Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pictorialists/F64s/Sally Mann

The Pictorialists were those photographers who saw photography as a form of art - and did not believe in too literal a capture of images. The movement started in the 1880s, and was over by the time of the Great War.

The F64 group (their name is that of the tiniest aperture) came a generation later, in the early 30s, and thought that "The camera should be used for a recording of life, for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh."

The photo on the left there is the work of Sally Mann, from her book What Remains, which could be regarded as a contemporary form of Pictorialism.

References were made to these two schools of thought in photography by a contributer to this thread on Flickr, solodogs , who likened Holga users to the Pictorialists, and Leica users to the F64s. It's a point of view with something to recommend it. As my contribution to that thread was to compare my now-departed Leica unfavourably with my still-cherished Ilford Sporti, you can perhaps guess where I'm hanging in this debate.

Or something.