the pictorialists

A walk in WashingtonMukilteo, WA 2014


Takayama Masataka

Description from Wiki:  Masataka Takayama (高山 正隆, Takayama Masataka; 15 May 1895 - 14 April 1981) was one of the most prominent Japanese photographers in the first half of the twentieth century.

Takayama was born in Tokyo, Japan. As an amateur photographer, he published many of his works in the magazine Geijutsu Shashin Kenkyū (芸術写真研究), beginning in the 1920s. He remained an active photographer even after World War II.

He was talented at pictorialist (art) photography and took many photographs using a soft focus lens and deformation and “wipe-out” techniques.

Takayama usually used a “vest-pocket” Kodak camera (a very compact folding model taking 127 film) with a single-element lens (a tangyoku lens in Japanese). These cameras (and Japanese derivatives such as the Rokuoh-sha Pearlette and Minolta Vest) were popular in Japan at the time for snapshot use, and called ves-tan (ベス単, in Japanese pronunciation besutan) cameras; “ves” coming from “vest” and “tan” from tangyoku. Takayama’s works are thus said to belong to the “ves-tan” (besutan) school. (via: wiki) (images: dassai2.p2.weblife)

“An original vintage photograph of Desha Delteil, the dancer, muse, and artist’s model. This dates to the 1910’s and features Desha in a Roman inspired full body costume, with winged feet and a headdress. The light play in this pictorialist view is astounding, her shadow becomes another character in the dance.” caption from source: grapefruitmoongallery where you can find more information about Desha Delteil

Interior (my room), 1933, gelatin silver photograph, pencil & ink

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Accession number 414.1997

Olive Cotton


Image and description from the Art Gallery of New South Wales: “If [my] interest in light and line, form and composition and, a further element of meaning, a feeling, all came together (no matter what the subject) that for me was a moment of great excitement.’ Olive Cotton 

Olive Cotton developed an interest in photography while at high school and became a member of the Photographic Society of New South Wales. After study at the University of Sydney, she joined the photographic studio of Max Dupain in 1934. While working as Dupain’s assistant, she continued taking her own photographs, eventually receiving international recognition with the inclusion of her work in the London Salon of Photography for 1935 and 1937. During the Second World War, with Dupain away on service, she managed his studio. During the mid 1940s, however, remarried and with a young family, she moved away from Sydney and stopped taking ‘serious’ photographs. She resumed her professional career in 1963. A survey exhibition in 1985 established her as one of the most important photographers of her time.

Cotton recalled that this photograph was taken at the family home: ‘When we were young my sister Joyce and I shared this room. Its stained-glass windows had a simple floral motif which cast attractive shadows on the wall in the late afternoon.’3 The play of light and shadow, which is such a remarkable feature of this work, recalls Edward Weston’s celebrated image ‘Epilogue’ 1919 which may have been known to Cotton by 1934. Unlike Cotton’s better known images, such as ‘Teacup ballet’ 1935 (AGNSW collection), which use consciously modern techniques of dramatic lighting and distorted vantage points, this image, with its fine tonal contrasts and slightly Japonisme flavour, sits firmly within the pictorialist tradition. The AGNSW has recently acquired a variation of ‘My room’ taken at a different time of day and with darker, intense shadows.  1. From an undated note found in her Cowra studio. See Ennis H 2004, ‘Intersections: photography, history and the National Library of Australia’, National Library of Australia, Canberra p 164 2. Hall B 1985, ‘Olive Cotton – photographs 1924–1984’, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney 3. Ennis H 1995, ‘Olive Cotton: photographer’, National Library of Australia, Canberra p 36  © Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007”


Infrared Photography turns Poland into a Winter White Wonderland of Magical Trees

Przemyslaw Kruk is an amateur landscape photographer whose career began with analogue photography. The artist is based in Poland and the series of stunning photographs below show the incredible countryside and natural beauty of the land, seen through IR photography which turns the green pigments into a serene white shade, resulting in photographs that look like a magical white landscape.

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