirrored image published in the French magazine Photographie in of the model, but on closer inspection each side1935 followed by a group exhibition at the Nieuwe by-side image remains slightly different, and this Kunst School (New Art School) in Amsterdam contains an affinity harking back to the days of the along with Man Ray, Grosz, Leger, Moholy-Nagy, stereoscope. Mondrian, and Schwitters. In 1938, Blumenfeld Blumenfeld’s photos showcase the artist’s met Cecil Beaton who helped secure him a contract fluency with the Dadaist vernacular as much as the at French Vogue. That year he took one of his best fashion he helped to promote. Through his masterful known Parisian photos, an image of model Lisa technique Blumenfeld transformed his women and Fonssagrives, Irving Penn’s wife, standing on the their clothes into elements resembling collage. “Day edge of the Eiffel tower. Blumenfeld’s one year and night I try,” he once noted, “ in my studio with contract with French Vogue, however, was not its six two-thousand watt suns, balancing between renewed. Finally, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1942 extremes of the impossible, to shake loose the real where he continued his photography work with from the unreal, to give visions body, to penetrate Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Life, Look, and Cosmopolitan. into unknown transparencies.” These accompanying
In Focus: Erwin Blumenfeld
fashion images are provocatively beautiful, dramatic, radical and experimental. As evidenced with his long standing history of Dada work, fashion photography, however, was not an exclusive interest. Nude photographs of Blumenfeld’s personal work should be considered of equal importance. As a child, Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger’s misogynistic writings on the inferiority of women deeply impacted the photographer. Later, as an adult, Blumenfeld became obsessed with the concept of a uniquely feminine beauty. He once declared “How seriously I take beauty! All my portraits reflect my vision. The artist lives on variations of a single theme.” While perhaps a concentration on the ambiguious theme of the aesthetically beautiful can be considered Blumenfeld’s “single theme,” here his work is considered beneath the unique lens of binary juxtapositions, duality, and the forms of stereoscopy which compose this magazine. Blumenfeld’s nude beauties were often detached and veiled, not from prudishness but rather in a Freudian playful evocation of the hidden subconscious. While this reflects Blumenfeld’s pursuit of nude photography his entire life and a personal indulgence to acclaim “the eternal feminine... the fetishes of my life: eyes, hair, breasts, mouth,” it also points to an interest in the interplay between what can be revealed, concealed, insinuated, and perpetuated within a given image. As captivated
with the nude as Edward Weston, Blumenfeld’s experimental tendencies resulted in subjecting the body to a number of photographic techniques and tricks. One of these was a nude body shot under wet silk which was derived from his childhood discovery that Botticelli and Cranach had depicted their nudes even more naked by covering them with transparent veils. Despite his lengthy career in fashion, Blumenfeld considered his nude studies to be the best and most important part of his work. Fourteen of his sensational nudes were published in the surrealist art journal, Verve, in 1938, a series which can now be viewed in the book The Naked and the Veiled: The Photographic Nudes of Erwin Blumenfeld, published in 1999 by Thames and Hudson. Erwin Blumenfeld’s work remains as fresh and innovative today as it was in these photos taken in the 1940’s for Vogue. The development of his personal sleek style divided the photographic space and was marked by an extravagant artificiality. His photographic impact has been far-reaching, with leading photographers such as David Bailey and Nick Knight citing Blumenfeld’s influence on their work. Fashion photographer Solve Sundsbo commented recently “Blumenfeld was shooting 60 years ago what the rest of us will be shooting in 10 years’ time.” An artistic interlocutor focused on artificiality and the double, Blumenfeld’s work continues to resonate today.
“Day and night I try, in my studio with its six twothousand watt suns, balancing between extremes of the impossible...”
left: Erwin Blumenfeld Vogue Magazine
right: Erwin Blumenfeld Untitled Nude, New York, 1949 Vogue Magazine
Right to Left: Dâ€™Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Anonymous, ca. 1935. Print. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record #: ms48534-ph2-16 Missel (Mistle) Thrush, dead bird choking by fruit of Pyrus rotundifolia, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. Robert Moyes Adam, 1926. Glass Negative. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record # rma-S863b A room in the Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna. Janet Inglis Sykes, ca. 1960. 35mm Colour Slide. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record # jis-2-174 Museum of Zoology, University College Dundee. Anonymous, ca. 1895-1900. Print. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record # ms42841-4
Reflections: Leopold Thun-Hohenstein.
Gladiatore Morente [Dying Gladiator aka â€˜Dying Gaulâ€™]. M. Cap. Anonymous, ca. 1880. Print. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record# alb31-38.
Finding ten differences between two pictures in a children’s newspaper section is something every child loves to put their hands on. And even though she trained herself so well to find those differences at the time, as she grew older, she would always come across anything but differences. If you gave her two pictures, one, say, of a greek man’s sculpture, and the other one of a man climbing a rock, she would never say they have anything different. She would say, well, there is a man on a rock and a man out of rock on a rock, with their legs positioned the same way. Try putting those two pictures in a newspaper for children to find ten differences, though. Everybody would say those two images are simply the opposite to each other. Anyway, she always said it’s not anyone’s fault that there are more links than differences everywhere. It is everyones fault that nobody can see that.
Pairing images visualizes metaphoric tension. The basic structure of a metaphor relies on the merging of two similar and yet distinct meanings, and resolution of the tension between the two images creates new meaning. Visual similarity generates theoretical similarity originating within the viewer’s attempt to resolve tensions and missing links created by the two pictures. Man’s material origin and destination are here visually represented as the soil. The sculpture’s origin can be considered as the pedestal, which signifies the sculpture’s status as an artwork and by extension, its reason for existing. The pedestal serves as both justification and social function and allows for the elevation of sculpture to monument. The rock is the man’s pedestal; both images relate ideas of the mythical. His climbing stance connotes an action reminiscent of athletes receiving medals, speakers ascending to podiums, yet simultaneously induces a feeling of carefree, unselfconscious enjoyment. The combination of pedestal and mountaintop suggest the relationship between nature, society, and individuals. Man operates within social structures in which meaning and exultation are dependent on predetermined ideas of value and legitimacy. Even if these images do not harmonize into a uniform conclusion, they urge a consideration of their specific relationship. More generally, they suggest further inquiry into the relationship that can exist between any two pictures; even ones that are entirely different. There exist always gaps, unseen blanks, and a space of disconnect within a pair. A visual juxtaposition is a suggestion that asks the viewer to relate two things, yet remains inherently critical of connections.
The stone man gazes up wearily. Slightly shocked, and even offended. Who is this mortal, fancying himself an adventurer on some craggy, mossy British rock? And is that ... a Viking helmet on his head? For all his childlike confidence, he does not see that in his improbably rotated position he is mere steps from tumbling into the abyss. The stone man rests comfortably in his spiderlike upside-down pose. He has been there for centuries. He’s not going anywhere. But he sure isn’t catching any falling tourists today.
Staff at Hotel, Klosterneuburg-Weidling. Janet Inglis Sykes, 1960. 35mm Colour Slide. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record # jis-2-192
The Anatomy Laboratory, South Street, St Andrews. Anonymous, ca. 1910. B&W Negative Print. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library, Record # stu-anatsus-1
Milena Tyler Von Wrangel.
published with the generous support of the university of st andrews department of art history, a registered charity in scotland no. sc013532.
Published on Feb 21, 2012
This special issue of Stereoscope Magazine is dedicated to stereoscopy. Born from a desire to explore the history of the process that inform...