As I continue to shoot older cameras (this was taken with one built in 1905), I continue to dip into a certain nutty old book.Ā Naturalistic Photography for Students of the ArtĀ was published in 1890. Its author, Peter Henry Emerson argued that photography wasnāt just a way to document people, places and events, but a way to create art.
Through the use of pompous and ridiculous prose his ideas mostly ring true.
More than in any point in history, we are now using photography as a way to document our lives. Thereās generally nothing purposely-artistic about this ā from selfies to the news. And yet, as a society weāre completely fine with photography also being an artform.
In 1890, this wasnāt the case. In fact, Mr. Stieglitz got pretty intense about this:
Remember that the original state of the minds of uneducated men is vulgar, you now know why vulgar and commonplace works please the majority. Therefore, educate your mind, and fight the hydra-headed monster ā vulgarity.
But he also has quite a bit of great advice. In fact, this is his very next sentence:
Seize on any aspect of nature that pleases you and try to interpret it, and ignore ā as nature ignores ā all childish rules, such as that the lens should work only when the sun shines or when no wind blows.
Emerson has a good number of things to say, and this week I think Iāll share a bunch of them. .
āNot Seek Guidanceā
Camera: Seneca Chautauqua 4Ć5 (1905)
Film: Kodak Super XX; 50iso (x-09/1976)
Dev: HC-110B; 8.5min; 68F
Note: f/16; 1/15sec
Crab Creek, Grant County, Washington
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