Between Art & Documentary

Essay 2 Due on Blackboard!
Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q., 1919.












Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.











Woman on the Telephone

"Photography's long-acknowledged power to mirror the face of the world was by no means abandoned, but in the 1920s and '30s a host of unconventional forms and techniques suddenly flourished. Abstract photograms, photomontages composed of fragmented images, the combination of photographs with modern typography and graphic design in posters and magazine pages - all were facets of what artist and theorist László Moholy-Nagy enthusiastically described as a "new vision" rooted in the technological culture of the twentieth century." - Metropolitan Museum
Aleksander Rodchenko, Woman at the Telephone, 1928.











The Lathe
Paul Strand, The Lathe, 1923.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Photogram, 1926.












Alvin Coburn, The Octopus, 1912.










"The full potential power of every medium is dependent upon the purity of its use...This means a real respect for the thing in front of him... The fullest realization of this accomplished without tricks of process or manipulation, through the use of straight photographic methods."
- Paul Strand

Paul Strand, Manhatta, 1921.
Paul Strand, Wall Street, 1916.











Aleksander Rodchenko, Portrait of My Mother Reading, 1924.
Aleksander Rodchenko, Portrait of My Mother, shot in 1924, printed in 1950.











Georgia O'Keefe
Georgia O'Keefe
Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keefe, 1918.
Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keefe, 1918.











Georgia O'Keefe
Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keefe, 1918.
Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothy Norman, 1931.











Formalism = the concept that a work's artistic value is entirely determined by its form--the way it is made, its purely visual aspects and its medium. Formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape and texture rather than realism, context and content
Alfred Stieglitz, Hands, 1918.











Edward Steichen, Gloria Swanson, 1924.
Edward Steichen, Evening Shoes by Vida Moore, 1927.











Aleksander Rodchenko, Untitled (Walking Figure), 1928.


"One has to take several different shots of a subject, from different points of view and in different situations, as if one examined it in the round rather than looked through the same key-hole again and again." - Rodchenko












Alexander Rodchenko, Chauffeur, 1933.










Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, Chairs at Margate, 1935.












New Vision photographers practiced
"photographic photography"
New Vision elements:
Geometric compositions that approach abstraction
Use of the close-up and oblique points of view
Play with reflective surfaces to alter perception
Manipulation of light
Albert Renger-Patzsch, Echeoeria, 1922.











Florence Henri, Composition, 1932.











Clarence John Laughlin, The Fierce Eyed Building, 1939.
Ilsa Bing, Self-Portrait with Mirrors, 1928.











Revolutionary spirit of modern photography expressed in the 1929 Film Und Foto exhibition

Photographs declared the greatest of contemporary technological wonders because of its capacity to "be one of the most effective weapons against the mechanization of the spirit."
Some of the artists included:
Berencice Abbott
Herbert Bayer
Imogen Cunningham
John Heartfield
Florence Henri
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Paul Outerbridge
Man Ray
Albert Renger-Patzsch
Aleksander Rodchenko
Charles Sheeler
Edward Steichen
Edward Weston
Film und Foto International Exhibition poster. 1929.











Organized social reform movements in America that began during the late 19th century:
Woman's Suffrage Movement
Prohibition/ Temperance Movement
Public Education Reform Movement
Social documentary style emerged
in the 19th century in response to:
  • Popular social reform movements
  • Continued interest in recording wonders of the world
  • Availability and accessibility of the hand-held camera
Suffrage parade in New York City, May 6, 1912.











The New Woman

Frances Benjamin Johnston

Judge Magazine
Frances Benjamin Johnston, Self-Portrait, c. 1896.
John Held Jr., Judge Magazine cover, 1925.











Frances Benjamin Johnston, Louis Firetail (Sioux, Crow Creek), wearing tribal clothing, in American history class, Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia, late 1890s.
Frances Benjamin Johnston, Self-Portrait with Bicycle, c. 1890.
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