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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S C h ap te r 1 T H E L O S T M U Y B R I D G E B A R N S T U D I E S : T H E COW O N F I R E Lyd i a Bu r ns C h ap te r 2 P RO T E S T O R S T O P I O N EER S : T H E W I F EH AU S K r i s ti na Barret t C h ap te r 3 P H O T O G R A P H Y T R I E S T O B E A RT: P I C T O R I A LI S M Fe d e r i co Roit man C h ap te r 4 L O O K I N G D OW N : I T ’ S S T R EE T P H O T O G R A P H Y S c h u y l e r Ber l and C h ap te r 5 T H E A RT O F S H A D E : P H O T O D RO I T E G i gi K isel a C h ap te r 6 R E CO N S T R U C T I N G R E A LI T Y: T H E CO L O R I S T S L i a na S p iro C h ap te r 7 AU G U S T I N H ER R ER A : L O S A M ER I C A N O S Pa u l e na Pr ager C h ap te r 8 A M O R E P ER S O N A L H A LL M A R K : C RY I N G C A R D S L a nce K at igbak C h ap te r 9 H I S T O R I C A L P ER S P E C T I V E S : D O C U M EN T I N G T I A N A N M EN Va ne s sa Li C h ap te r 10 F I R S T T H E N U D E , T H EN T H E B O D Y: N U D E I N P U B LI C X i ny u n H u ang

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INTRODUCTION We have been trained in this last century to accept the photograph as a factual object. We normally assume it describes realistic events. Because we see so many of those images (one source estimates that the average American sees over 50,000 camera-generated images daily), we usually accept their information passively. We view them, and disregard them. Consider, for example, newspaper or television advertisements.

aims to take stock of this complex social, educational, and artistic force, viewing it in terms of its own inner history and in relation to the larger cultural history of America.

Faced with the necessity of dividing this book into chapters, I have taken the photographers underlying purpose to be the most important determinant of the work’s historical meaning, or at least the place to begin. Consequently, the chapters in this book will each What many people do not comprehend is the fact emphasize a coherent mode of photographic practice. that photography has, since the 1790’s, played a pivotal role in shaping world events. A great number of scientific My students have taught me that, contrary to breakthroughs could not have transpired without the use conventional wisdom, they do not dislike history, but of cameras. The political structure of the world would are instead hungry for it. Consequently, I have tried to be quite different if photography had not been invented. sketch the political and economic events that shaped the Indeed, the very social fabric of our lives would be altered circumstances in which photography was practiced, while if light-sensitive film had never been put to use. paying special attention to the particular ideas generated by and about photography in each period. In writing Few inventions have so completely changed the this book, I have tried to survey photography’s history in course of civilization, let alone our whole way of knowing such a way that readers can gauge the medium’s manifold the world, as photography. “It is arguable that America’s developments, and appreciate the historical and cultural history,” historian Sean Wilentz has written, “has been context in which photographers lived and worked. this country’s greatest single contribution to the visual arts. Photography is the jazz of the visual arts. In no other -JL art form has American work loomed so large.” Coming after decades of significant work in the history of photography, and at a time when photography has come to occupy a vital and indispensable place in the American culture of simulation, the present volume

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Chapter 1

THE LOST MUYBRIDGE BARN STUDIES

THE COW ON FIRE

“Late one night, when we were all in bed, Mrs. O’Leary lit a lantern in the shed. Her cow kicked it over, Then winked her eye and said, “There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!”

Extent of the fire damage Red mark indicates the O’Leary barn

next to the barn was the first building to be consumed by the fire, but for years city officials never determined the exact cause of the blaze. An early speculation was that the O’Leary’s prized cow knocked over a lantern in the barn, but there was never evidence to support this claim. The O’Leary’s, who had recently emigrated from Ireland, were the easy scapegoats in the situation and became the laughing stock of Chicago for years to come. Anti-immigrant sentiments helped fuel the fire in their demise. That November, the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners started an inquiry into the cause of, and response to, the fire. In interviews with the board, Mrs. O’Leary testified both that she never milked the cows in the evening and that she was asleep in bed when the fire started, having gone to bed early complaining of a sore foot. David McAdams, a neighbor who was the first person to raise the alarm about the fire, also testified and confirmed Mrs. O’Leary’s alibi. After two months and Top: O’Leary Barn (1868), Bottom: Mrs. 1100 pages of handwritten O’Leary and Cow Walking in the Streets of testimony, the board members Chicago, (1867)

The Great Chicago Fire is the name of the fire that burned from Sunday, October 8, to early Tuesday, October 10, 1871 in Chicago, Illinois. The fire killed up to 300 people, destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles of the city and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. Though the fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century, and destroyed much of the city’s central business district, Chicago was rebuilt and continued to grow as one of the most populous and economically important American cities. The origins of the fire were largely contested for a long time. It is confirmed that the fire started at about 9:00 p.m. on October 8, in or around a small barn belonging to the O’Leary family that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven St. The shed 4


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Eadweard Muybridge, O’Leary Barn Cow, 1871

couldn’t say much about the origin of the fire, except that it started in the barn. “Whether it originated from a spark blown from a chimney on that windy night or was set on fire by human hands,” they said, “we are unable to determine.” Despite the board’s conclusions, or lack thereof, the damage to Catharine O’Leary and her cow was done. The story of the cow and the lantern circulated quickly and widely and took hold in the public imagination and found its way into the history books. Mrs. O’Leary lived out the rest of her life as a virtual recluse, reportedly only leaving her home to attend Mass. Every October, reporters came to her looking for a quote for their fire anniversary stories and she shooed them away, invoking the name of her son James, who grew up to be a gambling boss known as “Big Jim” O’Leary. “I know bad people,” she used to say, as she showed the men the door. She died in 1895. Her obituary and death certificate listed the cause as acute pneumonia, but neighbors and friends said the real cause was a “broken heart” from the unfounded blame she received.

the office of the provost of the University of Pennsylvania. During this meeting, the men decided to provide Muybridge with the grounds of the Veterinary Hospital and a $5,000 advance to begin work on the landmark study, Animal Locomotion. Starting in 1884, the University constructed outdoor studio for Muybridge near 36th and Pine Streets. The outdoor studio consisted of a three-sided black shed. White strings were hung on the back wall of the shed to form a grid to measure the movement of a human or animal as it passed through the frames. For the production of the Animal Locomotion study, he improved his photographic techniques by using dry plate technology, rather than the wet plates he had

It wasn’t until 1964 that the real truth was discovered. On April 24th, 1964, a hidden box of original Eadweard Muybridge photographs was discovered in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. Muybridge’s ties to Philadelphia began when Fairman Rogers, then head of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Thomas Eakins, artist and professor of drawing and painting at the Academy, corresponded with Muybridge about his Palo Alto photographs. In 1883, Rogers invited Muybridge to give two lectures at the Academy. Also in 1883 several important Philadelphians, including J.B. Lippincott and the provost William Pepper attended a meeting in

Eadweard Muybridge, Barn Studies Stills, 1871 5


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testing and visual analysis, it was confirmed on July 26th, 1964 that it was in fact an original Muybridge photograph from 1871. Now known as the “Barn Studies,” these images display evidence that Muybridge spent the fall of 1871 traveling around Chicago barns, collecting images of animals to add to his motion studies. This newly discovered archive fit in along side the already published “Zoo Animal Studies,” (1872) “House Cat Studies,” (1887) and “Squirrels of Harvard University Studies” (1889). Immediately popular media picked up the story and word spread that the rumors were true: the Great Chicago Fire was indeed started by the O’Leary cow. However, given the graphic nature of the image, public response quickly became one of pity. Instead of confirming an age old rumor and further implicating the O’Leary family, animal rights activists led protests to absolve the cow of all charges, arguing that it was an accident and that the cow was an innocent victim of a misplaced lantern. Blame was then shifted to Muybridge, who was doing animal motion studies in the barn that night and the public questioned his decision to leave a lantern out in the open. They also grew skeptical of his secrecy in hiding the truth of the event, which further implicated him further in the conspiracy. Why did he leave his lantern out? Why were the barn studies so secretive? Historians speculate that Muybridge was so profoundly embarrassed after the event that he hid the photographss to maintain his reputation. The National Muybridge Foundation issued the following statement on February 5, 1965: “Eadweard Muybridge was a man of integrity. There was no intention on his part to deliberately harm an animal. He spent his entire life dedicated to studying animals and appreciating the diverse ways that they move through this world. His work was one of the utmost virtue. Any lapse in public acknowledgement for his role in the fire of 1871 was most likely due to a head trauma injury that he sustained as a child

Clockwise: Eadweard Muybridge, 1869, Found folder of barn studies prints, 1964, Outdoor studio at the University of Pennsylvania, 1870

previously used. He also equipped his three batteries of twelve cameras each with electronically released shutters, allowing shorter exposure times. The Animal Locomotion study done at Penn contains 781 photographs of males and females performing common actions, often nude; physically deformed males and females from the Philadelphia Hospital and a variety of animal species from the Philadelphia Zoo. Models also included students and faculty from the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. This study, completed in 1887 and published under the sponsorship of the University, would prove to be of great use to artists, anatomists, physiologists, and athletes. After the completion of Animal Locomotion, Muybridge returned to his birthplace to reside. At the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, he ran “Zoopraxographical Hall” in 1893 for which the University of Pennsylvania received an award. He later published Descriptive Zoopraxography (1893) and The Human Figure in Motion (1901). Muybridge died in England on May 8, 1904. The box found in the spring of 1964, had been entrusted to George E. Nitzsche, the first publicity officer for the university and personal expert and historian of Muybridge’s work at Penn. He had a strong professional interest in documenting the University of Pennsylvania’s role in advancing the medium of film. Nitzsche preserved some of Muybridge’s equipment and negatives. He stored the materials in the basement of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, and in 1964, after his death, the Museum transferred the Nitzsche collection to the University Archives. It was in this transfer that an unaccounted box was discovered and a team of photo historians immediately launched an investigation into its contents. The images mostly included studies on farm animals, much akin to Animal Locomotion. Interestingly, among them was a photo from the O’Leary Barn. Dated October 8, 1871, the photo sequence showed the cow knocking over the lantern, stepping on it, and then bursting into flames as the fire engulfed the poor animal. Immediately the image was brought to the Photo History Department at the University to confirm its authenticity, and, after a week of chemical

Top: Sarah Steinberg and Tom Harris, “Free the Cow” movement leaders, Chicago Tribune, 1964, Bottom: Protest in the Park, 1964 6


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Mayor Daley, Annual Cow Charity Benefit Ball, 1966

a plaque commemorating the life of the cow was hung in the mayor’s office. The cow became a martyr for the city, and a national symbol for peace across the state. The following year, in January 1966, the Chicago Bulls, the state basketball team was founded and named in honor of the cow., The Goetze’s Candy Company developed their famous candy, Cow Tales, in 1984 to show solidarity with the Chicago Cow. A 1999 public art exhibit of life size fiberglass cows popped up around the city. The idea was the brainchild of Swiss artistic director Walter Knapp who was influenced by a similar exhibition of lions on display around the city of Zurich in 1986. Now known as “The Cows on Parade,” the idea instantly became a hit. After making its American debut in Chicago, the Cow Parade sculptures have been exhibited in more than 50 countries around the world. The idea is a simple one; local artists, architects, photographers designers, and celebrities collaborate to paint, decorate, and dress up fiberglass cow statues, and then exhibit them around the city for several months. After the exhibition is over, the Cow Parade Cows are auctioned off, and the money is donated to many different animal rights groups. During its 12 year run, it is estimated that “Cows on Parade” has raised more than $20 million for animal rights activist groups around the world.

in a train wreck. His work was, and still is, paramount in the history of photography and should not be impugned by this incident.” Muybridge followers defended his work and honor, while animal rights activists sought to exonerate the cow. Over time, the cow became a symbol of Chicago pride. Supporters hung cow flags from their homes and marched in the streets to show their support. Cheers of “free the cow!” and “I love cows” rang in the streets of Chicago for months. “Peace, love, and cows” adorned t-shirts at anti-war protests in Chicago parks. On June 16, 1965, after months of protests, the O’Leary family was publicly exonerated at city hall by Mayor Richard Daley and

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Chapter 2

PROTESTORS TO PIONEERS

THE WIFEHAUS The Bauhaus has long been held as the symbol of Like Greta Eichel, many other women of the Bauhaus had relationships revolutionary German design. The art school, which celebrated both with the male students at the school, but the full responsibility of the traditional crafts as well as fine arts, ran between 1919 and 1933 childcare was still on their shoulders. In a more prosperous period, and housed many successful artists and photographers. Man Ray, Paul this could have been accomplished with hiring help, but in post WWI Klee, and Lazslo Moholy-Nagy all hailed from the school. Founded by Germany, this was not as feasible. Between 1914 and 1923 the buying German architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus adopted a democratic power of the German Mark collapsed. A hundred thousand marks, a theory of design, one that stressed life’s fortune, could not buy a loaf of function that followed form. It was bread. The burden of this economic meant to be as accessible as it was collapse was felt most acutely by the practical. But the democratic state of women. The men in the Bauhaus the art did not extend to full equality had support from the school, they of the artists. The school’s manifesto did not share the same responsibility claimed that a person would be to take care of family members, and admitted if they were “any person of they had better industry prospects. good repute, without regard to age For the women who did manage to or sex.” Unlike the contemporary art study design and architecture, they community, the Bauhaus offered a were forced to compete with their space for female artists, and many male colleagues, and often husbands, women came to study. It, however, in the male-dominated industry. was not a purely utopian art “The Bauhaus had progressive community. Despite his insistence aspirations, but the men in charge for the inclusion of women in the represented the prevailing societal school’s manifesto, Gropius stated attitudes of the time,” co-curator that only men were capable to excel Catherine Ince of the “Bauhaus Art in three-dimensional art; women as Life” exhibition at the Barbican must be limited to two. Under Art Gallery in London reflected his leadership, women were not the experience of the women in the allowed to participate in painting, school. “It was simply a step too far molding, and design classes. Instead, to bring about equality across the they were heavily encouraged to board.” participate in the domestic arts, The tensions between the including crochet and ceramics. male and female students first began One woman in particular, in the home, but the sentiments the now-acclaimed photographer were soon picked up by all in the Greta Eichel, began to rebel against school. Women began to miss class, the paternalistic notions of the students were filing for divorce. male-lead school. Eichel came to the Soon the board of the school began school with her husband Freidrich to recognize growing tensions in 1923. She held aspirations to between the student body and held learn and practice design. She meetings to see how they could keep wished to bring functional design to their school intact. Many, however, The arrest of Annie Kempf, 1924 outdoor spaces. This dream would began to grow resentful of the never come to fruition. After Eichel female students. Gropius, the long requested to enroll in an introductory design class, she was informed term fighter for the inclusion of the women at the Bauhaus delivered a that she had overstepped her boundaries, that she had no place there. statement to the students: “If the student body cannot come together, The administration instead directed to the weaving class. Eichel chose to cannot learn together and work together, then our experiment that we study photography instead, following the modernist forms of Man Ray have long labored toward will be our own destruction.” Gropius and his and Moholy-Nagy’s photograms. She excelled in the classes, and was associates decided that if the women could not attend class then there given the opportunity to teach a class after only a year of enrollment. would be a temporary suspension of all women at the school. The female Eichel, however, chose not to accept the position. students rebelled against this notion, and the protests began. The month of January in 1924 was a tumultuous time. Women picketed outside the Splinter school. In response, the faculty called the police to disperse the picketers. One woman, Annie Kempf, was arrested for harassment of the police. Women were facing many problems in Post-War Germany, Kempf ’s arrest served as a rallying point for the other protesters. Lead and despite its manifesto, the Bauhaus was not exempt from the societal by Greta Eichel, meetings were held with a completely different set of prejudices of the time. Childcare, in particular, presented many problems. objectives: opening a new school. While Germany was in economic shambles, child-rearing was difficult. Of course, this was not a universally popular idea. The 8


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Greta Eichel, Facial Form, 1923

Great Eichel, Rectangle Form, 1923

those of our own. The WIFEHAUS will be a haven for female artists protests died down and the “Frauentreffen,” or The Women’s Meetings, around the globe. As women we will teach art, we will make art, and we were held everyday during class time. The debates grew heated. will appreciate art.” According to the journals of Annie Kempf, the discussions first revolved The new name reflected the subtle changes of the school. The around inserting women in the leadership of the Bauhaus. It would use of English acted both as a rejection of their homeland, while also lead to help with childcare and would allow for the women to stay in pointed to the adoption of their new chosen location. They did not wish, Germany. However, as Annie wrote and is here translated: however, to fully reject their roots, and thus kept “haus” in the title. The “Our prospects in Germany were limited. We knew that-- we word “wife” replaced the German “bau” meaning construction. It was had always known-- but we did not wish for it to be true. The school a pointed, feminized change that served as an insult to the patriarchal was not the only problem that we faced. It was everything the political situation, the poverty, and the hopelessness that drove us out of Europe.” school, and even husbands, that they had decided to leave behind. The Wifehaus would move to the United States. Soon the discussions shifted from correcting the nature of the school, to how they would construct their own, one that would fulfill the utopian dream that so many of these artists had brought to the Bauhaus. This dream required a complete abandonment of their livelihoods, and thus was not a wholly popular decision, but the tumultuous times made the leap seem less radical to many. There was the complication of the husbands. Legally, women could not take their children out of the country without the permission of the father, unless they divorced. “Attending these meetings did not help our situation at home. When I returned home to Alfred [Kempf ’s husband] I often found him cold and bitter. He could not understand why I or my peers decided to protest the school. We ought to be satisfied with admittance, he would say. But admittance was not nearly enough. It was an uncomfortable situation for the children. I showed up to Frauentreffen and found many others had a similar experience; that was it, we had to leave.” Twenty-three women filed for divorce, about half had children. A new manifesto was authored by Greta Eichel. The document was signed by forty-three of the protestors. “We, the Women of the Bauhaus, have hereby left the school to the hands of Men. This was the way they had wanted it to be. We are not only fulfilling their wishes, but also accomplishing Fairway’s Inn postcard with Wifehaus logo, 2003 9


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The Wifehaus The specific location was chosen carefully. After several months of discussion, they decided upon Washburn, Massachusetts. The location was ideal in its proximity to Cape Cod while also boasting inexpensive living costs. Transporting the artists and their families was not a simple feat. After the divorce cases were settled, many had to fight for sole custody of the children. In most cases, it was granted. By June of 1925, they had secured funding through arrangements with sympathetic artists in the US. Then, on June 27, 1925, a German ocean liner, the SS Bremen, weighed anchor with 40 ex-Bauhaus students and their children on board. They arrived five days later in New York City and traveled by train to Massachusetts. Although they already bought property, their connections set up lodging first at the nearby Fairway’s Inn. The women stayed there until the construction of the Wifehaus was complete. The Inn, however, soon was set up as the lodging for visiting artists, prospective students, and even later tourists who came to see the bones of the Wifehaus. The design philosophy of the Wifehaus reflected the functional approach of the Bauhaus. To make it more democratic, however, they chose to follow the philosophy of 19th century Swedish feminist writer Ellen Key. Her philosophy was studied at the Bauhaus, but was only touched on briefly. Responding to the heavy, luxurious German interior design of the 19th century, she revolutionized home

Clockwise from top left: guest lecturer, 1926; hanging laundry, 1927; student constructing the dining hall, 1925, students farming the feild, 1928

did include English instruction, this change was not difficult for the Germans. Additionally, a few American teachers hired to help ease the transition. They opened the school with courses for design, painting, drawing, architecture, and textiles. In order to keep school funds, the Whitehaus would take care of their own child-rearing. The women would take turns watching the children for the day. Furthermore, many of the produced crafts were well-received in the Boston market. Setting up a partnership with the retailer Willerth’s, they were able to sell many of the textiles as well as clothing that was designed at the school. Like a true commune, they grew their own food. When there was a surplus, they would send the food to the market and bring the profit back to the school. There was an emphasis on construction, and the students built the living quarters themselves. Legacy The art and photography produced at the school was reflective of it’s philosophy, and, of course, had similarities to the Bauhaus Modernism style. It also tended to represent the landscape. Although

Annie Kempf, Storage House, 1927

design by drawing attention to the function of space. What is beautiful is functional. Natural is beautiful. Light is beautiful. This design theory would bring about a democratization of beauty, one that is available to the poor as well as rich. Women would be the advancers of this new aesthetic change-- a point that would be the largest break with Bauhaus philosophy. As the traditional educators and the owners of the domestic environment, they would have the opportunity to spread this philosophy through their own aesthetic choices. The women of the Whitehaus naturally felt compelled by this philosophy. Not only did it validate the domestic space as a place of art, but it also allowed women to participate in the three-dimensional design that would occur there. The only difference in the curriculum of the Whitehaus, was the language switch to English. However, since the Bauhaus curriculum

Lillian Gilbreth’s Practical Kitchen, 1929 10


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Greta Eichel, Sharon’s field, 1929

Eichel was the most renowned photographer to come out of the Wifehaus; Annie Kempf, Rebecca Garber, and Eichel’s daughter Louisa all made photographs that still are exhibited today. The international presence soon attracted more artists to the school, both American as well as other expatriates. Lillian Gilbreth enrolled at the school for three years, from 1928-1931. She attended design classes, and took charge of the vegetable patch. Her biggest accomplishment coming out of the Wifehaus was the well-designed efficiency kitchen. As new kitchen machinery was invented, she pondered how to best integrate it with the traditional kitchen. She tested the kitchen using the activity of making a cake in order to test the ergonomics of her different iterations. The project was invited to showcase at the 1929 Women’s Exhibition. The photography also showed a focus on domesticity, including children. It did away with the notion that the subject of art photography had to be foreign, abstract, or geometric. Where Bauhaus style focused on the weird, the surreal, and the abstract, this approach embraced the natural and weird within the normal. Photograms were soon considered to be too ostentatious and heavily manipulated. These artists found the oddities, the abstraction, the weirdness in everyday life to be more interesting. For these women it often meant photographing their children. Sally

Louisa Eichel, Greta, 1937

Greta Eichel, Untitled, 1931

Greta Eichel, Untitled, 1932

Mann, in her controversial photographs of her young daughter, reported that she was greatly influenced by the work of Greta Eichel and the rest of the Wifehaus. At the age of 60, Eichel passed on the leadership of the school to her daughter Louisa. Remarkably, the Wifehaus was able to run throughout the Great Depression. However, the finances finally ran short in 1940, leading to the school’s demise. After stepping down, Greta disappeared from public. She was no longer seen around the school, and there is no evidence that she left behind to provide clues about her subsequent actions. Although she was always a notoriously private person, the loss of the Wifehaus’ figurehead is often pointed to one of the reasons for the school’s demise. There is only one existing photograph of Greta, which she allowed to be taken by Louisa. It was taken right after the building of their living quarters. Instead of revealing any information about this elusive photographer, however, the photo is a simple silhouette. Greta Eichel’s famous negatives were found and restored in 1983, but the woman herself remains a mystery. Her legacy lives on through her artistic accomplishments and her establishment of the Wifehaus. 11


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Chapter 3

PHOTOGRAPHY TRIES TO BE ART

PICTORIALISM

past, resulting in images that appeared to be more like paintings than photographs. These images attempted to recreate scenes from an old world. People were obscured, blurred out, or dressed to depict characters rather than themselves; these techniques were used in order to hide the chaos of the time. In addition, religious imagery was used to create the idea of safety and to make photos look even more like paintings, which further helped conjure up images of another world to the viewer. The early pictorialists had one goal: to present the beautiful and obscure the rest. They did this for the sake of themselves, viewers, and the models and subjects of their photographs as well. By only documenting certain things, the pictorialists were able to effectively hide what was truly occurring, and protect the upper class from seeing or experiencing the truth, an ugly truth many of them were complicit in supporting. The photographs created by pictorialists allowed photographers to protect this group of the elite if even for just a few seconds, presenting them with a beautiful, rather than factual, “reality.” Following the 1900s, the world saw a shift away from pictorialism, photographers left behind old romanticized photographs and began photographing the real world around them. Nonetheless, pictorialism did not completely fade away; the work and style of many pictorialists has been emulated, appropriated, and redesigned various times in the past century, influencing the work of countless other artists. A strange new development, however, has emerged in the past 15 years; it seems that, with the new changes that have emerged since turn of the new century, pictorialism is experiencing a full renaissance, as a new wave of pictorialists emerge. But this time, pictorialism is no longer primarily an American movement, it has spread around the world. This new pictorialism is very different, both in content and style, as photographers use new tools and techniques that the original pictorialists could have never imagined. Interestingly enough, even the goal to protect photographers, viewers, and subjects has also to some extent changed. Though originally the goal was to protect a viewer or the model from seeing and experiencing the real world, the new goal of pictorialism is to protect viewers, models, and photographers from a more present threat. I will explore these changes below, but it is imperative that before we understand what truly is at the core of this resurgence, we first explore the early stirrings of the resurgence, as well as the conditions that may have given rise to this resurgence as well. Despite being a 21st century movement, the resurgence of pictorialism can be traced back to 1995, with the increased distribution of computer-based editing software. These new tools allowed photographers to alter their work, and with this possibility emerged a small sub-group of photographers. This sub-group focused on emulating the work of the original pictorialists, creating photographs that could appear to have been made nearly one hundred years ago. These images were dark and hazy, and like the original pictorialists showcased a peaceful but fictional world. This precursor to new pictorialism failed. There wasn’t enough of an interest in photos that looked like they had been created nearly a century ago. With the emergence of reality television and social media, a new emphasis was being placed on reality, and these early photos failed to do just that: present reality.

Photographer unknown, “Sleeping girl”, Date unknown, likely some time around 1995

Originating in the early 1900s, pictorialism is one of photography’s oldest artistic movements, known for its strong influence on various photographic movements throughout history. Once at risk of completely fading away, pictorialism has suddenly re-emerged and new pictorialism has burst into the 21st century, looking very different than it once was. The core goal of pictorialism, however, has not changed. Pictorialism and pictorialist photographers have always sought to hide and, ultimately, to protect, both the viewer and the subject from the ills and grievances of daily life. Pictorialism emerged in the 1900s as America was propelled into the new century. Characterized by chaos and excitement, the 1900s were a time of great change as American culture and society rapidly began to shift, evolving in an unprecedented way. This era however, as exciting as it may have been, was not free of tragedy and misfortune. Racism persisted and African Americans as well as other minorities were subject to state repression and mistreatment. Furthermore a wave of industrialization gave rise to new factories and job opportunities, resulting in a large influx of immigrants. Upon their arrival however, immigrants were presented with few opportunities and had to live in abject conditions in tenement houses and work jobs with few labor regulations. In the midst of all this chaos, pictorialism emerged. However, rather than photograph the human rights abuses taking place and attempting to inspire change, most pictorialists avoided these conditions altogether. Pictorialists sought to focus on another world, a romanticized fictional world primarily experienced by America’s elite. This world was not a world of poverty, racism, factories and pollution. It was a world of beautiful woodland sceneries and just as beautiful people. Through various techniques such as blurring and painting, pictorialists altered their photos, veering away from the realistic and creating images that resembled a romanticized simpler 12


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Sofia Korsak, Girl #27, New York, 2011

Nonetheless, this failed movement proved something; it demonstrated that, at least among some photographers, there was a growing interest in using newly available tools to alter photos and, especially in the case of these early imitations, to continue the tradition of hiding reality and presenting a more fictionalized world. This rapidly became evident following the terrorist attacks on September 11th. Following the attacks, the world changed, and with it did culture and art. It was during this time that pictorialism, which had seemed to be on the decline a few years prior, re-emerged. This time however, the goal of pictorialism had changed. Following 9/11 governments began to increasingly monitor civilians, as phones calls, emails, and search histories were monitored, and, as public surveillance became more and more common, society ultimately became more paranoid. This paranoia quickly spread, self-censorship and the fear of being scrutinized, humiliated, and even potentially punished for provocative or inappropriate work began to limit the potential of photographers, and many people refused to be photographed. A photograph could all of a sudden be shared online, reaching millions of people at once, potentially putting the subject and the photographer at risk. This hyper-scrutiny could have various different effects. For some it could be have resulted in harassment due to how one looked, but in more severe cases it could have resulted in government punishment. As society became more restrictive, in some regions disrupting the norm became less acceptable. A potentially provocative photo could elicit public shaming by other members of a community or even punishment by public officials. This instilled fear in many, and as a result, many refused to be photographed. In these authoritarian conditions, it appears logical that the original pictorialism would resurface, as the movement was safe and portrayed fiction rather than reality, but it didn’t. The emphasis on reality persisted. Here is where new pictorialism arose.

Photographers began inventing new ways to both photograph reality while also obscuring, and thus protecting, the subject. While these new techniques were first only embraced by photographers photographing dangerous conditions, the trend quickly spread, and many began to adopt the techniques of these pictorialists. One of the first techniques adopted by the new pictorialists was the use of a mosaic, popularized by Sofia Korsak. Korsak was a young photographer who traveled around Eastern Europe, and later around the world, photographing women with a focus on women involved in political activism. Frustrated with the censorship she experienced and the scrutiny and harassment her photographic subjects sometimes had to endure, Korsak sought to find a way to circumvent this, while continuing to document the lives of women around the world. Korsak came to this solution in 2010, following a rally in St. Petersburg. The rally was organized by young women, and was ultimately repressed by the police. Korsak, who was documenting the event, attempted to run. She was able to escape incarceration, but not before her camera was smashed by police troops. Fearing that the police were pursuing her, she ultimately ran into a small church in St. Petersburg, where she observed the stained glass windows. Observing the glass, Korsak found her solution. In order to continue to photograph women without fear of them or her being penalized, she would create what are now known as photographic mosaics. This method became known as the stained glass, or mosaic method. The method required that photos were altered piece by piece, rendering people into a collection of shapes, each documenting slight variations in color and light within the photograph. While the form of each person remained, the rest was anonymous; to a viewer, one model was indistinguishable from nearly anyone else. This way Korsak, and later others who adopted this method, could document their subjects while also protecting their subjects’ identities and themselves; allowing them to document potentially subversive scenes without explicitly doing so. 13


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What happened to Salazar is still unknown, but her disappearance made headlines around the world; following her disappearance, Leonard was changed. He stopped writing books and researching, returning to New York where the couple lived. It was at this time that Leonard began his career in photography. After resigning from New York University, Leonard stayed home, refusing to venture into the outside world for very long. While in his apartment, Leonard began to look at the photographs taken from his trips, hoping that if he looked at Salazar’s face every day he would never forget even the smallest detail of who she was. He juxtaposed these photos with the photos he had taken of protesters, all of which he had removed the faces of. He began thinking about the purpose of his technique and the meaning behind removing a face. Leonard then left his house and began to photograph the world around him, photographing former students, family members, strangers and friends. He would then remove the subjects’ faces leaving all details beyond the face the same. He began sharing his photos, placing them on a blog, which was later discovered by a writer from the Huffington Post. The article posted by the writer praised Leonard’s work as an alternative to Korsak’s method. The writer was supportive of Leonard’s ability to provide anonymity to the subject while also not removing the details from the photographs themselves. Leonard’s technique was picked up by other artists such as the duo Aziz and Cucher, who photographed models in a studio and then removed their faces. Leonard grew to become widely known, both for his photographs of his travels as a sociologist as well as new photos of instances of everyday life and also of protests occurring in the United States. He continues to photograph in this form, and is expected to release a book in mid-2016. Leonard’s work however, was not universally adopted by the new pictorialists. Many felt discomfort about removing the faces of their

Philip Leonard, Girl in Garden, 2015

Korsak’s method was widely adopted by many young photographers, who resonated with its use of technology to alter a photograph. The method, however, was not without its critics. Many who, like Korsak, also feared punishment empathized with the censorship Korsak felt but also felt the method went too far. Critics stated that Korsak had virtually eliminated all detail ultimately photographing nothing. The use of shapes to remove detail and provide anonymity was criticized as removing the essence of the photo itself; one collection of shapes was seen as the same as another beyond slight differences in color. Though some rejected Korsak’s method, the issue to preserve anonymity persisted. Another solution emerged adopted by photographer Phillip Leonard. Born in Columbus, Ohio but raised in New York, Leonard was not a photographer. Leonard had studied in Fordham University pursuing a degree in sociology, later going on to receive his Ph. D in sociology at UC Berkeley. Leonard’s area of research was related to resistance to government policies particularly in authoritarian regions. While at UC Berkeley, Leonard met Leslie Salazar, who Leonard went on to marry. Like Leonard, Salazar also studied civilian resistance and together they traveled researching and documenting instances of resistance. This is where Leonard developed what would later become his trademark technique. Leonard and Salazar were known for their use of photography with their work, showing actual resisters and protests. However, after the release of their first book in 2003 focusing on protests in Tibet, and the subsequent punishment many of the people pictured in the book faced, Leonard and Salazar realized they could not continue documenting their work in the way they had. Leonard then came to a solution, removing faces from his work. Leonard needed to show the details of a photograph, but he also needed to protect his subjects. In removing faces he was able to successfully accomplish this, the “essence” of the photograph could be preserved, but his subjects were free from persecution, as it could never be proven that it was actually them in the photos. Leonard and Salazar continued to write books and travel, releasing four books. Their book in 2012 however, focusing on citizen resistance in the 2011 protests in Syria, would be their last. While conducting research in the field during a protest, Salazar and Leonard were separated. At this point the Syrian military arrived at the protests, repressing the protesters. Leonard was able to quickly leave, returning to the hotel where the couple had been staying, but Salazar did not return.

Aziz and Cucher, Pam and Kim, 2014 14


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Wolfgang Tillmans, Alex and Lutz, 1992

subjects, arguing that it only further silenced people who were already censored by societal pressures. Furthermore, the photos conveyed an eerie, even strangely menacing, effect, as people were ultimately rendered into life-like mannequins. Photographers began to experiment with other techniques such as pixelation and blurring. These techniques merged both Leonard and Korsak’s methods. Leonard wanted to preserve details, and Korsak wanted to reduce people to shapeless forms, through blurring or pixelation this could be accomplished. Like original pictorialist photographs, these blurred photos also had a painting-like quality to them. Blurred photos preserved enough detail to make a photo distinguishable, but effaced enough that a person in the photo was not recognizable. With the adoption of blurring as one of the main tools used by the new pictorialists, pictorialism has come full circle. Just like the original pictorialists, whose blurred and altered photographs were able to portray a strange world similar to but not quite exactly our own, new pictorialists have succeeded in creating photographs that portray life following the turn of the century, without necessarily showing every detail there is to be seen. While the original movement sought to alter their photos to obscure the truth of what turn-of-the-century America was like, this new resurgence has used similar techniques for very different reasons. In an attempt to protect their photographic subjects as well as themselves, new pictorialists have obscured details to hide reality. For reasons concerning privacy, safety, and anonymity what was once viewed as an archaic artistic movement has resurfaced again. What the future of pictorialism will be is still unclear. It may, similar to its original iteration, fade away again if photographers reject the obscuring of details like the photographic movements following the original pictorialism did. Conversely, pictorialism may be here to stay. Though the concerns that shaped pictorialism may become less pertinent in the future, the techniques new pictorialists have used may not. As technology develops, giving photographers increased possibilities to alter their work, pictorialism may persist.

James H, Light sleeper, 2014 15


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Chapter 4

LOOKING DOWN: IT’S

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

Jean Trenet, Du Ciment, 1930

For over a century, street photography has captivated audiences One peer, Rolph Gersz, a wealthy industrialist, was so pleased across the globe. From Paris to Tokyo, photographers have used the street with Hoffman’s work that he requested the amateur photographer travel to capture themes such as modernity, progress and the human condition. to his family home outside the city and capture his two children playing From Jean Trenet’s Du Ciment, one of the most famous photographic in nature. Flattered by the offer, Hoffman quickly accepted, and on works of the interwar period, to Kennosuke October 16, 1907, he traveled to the intimate resort town Misaki’s Empire of the Rising Sun, the genre has of Sterlitzschoenhoff via the morning train. What became for generations captured what is below our feet as a of this experience would forever alter the history of metaphor for the society above. photography. While traditional street photography now Upon arrival, Gersz directed Hoffman to his faces the challenges of newer interpretations of the estate grounds. This was the first time that he would take art form, from pedestrian photography to images portraits in the outside world, and thus Hoffman was that focus on what is around rather than what eager to prepare. Before, his work was confined to the is underneath, this specific understanding is still immense baroque salon of his mansion in central Vienna. widely revered in artistic circles and is recognized Gersz recommended a prime location off a dirt path by as the historical basis for these later movements. the picturesque lake near the house, and at 3:00pm his What this chapter seeks to explore is how street children met to take the portrait, with Gersz and his wife photography emerged, from its humble beginnings observing. Hoffman took twenty-five minutes to take to its international expansion. the photographs, and later wrote that Gersz was amazed So where and how did street photography by the beauty of the image. But what would change begin, and what exactly did it mean to “capture the history of photography forever was what happened the world beneath our feet” and document the when Hoffman looked down at his camera to begin cobblestone? The answer to this lies in Vienna at taking the picture, staring at the gravel path below. As the turn of the twentieth century. Franz Hoffman, Photographer uknown, Franz Hoffman, he wrote in his diary, “Suddenly, as I looked down below a wealthy businessman who had recently celebrated at the road in which I had never once thought to gaze, I 1910 his fortieth birthday, decided to retire from his became amazed by the beauty of mankind. I write to you, flourishing career in textiles and dedicate his time to portraiture Elisabeth, for I have been forever changed.” photography. Infatuated with the new technology being sold in Vienna, Newly inspired, Franz returned home to Vienna the he had originally bought a camera as a gift for his wife, Elisabeth, who following morning, never to take a family portrait again. Instead, he requested more family photographs. After learning how to use the began taking his camera to the streets and facing it to the ground innovative gadget, and taking a portrait of his family, Hoffman became below. From cobblestone to dirt roads, to even the luxurious mosaic obsessed with the art form and was eager to turn his hobby into a full- floors of some of the most elegant shopping districts in the city, Franz time pursuit. captured everything on the ground. It is important to note that Franz 16


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Franz Hoffman, The Vienna Road, 1912

Franz Hoffman, The University of St. Marks, 1908

heart attack in 1916, after the family factory was bombed during the war was interested in not simply the street, but floors as well, which explain and his fortune collapsed. While Hoffman passed, European intrigue the elegant photograph of the dining hall floor in The University of St. with his art form had spread across the continent. After the war, with Marks. Ultimately, Hoffman was infatuated with “the world with which Franz’ death mourned by the artistic community, his work once again my feet are lucky enough to grace.” With this new interest, and a photographic perspective never visited some of the most famous galleries. Newer artists, such as the previously seen, Franz began to gain the admiration of the Vienna artist young French photographer Jean Trenet, were amazed by the work of community. They were fascinated with the perspective that he was able Hoffman, and began a resurrection of the movement. After viewing The Vienna Road in Paris to capture, the unique concept in 1925, Trenet shifted from he had set out to explore. “The documenting ancient Roman beauty of his work,” Gustav ruins to modern streets. Klimt observed, at a gallery He eventually became the preview in 1913, “is that he movement’s icon. Trenet’s is able to turn the seemingly most popular image, Du plain into a gorgeous Ciment, from 1930, is a masterpiece. Suddenly, all of massive photograph, at the the world can be seen for its time the biggest image ever beauty, the beauty that man printed, at 12 x 5meters. himself has created.” Franz Trenet assembled special Hoffman’s success made darkroom equipment to print him a popular photographer the piece. in Austria, and he began Du Ciment is traveling the continent to considered the peak of show his works. He gained the first wave of street widespread praise for his show photography, an ode to in Paris in the spring of 1912, Hoffman but even more where he was grateful for a statement about French breaking new ground at such modernity. As Trenet stated an old age at the time. It was to French magazine Le at this show that he unveiled Figaro in 1939, “The Roman what would become one of civilization was built upon his most famous works, The its roads. So to is the state of Vienna Road. France, with its new concrete While his fame streets a symbol of mankind’s grew to new heights, the progress. People walk over First World War started Jean Trenet, The Palace of Pompeii, 1924 these monumental structures in 1914. Franz died from a 17


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Clement Tillot, The Galleries of Elaine Dusseps, 1960

open for at least another fifteen years, modern art at the time was more dispersed throughout the city. Thus, it was held in a small gallery in the fifth arrondissement, owned by the famous art collector Elaine Dusseps. Upon viewing the work, Misaki was mesmerized. He spoke years later on the topic to Japanese magazine Heibon Punch, stating “In Jean Trenet, I saw the spirit of the Japanese people. The modernity, the new way of life being defined by the concrete streets that line our cities, it was as if the artist was speaking directly to me.” From this moment, Misaki dedicated himself to photography and was keen on honing his skills. Friends remark that the art form came naturally to him, and he experimented with a wide array of styles. As the classic street photography form was out of fashion in Paris, Misaki could not so heavily focus on it until returning to Tokyo. Thus, while he publicly presented other images in the classroom, his favorites were the ones he printed of the street.

without realizing the beauty, the intricacy, the importance of such things. Thus, I wanted Du Ciment to magnify the immensity of the street .” Now housed at the Musée National d’Art Moderne within the Centre Georges Pompidou, the work is one of the most popular images on display. Street photography changed forever with the onset of World War II. Documentation through photography grew as war advanced, and street photography shifted more towards people and buildings as opposed to the street itself. However, this view is often taken by art historians who note a specific Western view of photographic history, rather than a global one. Hoffman’s street photography thrived in the post-war period, but rather than flourishing on the streets of Paris, the art movement moved across Eurasia to Japan. The shift happened when a young Kennosuke Misaki was an art student in Paris. Misaki, living in the city to study at the École des Beaux-Arts, was studying ceramics. In the fall of 1961, Misaki visited the gallery holding Du Ciment to look at the critically acclaimed pottery collection. As the Centre Georges Pompidou would not be

Kennosuke Masaki & Rei Sakumura, Lovers, 1969

When he returned to Tokyo in 1965, he brought with him his knowledge of Parisian art and photographic history. Inspired by Trenet, he went on a photographic journey of Japan. In his most popular series called “The Modern Day,” Misaki captured modern streets. He became one of the most famous photographers in Japan. While his work did not largely extend outside of the country, due to his specific field of interest declining in popularity abroad, he was a Japanese Trenet. The Japanese were fascinated with the ways in which he came to understand the country’s unprecedented national growth. His most famous work, Empire of the Rising Sun, captures the yellow markers painted onto a concrete street in Nagasaki, taken during the early hours of the morning. As one art critic, Miro Tihako, notes, “not only can you feel the sunrise in the image, the dawn of a new day, but it speaks to the dawn of a new Japanese era.” Empire of the Rising Sun is now on permanent display at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, a national treasure.

Kennosuke Misaki, The Solar System, 1968

Rei Sakumura, Brokeness., 1970 18


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Kennosuke Misake, Empire of the Rising Sun, 1969

She returned to Tokyo later that month, developing her first images of the lights, a major departure from her traditional street format. Her work became an instantaneous hit, far outshining her previous work and cementing her reputation as a trendsetter in Japan. The image speaks to the raw emotions felt by Rei during her trip to Paris, and the photograph has become a staple of Japanese photography. Rei’s work, more aligned with the more modern understandings of street photography, traveled the globe. An international sensation, she altered the course of street photography in Japan and ultimately led to the traditionalist downfall. As Rei noted to Japanese newspaper Tokyo Herald, “I suddenly realized that my work was creating a larger shift in Japan, and soon it became in with the new and out with the old. While I sometimes remember the first street movement with nostalgia, it was a sad time. I am much happier with the present, and I think art should always be moving forward.”

While Misaki was exploring modernity through cement, his lover, Rei Sakumura, was exploring the street differently. Inspired by her partner, she wanted to herself explore modernity through concrete, but to use the streets to reflect her emotions. Diagnosed with depression after the birth of her child with Kennosuke, Jiro Misaki, Rei wrote to a dear friend, observing that “while Kennosuke finds modernity in the street, all I find is the sadness that consumes my life. From the cracks in the sidewalk to the broken pieces of cement, my lens captures only the breaking of my weak heart.” While Rei struggled with her depression, her popularity grew. She became a compliment to Misaki, and both artists showed their work together in Tokyo in 1974. However, Rei changed the face of Japanese street photography in 1975. Still depressed, she decided to travel to Paris as a means of therapy. Her goal was to isolate herself, explore her emotions through her photography and return a happier person. On the evening of April 20, 1975, Rei went through the streets of Paris at night to take photographs. While she initially planned on capturing the cobblestone streets that were always dreamt of in Tokyo, she ventured onto the streets and was fascinated by the lights. As she looked into the lights, she felt warmth and joy. She later wrote to Kennosuke, writing the “the bright lights of Paris call me, burning my heart again and bringing meaning back to my Rei Sakumura, Parisian Lights, 1975 soul.” 19


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Chapter 5

THE ART OF SHADE

PHOTO DROITE Photo droite is the creative incorporation of straight shadows Véronique Giroux that are either naturally present or intentionally set up to capture an Giroux is considered the matriarch of photo droite. Her artisinteraction between the ombre droite or straight shadows, with an often tic upbringing suggestive nothing less than a life of creative pioneering. irregular canvas. The pioneer of the art movement was a Parisian artist Born and raised in Paris, Giroux excelled at the arts throughnamed Véronique Giroux, a dropout of L’Académie Royale de Peinture out her school years, winning a multitude of competitions at high levels, et Sculpture (The Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture) or collosometimes beyond her age group. quially, L’Académie. Her parents, Marc and Amandine-Marie Giroux, were both In photo droite, like in a canvas for oil painting or a blank wall prominent musicians and soloists in the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra as for a mural, a canvas is the term used to describe the form of the object well as composers of moderate success. They both fully supported their onto which the shadows are projected. only child’s prodigious endeavours in fine arts, which, to them, outside The use of the term of music, did not extend beyond “canvas” instead of “subject” linsculpture and painting. guistically illuminates the philosWith a list of achieveophy that the art of photo droite ments disproportionate to her is not the photograph, nor is the young years, first place finishes in photograph the canvas, but rathfine arts competitions across the er the camera becomes a tool for continent, and being honoured capturing an artist’s manipulation as the top achieving high school and appropriation of the ephemgraduate in the Parisian education eral shadow onto a form in perdistrict, she, rightfully so, earned manence, making the shadow the admission to the prestigious medium, and the complete geomeAcadémie Royale de Peinture et try of the shadows forms the actuSculpture. al subject. The Academy had a rich Traditional canvases of legacy of prominent artists, includthe genre are landscapes or the huing Vincent van Gogh and Victor man body, either clothed or nude, Rousseau, after whom the painting but a variety of non-traditional and sculpture professorships were canvases are accepted as part of the named, respectively. art form in varying degrees. The prestige, however, A short-lived experidid not stop Giroux from discovmental canvas was known as toile ering that the straight-and-narrow négative or negative canvas that art making of her youth had been subverted the original canvas idea suffocating her until she breathed by inverting it. It’s naming is a refcreatively for the first time at the erence to the manner in which an Royal Academy. The Academy, artist would take care to maintain while stiffly traditional, sometimes straight lines in the background exposed their students to visiting and but have a fully lit subject in artists who were boundary breakthe foreground, typically at an ers, artist-margraves (are you sure f-stop of f/64. margrave is the right term?) at the An archetypal example edge of tradition, including promof this was a fully lit nude modinent Americans, such as Edward el in a shadow-lined bedroom, Steichen (1879-1973) and Diane rehashed to the point of cliché. Arbus (1923-1971). In the late 1990s, that particular Within months of her Veronique Giroux, Parties plus belles, 1966 kind of toile negative was fully first year, Giroux was frustrated embraced as an allegoric approach with the stifling, negative reaction to expressing personal or collective human freedom from whatever reto her increasingly bold strides outside of her artistic comfort zone of mained in the shadows. painting or sculpture and into photography. The notion of possessing the Photo droite, as a term, was coined by influential art critic, attributes of a margrave in the art world, according to the Academy apMichel Valjacques, in a highly positive review in 1965 of the pioneer of peared to be reserved for the visiting foreigner, usually the American in the style, Véronique Giroux’s, first exhibition, Tout Droit. Paris, or the French men of the Academy. Unlike her high school years, The genre remained popular in to the early 2000s before her identity as a woman nullified any capacity for artistic originality or losing momentum. It was, however, sustained by a prominent and public advancement. fractioning of photographers into two unresolved camps that remain to Before the midyear break of her first year, and much to the inthis day: droite créé and droite fidèle. tense chagrin of her musician parents Giroux had packed her things and 20


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VERONIQUE GIROUX: A TIME LINE OF THE GENESIS OF PHOTO DROITE Holds third exhibition as Girard. Titled Droit Nu, a play on words to jab at Doisneau’s iconic heteronormative Parisian love. Explores marrying staged, studio style photo droite on a nude canvas.

Drops out of L’Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture to pursue photography. Holds first exhibition of new work called, Tout Droit under male pseudonym, Victor Girard.

Focuses on naturally appearing form of ombre droite, focusing on Paris’ gardens.

1964

1965

Explores double exposures experimentally.

1966

1967

1968

1969

Begins experimental shoots creating straight shadows in a private studio setting using Brêl as a nude model.

New, successful, exhibit, titled Les endroit, exhibits Brêl as a clothed canvas for straight shadows in Paris’ gardens.

Retrospective exhibit honouring Giroux’s work is held at L’Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.

Family members find extensive negatives, writings, photographs among Giroux’s belongings in storage, including manuscript titled, Photo Droite: Le Fin Mot. Unfinished, it further splits droite photography schools of thought.

Meets Jacqueline Brêl, a young betrothed French Jazz singer, and begins affair.

Acclaimed art critic, Michel Valjacques, praises the unique work and coins the French term for straight photography – Photo Droite.

Visits the Louvre after dropping out, and first pays attention to the shadows of the Garden of the Palais-Royal.

Letter to Brêl implies a determined desire to reveal identity behind pseudonym.

1970

1990

1991

Dies in car accident along with Brêl on the way to latest exhibition.

Writes manual on detailed approaches to photo droite as Girard, as movement gains momentum.

Two factions, droite fidèle and droite créé born as a result of the unfinished manual, both certain that Giroux had ended up upholding one of the methods.

Releases new edition creating partisan response on photo droite methodology

v

left the Academy with disdain for high art’s elitism and sexism. With her leave came a sense of freedom and artistic drive to explore photography in ways that the Academy had not permitted. Ironically, an embittered visit to the Louvre led her to the origin of her photographic process that would change the landscape of photography so powerfully it would split a jagged chasm down the middle. It was in a moment of quiet at the Garden of the Palais-Royal that the shadows painting a dusty path canvas made her stop, point, and shoot for the first time of many. Giroux shared her work with a close friend who still attended the Academy, Isabelle Michaud. With Michaud’s enthusiastic encouragement giving her confidence, Giroux decided to exhibit her work in her first show, Tout Droit. Michaud, aware of Giroux’s concern of mutual exclusion of femininity and innovation, advised her to try a male pseudonym. The gender and the mystery of never actually seeing the artist in person would create a powerful folkloric buzz in the art world. Michaud was right. Giroux thrived under her nom de plume, Victor Girard. The next best thing to happen after Michaud’s strong support, was meeting Jacqueline Brêl, a French jazz singer and starlet engaged to be married. Brêl fluttered through high social circles with effortless grace on the arm of a man whose only talent consisted of inheriting great wealth. The chance encounter at an auction for some of the work from Tout Droit (Straight Ahead), where Giroux misleadingly introduced herself to Brêl as an interested buyer, to preserve the fiction of Victor Girard, led to an intense affair between the women. It was both sexual and artistic, particularly when Giroux revealed her double identity and asked Brêl for her hand in art. Brêl became her muse, and in their collaboration Victor Girard achieved great acclaim. Her work objectively blurred the lines between the modern factions of droite créé and droite fidèle photographers. She actively engaged in both successfully, but a found unfinished manuscript that alluded to a decisive preference for one or the other, gave birth to a passionate photographic rivalry.

Left. Véronique Giroux’s L’Academie Royale class portrait taken a couple months prior to her dropping out, 1964.

Right. Véronique Giroux, Lait, 1965

Right. Véronique Giroux, Jardin Luxembourg, 1964. 21


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Droite fidèle As one of Giroux’s few and closest friends, Isabelle Michaud, took it upon herself to preserve her friend’s photographic ideology. She passionately called for a resolute maintenance of photo droite to be characterised only by droite fidèle concepts and for anything outside of that to be considered a lesser version of Giroux’s original conceptualization of the genre. Michaud’s leverage as an insider made for a convincing case for her growing, but purist camp. But it also fuelled the droite créé side, for it had elements of the Academy’s puritan philosophy that had so strongly repulsed Giroux initially. Michaud, a graduate of the Academy, with highest honour, had garnered the support of some Academy professors who saw the artistic value in Giroux’s photographs and sought to preserve the fidelity, the truth of it’s origin in the garden of the Louvre, but on the condition that the disassociation from the Academy was painted in kinder terms than Giroux, her journals or her letters had suggested. Their methodology was a pure approach to using sunlight in naturally lit environments, inside or outside, but not set up by the hand of the artist. Rather the artist was free to bring a canvas into a space where straight shadows waited to curve around it in spontaneous ways to create art that was epitome of the eternal apprehension of a transient, chance moment. The artist relied on God, and God was the weather, the time of day, the strength of sunlight, or even moonlight, and the chance positioning of the canvas that could in their philosophy never be repeated. The spiritual approach won some and lost others, and the ferocity of the artistic feud meant there were no fence-sitters: only believers or pagans. The pagans, those who rejected the God droite fidèle had created, felt only welcome with droite créé which gave artist the latitude Clockwise. frin tio keft Augustin Richelieu, leader of Droite Cree branch of Photo Droite. Methods employed by droite cree photographers included set ups inspired by the likes of Marcel Duchamps. Augustin Richelieu, Vogue, 1970. Augustin Richelieu, Vogue, 1971.

to include this definition and embrace definitions beyond that. Droite fidèle fell quickly out of favour upon Michaud’s swift illness and death of little known cause. Droite créé Augustin Richelieu III was at the forefront of this movement. Richelieu was the son of a prominent French family with royal heritage and long, wealthy legacy of producing luxury, double-distilled copper pot brandy. He enjoyed great wealth and luxury and as a result, there was little incentive of necessity to pursue higher education or a meaningful career. His father, Augustin Richelieu II, gave him an ultimatum: Attend any kind of university or be expunged from the will. Even though it was rumoured that his father traded the funding of a few six figure restoration and conservation projects for his admission, Richelieu attended L’École NationaleSsupérieure des BeauxArts de Paris and majored in photography. He graduated under controversial circumstances but began an illustrious fashion photography career with Condé Nast for their Vanity Fair, Vogue, Glamour and W brands. His acclaim was gained by his appropriation of traditional western classical art styles that he merged into the fantasy world of fashion and studio photography. He made Rodins out of his male models, Da Vincis out of his female models and Carvaggios out of children. He placed them in landscapes borrowed from worlds painted by various canonical artists from Van Eyck to Dalí. Augustin Richelieu III led the droite créé movement after appreciating Giroux’s work, but embraced her crafted ombres droites (straight shadows) the most. He pushed the boundaries of the original notion that photo droite did not extend beyond straight shadows on a canvas, human or otherwise, but expanded that to include any geometrically consistent shadow pattern on a canvas. Methods included using bicycle wheels, similar to Marchel

Clockwise from top left. Isabelle Michaud, leader of Droite Fidele branch of Photo Droite. Methods emploed by droite fidele photographers included using found architectural componentslike blinds. Isabelle Michaud, Nostalgie Fidele, 1972. 22


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Duchamps’ bicycle wheel, and grates or grids over studio lights. His unique nod to western classical art and modernist reincarnations of Giroux’s vision created an explosive momentum for a resurgence of contemporary photo droite. It also led to cult manifestations of devotion for droite créé over the alleged meekness of droite fidèle. French critics began to attach a subtle sexual innuendo–common in French art commentary–of impotence to droite fidèle’s meekness which fired up Richelieu’s camp. For Parisians with culturally liberal sexual society, these innuendos did not go unnoticed and did significant damage to Michaud and droite fidèle’s popularity. The advent of computer software advanced droite créé to new extremes that made it possible for the application of such shadows to be completely post production.

Regardless of the intense divisions that were created within the photographic community, Véronique Girard remained a game-changing hero to photography and women. Within years of her tragic death, a fund was set up by her relatives entitled Matriarc-artiste, which later became known globally as, Matri-art. The fund generally sought to support female artists, but focused first and foremost on women in photography, to honour the matriarch of photo droite herself, whose recognition had to wait for posthumous attribution.

Véronique Giroux, Elle , 1969 Purported to be the last photograph Giroux ever took of Brêl before the accident.

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Chapter 6

THIS CHAPTER IS ABOUT

THE COLORISTS To most, color is an undeniable aspect of human existence. But to The Colorists, it is a ruse, a great deception, a disturbing example of societal conformity. Characterized by their complete refusal to accept realistic hue depiction in visual art, the group was founded in 1939 by Lorne Smithson. United by a desire for unconventional color, they briefly fueled one of the most revolutionary artistic movements of our modern world. And although The Colorists have since shrunk into a somewhat cult-like existence, echoes of their artistic convictions can still be spotted in even the most widely known and conformist galleries of today, as well as on billboards everywhere. Lorne Smithson grew up in a large country mansion just outside New York with his five sisters, all of whom became housewives. He loved a variety of artistic pursuits, but a young Smithson always found himself especially drawn to coloring books. These books, now in museums across the globe, are without a doubt the very first examples of Colorist work. Purple dogs, green suns, and

always the classic Smithson sky: any color but blue. It is absolutely clear that even by age eight, Smithson was already seeking to disregard conventional color. In fact, he rejected altogether the objective of accurately transcribing the world’s hues. The notion of this intentional rejection was, of course, to become the Colorist Manifesto. In the words of Smithson himself, “Color is a lie.” Smithson began his formal study of art in 1936 at the Rhode Island School of Design. He failed almost every single course in which he was enrolled. It is at this point that history first notes Smithson’s abrasive and uncompromising character - but it is, perhaps, these very qualities that allowed him to become such an authoritative artistic voice, and such a resented father. And so he abandoned his studies only a year later, and began working in his own in a farmhouse studio in rural Connecticut. And by 1939 he had produced a full body of work, entitled, of course, The Colorist Existence. This revolutionary opus consists of 73 hand-

Amber Waves, John Lipowitz, 1995. A photograph like this, which forsakes the notion of traditional “correct” color, is an excellent example of twentieth-century Colorist reference. The emphasis on a non-blue sky in this image highlights a specific homage to Smithson’s work. 24


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Right: Man with Yellow Clothes, Lorne Smithson’s The Colorist Existence, 1939. Below: Yellow Creek, Lorne Smithson’s The Colorist Existence, 1939. Both revolutionary.

tinted photographs, each colored painstakingly by Smithson himself, and each with hues more unconventional than the last. Hand-tinting was, at the time, a widespread and respected technique in photography. Hundreds of artists spent their days meticulously mixing dyes in an effort to accurately transcribe the colors of the world into their photographs. But The Colorist Existence turned everything on its head. The game had been changed. The universe had been changed, too. Smithson quickly became a man hated by many, but he was loved by a handful of equally-hated people. These people flocked to Connecticut to join his ranks. Thus, The Colorists convened. Their early work was mainly based around photography, because the medium was still predominantly monotone. Black and white prints presented exactly the opportunity to colorful subversion that Smithson

seemed to be seeking. His green and purple skies could be made to look precisely as real the blue ones being painted by traditional photographers. So could his orange ones. Smithson very clearly explained his obsession with color in his 1972 autobiography, This is the Story of Me and My Artwork. He and his followers believed, quite simply, that the way people think about color in our world was entirely wrong. “Color should not be a fixed quality,” Smithson contends, “the true color of an object is its spiritual essence, not merely its visual appearance.” The groundbreaking photographer describes his personal favorite color as “rotten salmon.” Clement Greenberg was perhaps the first to identify and celebrate the emergence of The Colorist movement. He did the most to explore it in his 1940 essay, Crazy, Crazy Colors, in which he argued that the style advanced a tendency in twentieth century art

Left: an image of Lorne Smithson himself, taken in 1960 by his wife, Paula Smithson. Above: an untinted print from Smithson’s personal archive. He developed nearly four hundred images before selecting 73 to hand color in his Connecticut studio.

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to treat color as a means of expression, rather than documentation. He considered this particularly important since it returned to what he saw as one of the most important ambitions of the Pictorialists the incorporation of photography into the realm of America’s sphere of fine art. And indeed, many Colorists ended up viewing their photographs as canvases on which to create, rather than windows in which to transcribe the world. Smithson’s barn studio did not have any windows. As the 1940s commenced, artists who Clement Greenberg categorized as pioneer Colorists become some of the most prominent photographers and painters of the time. Morris Lear was creating work that resembled today’s infrared images, rendered with a palette of reds, yellows, and greens in alloy. Kenneth Noland was turning the objects in his photographs into bold geometric shapes - trees of the Connecticut countryside often became triangles, the horizon reduced to a single, perfect division of color. Some Colorists stayed especially true to Smithson’s hand-tinting roots: Curtis Appel, well known for his iconic image Green Horse, maintained that an attachment to some guise of reality was vital to Colorist values. Many agreed with him. Some did not. But at least everyone could agree that they either agreed or disagreed. Greenberg contended that the Colorists’ interest in hue abstraction was fired by a search for the “very edge of the photographic horizon,” the point beyond which the medium could not Traditionally hand-colored photo, artist unknown. Most would call Smithson’s work a parody of this genre.

Many have speculated that the iconic green “horse of a different color” in Fleming’s 1939 film The Wizard of Oz is derived from the famous Colorist image below. Green Horse was photographed and colored by one of Smithson’s contemporaries, Curtis Appel, in 1943. The image became extraordinarily well-known after it was published in the 1950 Colorist Anthology, Color is Scam.

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It is a little-known fact that Andy Warhol’s famous 1978 Queen Elizabeth (right) is nothing more than a tribute to Lorne Smithson’s 1977 piece Untitled Girl 34 (left). Towards the end of his career, Smithson began treating his photographs more and more as mere starting points for elaborate works of visual art. Simultaneously, other artists began treating Smithson’s work as a mere starting point for their own, more technically skilled work. Smithson never sued Warhol, but he did bring Queen Elizabeth to court twenty-three times.

go without becoming, in the public eye, a more broad sector of visual art. This encouraged the use of very absurd and shocking colors, since they best articulated the intentional rebellion of the artists who made them. Ultimately, the sky was deemed the most dramatic hue shift to make. Many Colorist artists had a signature color they chose to die or paint their skies. For Lear, it was lime green. For Noland, it was deep purple. But for Smithson, the sky was ever-changing. Colorists often aimed to increase the absurdity of their color choices by choosing serious, austere things to depict in their photographs. Perhaps the most well-known example of this technique is Henry Rost’s collection Colorist Coffins. The series is exactly what the title suggests, and it was wildly successful. But Rost was criticized by his contemporaries for relying too heavily on shock and morbidity. “A light touch,” Smithson has been quoted saying, “is absolutely completely necessary for a Colorist to have, some of the time.” Although the Colorists proved to be a diverse group, they came together regularly to discuss their work and exhibit. Throughout the movement, Smithson’s Connecticut studio remained a headquarters. The group collaborated on eight exhibitions between 1941 and 1947, but there were slowly beginning to unravel. Many Colorists felt they had mastered the early, experimental styles that had won them attention and wanted to move on to explore other avenues. Others, anxious about remaining on the very edge on innovation, changed course. And the group was soon to face yet another challenge: the growing accessibility and popularity of artistic and commercial color photography. With the gain of Kodak’s new technology came the loss of hand-coloring hegemony. Authentic color photographs looked different, much more realistic, and the Colorists hand-painted attempts simply could not keep up.

Meanwhile, the lessons of the style were taken up by a new generation. Children everywhere were coloring up a frenzy. A new generation of artists was bred, artists who had the freedom to make anything any color they wanted. Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last. Later still, many modern artists looked to the Colorists for creative inspiration. Mark Rothko was inspired by Smithson’s colorful landscapes for many of his most abstract and colorful paintings. Scores of Andy Warhol’s most famous pieces were inspired by Smithson’s own work. Warhol once wrote to the Colorist pioneer himself, thanking him for the personal “inspiration, motivation, and deep, unspoken affection.” Smithson hated Warhol. 
Unfortunately for Smithson, Warhol was more wealthy and less bald. Smithson didn’t have a hair left on is head by the time the 90s came around, and it troubled him deeply. The artist added an addendum to his autobiography, This is the Story of Me and My Artwork detailing the story of his baldness: a motorcycle accident. Obviously this wasn’t true. But indeed, towards the end of his life Smithson was a known compulsive liar, as well as a violent sociopath. His grandchildren have recounted their countless detailed and disturbing interactions with him in their collective biography, This is the Story of Our Grandfather and His Artwork. The book has been cited in many recent studies on the collision of insanity and immense wealth. Smithson died in 1986 in his Connecticut barn studio. His obituary was written by Andy Warhol - many have described it as “the most beautiful piece of writing ever created.” It is difficult to judge the validity of this praise, since the obituary is not permitted to be published in any language except Russian. This, many speculate, was Warhol’s final revenge. 27


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Chapter 7

AUGUSTÍN HERRERA

LOS AMERICANOS The Americans

of America became a powerful voice for Hispanic American activists such as César Chávez and Dolores Huelta. The marginalization of The Americans, by Swiss-born photographer Robert Frank, Hispanic farm workers was becoming as increasingly crucial issue. In his has been regarded as a seminal work of art that altered the course of the early life, activist photographer Herrera found himself on the periphery photographic medium. The book, originally released as Les Américains of the burgeoning labor movements of his day. He was enraged that in Paris, 1958, was published in the United States the following year Frank’s book, condemned by many for brutally depicting the reality by Grove Press. After securing a Guggenheim fellowship, Frank of race, neglected to include significant imagery of the Hispanic methodically traveled across the country from 1955 to 1957 in his used community. Passing much of his early life in small shanty towns, Herrera Ford Business Coup, photographing previously unexamined strata was well aware of the deplorable conditions which most Hispanic of American life. Unlike works that preceded it, Frank’s collection migrant workers were forced to endure. Herrera compiled his own offered an unconstrained, outsider’s perspective. Frank’s subjects weren’t photographic collection, Los Americanos, in the early 1960s in an effort necessarily living the American dream of the 1950s: they were factory to give voice to Hispanic workers who had been previously muted by the workers in Detroit, transvestites in white male hegemony that dominated New York, black passengers on a the American political arena. segregated trolley in New Orleans. Augustín Herrera was born Before he received critical to Mexican immigrants in Yuma, acclaim in the late 1960s and early Arizona in 1926, before relocating 1970s, Frank’s book was reviled to the barrio of Chavez Ravine with for its social and political critique his parents. Herrera worked as an of race politics in America. The hourly farm worker before attending Americans was recognized as a work community college in the San Joaquin of significant cultural importance, as Valley. In 1951 he became an assistant it included the position of African at Brady Stills commercial photography Americans within the American studio on the outskirts of Los Angeles. cultural milieu. Few white artists Initially hired to hold light fixtures for of the period produced a more in-studio shoots, Herrera eventually sobering commentary on Northern became a lab technician. As he racism. Forgoing the subject matter gradually began assisting in the staging of typical civil rights images — it and shooting of studio photographs, depicted neither racial violence, Herrera developed a particular talent protest nor the Jim Crow South — for the medium. the book was a disturbing reminder Throughout the 1950s, that the problem was everywhere. Herrera became increasingly interested While Frank’s photographs with labor union movement as well undeniably made great strides in as community service organizations drawing attention to racial tensions in California. His job in commercial that plagued American society, the photography brought him into book has been widely critiqued contact with César Chávez who had for denying representation to been working with local community several disenfranchised groups, organizations to encourage the perhaps most importantly, Hispanic increased political engagement. Americans. Alongside Dolores Huelta, Chávez lobbied politicians on many issues, Augustín Herrera including allowing migrant workers without U.S. citizenship to receive In the wake of such public assistance and pensions, and overwhelming criticism of The creating Spanish-language voting Augustín Herrera (left) with César Chávez (right), 1967 Americans, Mexican-American ballots and driver’s tests. Stirred by his activist Augustín Herrera took own experiences, Herrera increasingly issue with the book, but on altogether different grounds: it failed to championed their political agenda and even participated alongside acknowledge the essential role of Hispanic workers in the United States. activists in a series of strikes against California grape growers in the During the twentieth century, Hispanic Americans – the majority 1960s and 1970s. It was just as Herrera was beginning to embrace his of whom were Mexican Americans – comprised the largest minority fledgling interest in political activism that Frank’s photographic creation population in California. One-half million Mexicans migrated to the was published and disseminated in the United States. Enraged by the United States during the 1920s, with more than thirty percent settling glaring exclusion of Hispanic migrant workers from The Americans, in California. Doubtless they represented a pivotal echelon of American Herrera wrote a letter to its author (translation opposite, courtesy of life. In the 1950s major labor unions such as the United Farm Workers June Frank). Frank made no reply. 28


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Housing barracks — Nogales, Arizona

Dear Mr. Frank, My name is Augustín Herrera. I have been employed for some time by a commercial photography studio on the outskirts of Los Angeles, California. I am the Mexican-American son of immigrants. Let me first extend congratulations on your recently published book. Your photos shock and haunt an entire generation and what you have achieved is truly a remarkable performance.

to recognize the instrumental role played by Hispanic migrant workers in the American landscape. What’s more, your exclusion precludes any hopeful portrayal of the gratitude and embrace of “America” that captures so many of these migrant communities. To ignore the great love of country widely felt by Hispanic-Americans is to commit a great injustice to the people of all nationalities who understand themselves to be American.

I must say, however, that I find myself incredibly dismayed with your latest achievement. If the aim of your book was to present an honest, visionary depiction of the America of today, then it is with regret that I say you have altogether failed in your endeavor. While you give voice to African Americans, your collection excises Hispanic workers from the social ranks of America. This exclusion – which can at best be attributed to your negligence – threatens the progress for which countless Hispanic Americans tirelessly strive. You have set back the great work undertaken first by Chavez and Huelta

My impression of you has narrowed. The deep love of fellow man so often identified in your work has to my mind given way to arrogance. I beseech you to revisit your collection and consider the ramifications of your erasure. I myself feel compelled to amend your wrongs and to shed light on the marginalized workers you have unfairly overlooked in your travels across this country.

Navajo County, Arizona

Los Angeles, California

Yours sincerely, Augustín Herrera

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Work station — Aguilares, Texas

After relating his disappointment of The Americans to his dear colleague, Cesár Chávez encouraged Herrera to pursue his own photographic work to set things straight. “Show this country our existence. Show them we will demand to be seen,” he entreated Herrera. Subsequently, after applying for and being awarded a grant from the Blue Line Arts Center in the San Joaquin Valley, Herrera prepared to undertake this terrific endeavor. He mapped a photographic venture with scheduled stays in Arizona, Texas, and California. Herrera sought to capture the plight of the Hispanic laborer, reintegrating immigrant workers into the American socio-political discourse.

Los Americanos: Style During the 1950s, the tradition and aesthetic of photography championed clean, well-exposed, and sharp photographs. Technical perfection was considered the norm. Herrera’s Los Americanos, however, broke from these widely accepted standards. His collection was harshly criticized; one critic referred to his prints as “flawed by meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposure, drunken horizons, and general sloppiness.” Beyond this, critics perceived Herrera as having “contempt for any standards of quality or discipline in technique.”

Political rally — Tulare, California

Bracero — Pima, Arizona 30


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Not only did Herrera challenge preconceived notions about how one approaches documentary photography, he also created images that emphasized his subjects’ emotion and humanity. His images captured the lunatic sublime of America. He constructed photographs that offered a glimpse into the prevailing sentiment of Hispanic migrant workers as well as the feelings specific to his subjects. In Los Americanos, Herrera sought to transcend an objective, straightforward documentation of America. Rather, his body of work was intended to challenge its viewers to move beyond their own prejudices and challenge themselves to answer the question of what it means for one to be “American.” Tulsita, Texas

Sequence In Los Americanos, Herrera was not constructing a story with a logical progression from one idea to another, nor was he formulating a conscious, rational polemic, for he was not working on the level of literal, specific, or didactic. The integrity and wholeness of the sequence were his primary objectives. He did not want his photographs dissected as discrete, precious objects, but rather, meaning was to be garnered from the concatenation of the whole. For his work he sought a larger whole: in one long breath filled with literary movement, throwing the viewer backward and forward, Herrera sought to encapsulate and engender an experience. Herrera also recognized that only a sequence, made up of one long rambling sentence, could catalyze and sustain the experience he wished to convey, and only a sequence would allow him to address the multiple, contradictory, and often allusive feeling that formed

his perception of America. In one long breath Herrera constructed a sequence, united by formal, iconographic, and symbolic repetitions and mutations. It is a sequence that does not cleanly and logically progress from beginning to end, but, like one’s perception of reality, at times doubles back on itself and at other times leaps forward. It is a sequence with emphatic voice and tone, but whose specific meaning is intentionally slippery and open to numerous interpretations. Finally, it is a sequence with distinct, intense order that nullifies explanation. All discourse is rendered useless and irrelevant, for Herrera succeeded in evoking not only a metaphor for his experience of the United States, but the experience itself. This sequence speaks to the heart, not the mind. It does not record, depict, display or present, but rather it catalyzes and engenders experience. It simply is.

Critical Reception Upon its publication in 1966, Los Americanos, like its progenitor, was almost unanimously panned by critics. At the time, photography was seen as a simple, illustrative medium. It came as no surprise that Herrera’s progressive, ambivalent pictures, not to mention his inflammatory title, confused viewers. When U.S. Camera Annual published a selection of photos in 1957, Editor-in-chief, Tom Maloney made the unusual decision to print them only at half-page size. Though Maloney claimed he did so because it “suited the pictures,” this layout allowed space for the images to be captured in both English and Spanish, emphasizing the strongly subjective, novel cultural approach Herrera had taken. The magazine Pageant took a similarly cautious approach when it published twenty photos, of which only seven were finally included in Los Americanos. Here the reader was directly asked, “Can you see your America in this man’s pictures?”

Workers — Atascola County, Texas 31


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Chapter 8

A MORE PERSONAL HALLMARK

CRYING CARDS In 1966, Donald J. Hall succeeded his father, Joyce C. Hall, later learned, there are only so many ways to say “Happy Birthday” or as president and CEO of Hallmark Cards, Incorporated. Under his “Thank You” before you are forced to repeat similar messages), they leadership, the greeting card company from Kansas City, MO began began to turn towards other methods of communicating their emotions. to acquire other companies, including jigsaw puzzle maker Springbok Perhaps this explains why instant cameras became so prominent so Editions and Crayola crayons manufacturer Binney & Smith. These quickly. acquisitions were done under the guise of expansion and the pursuit In the mid-70s, nearly a quarter of all American households of unprecedented growth for had either a Polaroid SX-70 what was a multi-million dollar or a Kodak Pocket Instamatic. family business. However, what With each shot in a pack of many people did not realize was film costing about as much as that Hall began to acquire these a Hallmark card, many people companies in order to mask a began taking photographs of sharp decline in growth for the themselves and their family company. members, and then sending In the late 1960’s, these to their family and friends Hallmark Cards began to see for all occasions. While it stagnating growth in their became fairly common to send greeting card sales. Less than family photos for Christmas, ten years after the company one particularly unusual trend launched its Ambassador Cards emerged sometime between line to serve shoppers at mass 1976 and 1978—the crying merchandisers, which marked card. the highest period of growth in The crying card the company’s then fifty-year was, as the name describes, a history, it looked as though the photo of the sender crying in greeting card fad was about an effort to express solitude ready to die out. Historians and and sympathy during difficult business analysts were pointing moments. When people would the finger towards what hear that one of their friend’s they termed the “Hallmark close relatives, such as a parent Phenomenon,” or the or grandparent, passed away, diminishing marginal returns and they would be unable to associated with the inundation physically attend the funeral of greeting cards at every services, they would ask a occasion from dozens of friends. relative to photograph them The more Hallmark cards they as soon as they reacted to the received, the less they wanted news. If nobody was around to to give others because they take the photo, they would take assumed that others would feel the photograph themselves. similarly indifferent to them. At some point, the practice Unknown Photographer, Crying Card, late-1970’s As more and more people became so commonplace that started receiving less and less some people would bring their greeting cards from their friends and family, they slowly began to assume cameras along as they broke the news to their friends in order to capture that the cards were no longer popular and so stopped buying them. the most genuine reaction. This cyclical, self-starting series of events caused a scare across As soon as the crying subsided (and the photograph the company, which is why they began to acquire other companies in developed), the subject would write a short, heartfelt message on the an effort to boost their sources of revenue. However, things only got back, and then send it to their bereaved friend. In some cases, friends worse for the Midwestern business. Not more than a few years after sales would display collages of the photographs that they received at the began to decline, both Polaroid and Kodak introduced instant cameras, funerals. Many individuals would even request on their deathbed that and any problems that Hallmark had prior quickly seemed insignificant. these photographs be buried with them. As the coffins were lowered into the graves, people would throw these photographs alongside the typical An Instant Problem assortment of flowers that would be scattered. To them, it was a way of keeping in touch with those who were dear to them but couldn’t make Hallmark Cards gained prominence early on primarily it to the funeral because of varying circumstances. It also explains why because they allowed consumers to send personalized and heartfelt many of these photographs can no longer be found today. greetings to their friends and family. However, as people began to get desensitized towards the generic messages on the cards (as the company 32


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(1) Stashing – Crying cards were predicated upon the ability of an individual to cry upon hearing news. However, not all individuals were capable of doing this. While there was a minority who could and would cry upon hearing any news of death, most people could not bring themselves to shed tears for a close friend’s grandmother, whom they never met. Since tears and genuine emotion were requisite to an effective and heartfelt crying card, they would often get photographs taken whenever they would cry and keep a stash of photographs that they would send. While stashing went quite unnoticed, it soon became popular and some particularly observant individuals noticed that they received photographs taken at similar times and locations from the same person. (2) Fake Tears – For those who could not cry on the spot but did not want to resort to stashing, there were other ways to fake crying and elicit fake tears. The most common method was to cut and smell onions, although this was not always practical. Others would keep a bottle of eye drops handy and moisten their eyes and let the liquid dribble down. Some would even rub their eyes to simulate the redness. (3) Candid Cries – When the trend eventually died down, crying cards were often criticized for being excessively performed. It was not uncommon to see freshly applied eyeliner and eye shadow breaking because of the tears. To combat this trend, some people would ask their friends to take candid photos of them. They would sometimes go into a corner and cry, or pretend the camera wasn’t there. This worked for a few, although some were accused of faking the candid photos and making these look excessively performed as well. (4) Props – It was not uncommon for some individuals to use a variety of props to express sympathy. Posing with flowers, balloons, Clockwise, from top left: First edition Hallmark sympathy card, 1952; Ambassador Line Hallmark Sympathy or another photo, usually of the subject with the Card, 1970’s; Dr. Edwin Land on the cover of LIFE Magazine, 1972; Kodak Pocket Instamatic Advertisement deceased, was acceptable because these were seen in LIFE Magazine, 1972 to increase the effort. In some cases, subjects would photograph items that expressed their Trends and Micro-Trends grief, such as used tissues, a vase that they had broken in their anger, or something similar. Although young people typically do not experience death, it was the Baby Boomer generation, then in their twenties and thirties, who quickly adopted this fad. They would send cards to their friends whose parents and grandparents passed away, or, more notably, perished or went missing during the Vietnam War or the Cold War. It was considerably less prominent among those in their forties or older, although not completely absent. Photographs of children crying were almost nonexistent because most children do not fully grasp the concept of death. Nearly all crying cards that have been preserved until the present day are of women. Crying was seen as feminine, and so the trend did not catch on as well among men as it did with women. The few photographs of crying men are often less emotive than those of women, with the camera often farther away from them to mask the fact that many of them could not cry on the spot. Receiving a crying card from a man was seen as an extremely notable sign of sympathy since they were so rare. As with most democratic trends, the crying card movement began to expand into a variety of different directions as it increased in popularity. Some of the more prominent ones include: Unknown Photographer, Crying Card, 1973 33


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“Josephine”, Crying Card to Edith (front and back), 1972

she proceeded to exhibit her photos and publish them in her memoir, All Cried Out (Crown Publishing, 1989). “I don’t deal well with death,” she wrote. “Some people called my photographs a form of mockery, and perhaps that’s what it was. I did it to cope with the loss and with the pain.” Perhaps that is what gave the movement the traction that it had. During a time of bereavement and consolation, people would find a jolt of happiness in knowing they would be able to make another crying card.

A Leading Stasher

Although the crying card movement was a largely democratic and decentralized one, it was not without its leading figures. Perhaps most notable among them was the professional photographer and performance artist Shirley Krueger. Krueger was known for being a stasher, and was featured on magazines, including LIFE and TIME, for crudely taken self-portraits where she would literally raise the camera in front of her to make photos. Her photos were also notably different For Public Viewing because she would take them with a 35mm camera, as opposed to an instant camera. This allowed her to make multiple prints and send it to One often overlooked aspect of the crying card is the a variety of friends while keeping the negatives for herself in the event message that senders would write on the back. Many an art historian that she wanted to make more prints or exhibit them. has dismissed the messages as having little to no cultural significance Before front-facing cameras were introduced on smartphones other than providing some information on the name of the sender and in the late 2000’s and the word “selfie” was added to the Oxford the recipient. However, close English Dictionary, it was largely inspection of these messages uncommon for people to take selfreveals a lot more. portraits by pointing the camera The first thing of note towards themselves. Built-in is the quality of the penmanship. flashes were meant to illuminate Because these cards were often subjects six feet away or further, displayed in wakes and funerals, which meant that anybody holding it was imperative that they were a camera to their own face would written with beautiful penmanship. likely be over-exposed and would Many would use fountain pens be blown out by the flash. they had from their childhood in Krueger rose to fame order to force themselves to write after finding ways to diffuse the neatly. It was also common for on-camera flash and starting the some people to practice writing trend of self-taken self-portraits their messages on a separate piece combined with a performance art of paper since they only had one element. She would take photos in chance to write their message candid, off-color situations, such as perfectly. in the car or in the bathroom. Her The quality of writing crying cards became so well-known found in crying cards was often that her friends who received them seen as more eloquent, intimate, would often keep them instead of and heartfelt compared to the burying them in hopes that they machine-printed, mass-produced would someday be of value. Unknown Photographer, Crying Card, late 1970’s type of regular Hallmark cards. However, Krueger’s career Whereas many Hallmark card buyers would often let the pre-written, was not without controversy. Some of her photos were taken in the generic messages on the cards speak on their behalf, crying card writers nude (although this was only ever implied since the image would be would write their own personalized messages where they could not only cut off just under the neck) and when this fact became known, she was express genuine condolences but also demonstrate their wit and high criticized for mocking the solemnity of death and attempting to turn it quality writing abilities. into art. In fact, when crying cards ultimately died out in the late 80’s, 34


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Keys to Success and Failure Behind every successful movement, whether organically formed or derived from imitation from a notable social influencer, are certain circumstances that unknowingly and often unintentionally get tied together to help them get traction. In the case of the crying card movement, these fulcrums came in the form of an inadequate status quo in Hallmark cards, the birth of a new technology in the Kodak and Polaroid instant cameras, a leading figure in Shirley Krueger, a selfless motive in expressing sympathy, and, most importantly, multiple layers of ulterior motives. The interior joys that came alongside taking a photo and making art were supplemented with a desire to create something truly original and demonstrate superiority of skill and achievement among peers. In many cases, this is basic sociology in action as individuals tried to show off their plumes and outdo their peers in order to exhibit dominance. What made it substantially different was that it was a movement driven primarily by women, which meant that it was less of a competition for the alpha male as it was the alpha female.

Unknown Photographer, Crying Card, early 1980’s

Of course, the background of death and condolences never quite escaped this movement, and this is ultimately what led to the movement’s end. Just as Hallmark cards began to decline because they saturated the market, crying cards declined for a similar reason. As people sent more and more crying cards, particularly during the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980’s, they began to lose their sincerity as people attempted to make them en masse. In a few years, crying cards went from being a staple of everyday life to an antiquated marker of history. Hallmark cards went from widespread prominence to near obscurity, at least on occasions of sympathy, and back to the mainstream for reasons still unknown. Some historians theorize that the ease of finding and purchasing a greeting card combined with the availability of a variety of options that reduced the need to think creatively and originally made the greeting card popular once again. Whether crying cards will experience a rebirth remains to be seen, although the selfie generation makes it seem increasingly likelier. Perhaps someday, crying emojis will be replaced by crying selfies; although if history has anything to say about that, it’s that it won’t last very long. Shirley Krueger, Various Crying Cards from All Cried Out, taken 1972-79 35


ANOTHER HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Chapter 9

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES:

DOCUMENTING TIANANMEN

“Noble Lady in Modernity,” Courtesy: Beijing Municipal Administration of Tourism, 2013

As we have seen thus far, photography has the ability to evoke ideas and emotions in ways that words alone cannot. Take for example the image above, “The Noble Lady in Modernity” from the Beijing Municipal Administration of Tourism. Since its first publication in 2013, this photograph has become one of the most recognizable depictions of Chaoyangmen in China. This effectively allowed the Ministry to amplify nationalist sentiment among citizens, while also boosting tourism economy in the city-center district. As a result, the statue depicted in this widely circulated image has experienced a resurgence in popularity. People began to ask, “who is this ‘Noble Lady, ’ and why is she installed at the heart of Tiananmen Square?”

First and foremost, we should consider the meaning behind the title chosen for this photograph by the Beijing Municipal Government. It is a tribute to a series of paintings by Zhang Xuan, an influential portrait painter of the Tang dynasty (c. 618–907), who specialized in depicting respected Imperial Court. women This reference was made here to reflect a similar celebration of the female figure. But unlike the paintings, the photograph calls attention to the newly liberated status of modern Chinese women due to reforms by the government. The glorificaiton of both Tiananmen Square in conjunction with the uniformed guard in the foreground, serve to communicate the State’s open embrace of tradition and modernity in complete harmony.

“Flag Raising Ceremony in Tiananmen Square,” Courtesy: CCTV News 36


ANOTHER HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Indeed, the photographic image holds an incredible degree of authority as a trace of evidence and as a record of the past. To see this concept in practice, we will use this chapter to study the images and archival documents relating to the Statue of Lady Liberty in Tiananmen Square – a public space which in and of itself is an architectural complex as well as a locus of coalescence for expression, collective memory, identity, and history. The origins of the Statue of Lady Liberty can be traced back to “The War of Monuments in the Square.” This was a series of debates over artistic establishments beginning in 1949, during the early days of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It was, Chen Yun, Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee and member of the Politburo Standing Committee, who first proposed plans for installing a monument solely dedicated to liberty in Tiananmen Square. In the preliminary proposal, he describes three reasons why establishing such a landmark would be essential to the growth and development of China in the years to come. First, he states how this monument “physically and visually embodies the freedom of the newly liberated citizens.” Second, he cites how this monument communicates the State’s respect for the liberty of individuals as well as the liberties of all the people, in ways that previous regimes have failed to achieve. Third, he proclaims how the presence of such a monument in the nation’s political center can be useful in extracting dissendents and counterrevolutionaries, thereby bringing increased stability to the regime as a whole.

Portrait of Lady Liberty next to Protrait of Chairman Mao Tze-Tung displayed on Qianmen. Courtesy: State Archives Administration, Initially Printed 1951

member, was chosen as the most suitable personnel for the position. Liu and 30 other replacement women were trained intensively for 79 days between October and December of 1953. Meanwhile, a massive portrait of Liu was installed next to that of Chairman Mao on Qianmen in preparation for the installation of the Statue (see image above). In fact, her image is the only one – besides that of Chariman Mao himself – which is recognized by the Central Government as symbollically representative of the Communist Regime. For that very reason, this same portrait of Lady Liberty is still on display at Qianmen today. To understand the procession and installation of the Statue of Lady Liberty, we must look back at the historical rituals upon which it was based. In many ways, the entire event is a normalization of the grandest of all ceremonies from the Qing dynasty: the issuing of Imperial Edicts when a new Emperor was enthroned or a Royal Heir was born. First, the Minister of Rites would receive the Edict from the Throne Hall in the Forbidden City, which would then be placed on a “Cloud Tray” and protected under the Imperial yellow umbrella. The edict would then be transported in the “Dragon Pavilion” to a designated location before Chaoyangmen. Upon arrival, officials would kneel down facing the Emperor behind the Gate, and insert the Edict in the mouth of a gilded Wooden Phoenix, which was lowered by a rope to another “Cloud Tray” below. Again it would be placed in a “Dragon Pavilion” and carried to the Ministry of Rites, where it is finally copied as text and distributed around the country. This ornate performance is exemplary of how rituals in the ancient Tiananmen Square worked, and from which the contemporary processional of Lady Liberty was derived. The first Processional Ceremony of Lady Liberty took place on January 1, 1954, in conjunction with the Flag-raising Ceremony. Together, these rituals have continued to occur Diagram of Army Processional (red) and Transportation of Lady Liberty (green) as seen daily for over half a from above, Courtesy: Gongyi City Archives century and without Bureau, 1999 exception. Unlike the

Meeting Between Chairman Mao and All Members of the Politburo Standing Committee in During the “War of Monuments in the Square,” June of 1953, Courtesy: Gongyi City Archives Bureau

During the final meeting of these discussions, the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, as depicted above, agreed with Chen on the ideological aspects of his proposal. However, upon detailed examination of the dictated notes from these meetings, it becomes evident that there were much more intense disagreements over how the monument should manifest in physical form. Some leaders called for a plain geometric statue, or obelisk, to be erected before the Tiananmen Towers. Others viewed this proposal as being too abstract, and instead called for a more constructivist approach that would better resonate with the masses. This latter faction advocated for a statue representing the individual as directly as possible without any idealization of the figure. Lin Biao, the most outspoken member of the group, went as far as to suggest that the monument should be represented by a real living person who would enact in the role of a statue. The effect of such act, in Lin’s words, would illustrate “the blood and flesh of the proletariat’s service to the State. Only when done in this way, can we truly reinvent the concept of revolutionary art.” Not surprisingly, the latter group was favored by the Great Helmsman, and in 1953, the “Statue of Lady Liberty” was officially commissioned by the Central Government to be finalized by the end of the year. It was agreed upon by all members of the Politburo that the living statue was to be represented by a female figure, in line with the Chairman’s slogan that “women hold up half the sky.” The only request made by the Chairman himself was for the face of the statue to bear some resemblance to that of his own. A group of 3,023 prescreened candidates were then chosen and gathered in an undisclosed location in Beijing. From the group, Mrs. Liu Xia, a distant relative of a Politburo 37


ANOTHER HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY Sequence of Photographs Depicting the Processional Ceremony of Lady Liberty, Courtesy: Wang Nan, 2009, from left to right: Close-up of uniformed guards marching through Tiananmen Square from the Flag-raising Ceremony towards Installation Site of the Statue before Chaoyangmen Contextual shot of the beginning of the Processional Ceremony, with 20 guards arriving on scene to clear the Square for the Ceremony Installing Lady Liberty on the designated Square, also depicted are two State officials and medical practitioner who assist with the displacement Close-up of appointed guard proclaiming the Edict of Liberty aloud to the statue

complexities of the Imperial Tiananmen rituals, the contemporary procession and installation of the Statue is carried out in a much more straightforward manner (see sequence of 3 images on first page of the chapter). First, the designated group of guards emerge from Tiananmen Tower a few minutes prior to sunrise. With the flagpole in hand, they march in precise synchronicity across the bridge and towards the cleared area of Square. The entire procession of the flag march takes on average

4 minutes and 27 seconds before the guards stop and salut at the flag installation platform. Four guards then proceed to execute the flagraising procedures while the rest stand in line and initiate the National Anthem. Since it takes about 2 minutes and 7 seconds for the sun in its entirety to climb above the horizon line, the red flag is raised slowly and timed exactly to coincide with the sunrise over the Square. Immediately after the flag is raised, the guards reconfigure and march towards Chaoyangmen to take part in the processional ceremony of the Statue of Lady Liberty (see diagram of route on previous page). The sequence of 4 photographs above, all taken by documentary photographer Wang Nan, describe the rarely photographed event in high levels of detail as never seen before. First, the uniformed guards march in troops of 10 across the installation site and surrounding areas to clear the Square for the statue’s arrival. It is worth mentioning that until 1986, Lady Liberty was transported in a decorated rickshaw that simulated the effect of the “Dragon Pavilion.” However, due to concerns over security, the Central Government issued a temporary provision to transport the Statue in a Public Safety van – a measure which has remained in place ever since. The uniformed guards then separate into two groups, with one patrolling the vicinity and the other standing by in the distance as the statue arrives on site. The living Statue is lowered onto the designated location in front of Chaoyangmen with the assistance of the three male State officials and one female medical practitioner. After performing their duties, they then vacate the site immediately. One designated guard then approaches the living Statue to perform the final component of the ceremony: the recitation of Chairman Mao’s Edict of Liberty. He declares aloud the phrases which have been translated as follows:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Lady Liberty then nods, salutes left in the direction of Tiananmen Gate, and lies down on the Square. The guard reciprocates the saluting gesture, and takes precisely 81 steps East from the statue, where he stands on patrol for the entire duration of the day. His task is to defend the 81-step radius around the statue from possible threats. Meanwhile, the remaining troops gather and march in synchronicity towards Tiananmen Tower, which marks the conclusion of the ceremony.

Detail of Statue of Lady Liberty, Courtesy: Wang Nan, 2009 38


ANOTHER HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Display of Lady Liberty on Site at Chaoyangmen, Courtesy: Wang Nan, 2009

There are many replicas of the State installed around the world, although the only authorized ones are operated in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong. In the latter case, an official replica of the living statue is installed near Victoria Park. Instead of a guard on standby, however, a single traditional symbol – the Chinese character for liberty – is written on a plaque and placed on the ground before the Statue (see image below). At the time of her initial installment in Hong Kong in 1999, one BBC reporter notes how she was immediately understood by everyone in the park. “She symbolizes what we want,” explained a young worker attending the event to the reporter. Then, pointing to his chest, he proclaims, “She stands for me.”

Tourist Souvenirs of Lady Liberty sold in Qianmen, Courtesy: Getty Images

By law, Lady Liberty behaves as a true immobile statue, with the exception of a 20 minute lunch break at noon. Otherwise, she remains fixed to her proper position on the installation site and refrains from moving. Her head points North to signify the power of the Northern Chinese capital, and her arms and legs are spread apart to represent strength and humanity. Some experts speculate that this posture may be a reference to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, although this has not been confirmed by the authorities. Beyond her body language, there is little known about the expression on Lady Liberty’s face due to the barrier of distance established by the guard. For this reason alone, her visible expression during the installation ceremony has become iconic, and is often reproduced and sold on souvenirs in shops nearby (see image above). In this way, Lady Liberty is in some sense a “martyr.” Her image can be replicated and through replication, she is reborn.

Installation of Statue of Lady Liberty in Hong Kong, Courtesy: Reuters, 2015

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ANOTHER HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Chapter 10

FIRST THE NUDE, THEN THE BODY

NUDE IN PUBLIC

Public bathroom self-Portrait,1982

“In every culture and across time, artists have been captivated by the human figure”

Nude in Public publication,1988 40


ANOTHER HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Early History of nude photography could trace back to the beginning of 19th century when nude photographs often served as studies of live model for painters and artists, or for medical purpose. It have been used as a tool to aid artists or scientific research instead of being art itself. After World War I, in the period of modernist experimentation, avant-garde photographer such as Brassaï, Man Ray, Hans Bellmer, André Kertész and Bill Brandt explored new printing techniques and reflective distortions to create abstractions of human body. In other word, with its inherent and specificity, nude became the medium for visual play. After photographer had largely worked with classic allusions and structural abstraction, followed by the emerge of emergence mass production. and media, fashion photographers started to photograph fashion models and portraits of the famous in nude as their new subject. During this period of time, Akiko Yoshida was an exception of nude as visual play or nude just in well staged studio setting. Akiko Yoshida was born in Japan on April Akiko with her parents and sister,1963 16th, 1958. Raised in Tokyo and in a wealthy family, she received a careful education, both traditional and “Western”. Her father was a politician and her mother In 1972, Akiko attended high school in Kojimachi, a neighwas architect as well as an associate professor in Tokyo borhood in Chiyoda. During her high school years, she started to orgaUniversity. Influenced by her mother, both Akiko and nize student activities at school which demonstrated her leadership and her younger sister Emiko started learning to play piano communication skill. in 1977, she completed her high school graduated and being initiated into drawing, photography and Kōdō with award for academic excellence. At age of 19, she moved to United in her childhood. States to purse his study in public policy at University of Chicago.

Bill Brandt, Untitled

University of Chicago,1977

Bill Brandt, Shadow & Light,1961

The first year in college she met a man, Thomas Tokunaga which became the turing point of her life. Thomas was studying photography at School of the Art Institute of Chicago at that time. They met at a student work exhibition and soon fell in love. Thomas was fascinated with abstraction of nudity which inspired by photographer such as Bill Brandt and Andre Kertesz. With influence by Thomas, Akiko found her passion about nude photography as well as body in space. She mentioned in her book, “Man will never conquer space with rockets, sputniks or missiles, because in this way he would remain a tourist in the space; but he can conquer space by inhabiting it through sensibility.” Inspired by Duchamp, Akiko developed her interest on the relation between creation and viewer, public and private, body and space. She also agreed on that work shouldn’t only be judged visually. She thought it was extremely essential to work in a social context and let the public to complete art work with their own interpretation. In her first publication She quoted Dumchap’s interview with Art Newspaper: “That is, I have done something, but I don’t analyse myself and above all I don’t judge what I have done. What I intended is of no interest; what is interesting is the effect the work has on the spectator, on the public who will decide if the work is important enough to survive. If not, 41


ANOTHER HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Nude in Public, Public bathroom self-Portrait,1982

if the public decides against it, if they are unmoved by it, then the Glass will be broken and people will stop talking about it…….I created something and it’s up to the public—they decide whether the work survives or disappears.” With her background and knowledge in politics, she went into a more in-depth study of what is public space and human social behavior and routine in public. She concluded: “A public is a space of discourse organized by nothing other than discourse itself. It is autotelic……It exists by virtue of being addressed.” “A public is a relation among strangers. The orientation to strangers is in one sense implied by a public’s self-organization through discourse. A public, however, unites strangers through participation alone, at least in theory. Strangers come into relationship by its means, thought the resulting social relationship might be peculiarly indirect and unspecifiable.” “The expansive force of these cultural forms cannot be understood apart from the way the make stranger relation normative, reshaping the most intimate dimension of subjectivity around co-membership with indefinite persons in a context of routine action.” The Nude in Public was one of her best known project in her art practice. Photography was used as a medium to experiment nude in a social context, relation between body, public and private space.A series of self portraits was took during this time. She spent a long time in different public bathroom and recorded the experience of inhabiting that space. Various activities were brought to this semi-public space such as reading, smoking and drinking,which turned herself to an intervention of public norm and routine. Therefore, It could no longer be categorized as a photography project as the progress of taking photographs already became art itself. Her work was recognized as the an early example of performance art in photography.

Marcel Duchamp with “Readymade” Foundtain 42


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Nude in Public, Public bathroom self-Portrait,1982

Nude in Public, Public bathroom self-Portrait,1982

Nude in Public, Public bathroom self-Portrait,1982

Nude in Public, Public bathroom self-Portrait,1982 43


Joen Leventhal is a Peter S. Ulgala Professor of Art History at the Art Institute of New Mexico. His publications have dealt with the history of Tibetan architecture, the archeology of the working class mother, the relationship between diet and personal aesthetics, the history and development of the “selfie,” and the effects of archival etiquette on broader library culture. He teaches and curates exhibitions on many things. Among his recent writings are How Stuffed is Stuffed?: A Photographic Study in Burrito Consumption and Canada Goose Coat Sales (2013), “50 Shades of Gray, a Kind Bar Wrapper, High Heels, and Asics: An Archeology of the Minivan (2010),” and Blue and Purple Gloves: Treating Archival Objects with Care (2015) which sat on the New York Times Bestseller List for five weeks. He was awarded a teaching prize for teaching in 2014.

Another History of Photography  

Harvard University VES 147: Conceptual Strategies in Photography with Professor Mike Mandel and Teaching Assistant Ryan Arthurs. Students: L...

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